This is a guest post written by Michael DeHaan, CTO at AnsibleWorks, a Rackspace Cloud Tools partner. AnsibleWorks provides IT orchestration solutions that simplify the way IT manages systems, applications, and infrastructure.
A while back I wrote about Ansible as a way to simply automate IT infrastructure, and showed how to achieve some interesting zero-downtime rolling update capabilities.
In conjunction with several folks at Rackspace, we now have a lot of quality modules (and more pull requests underwway) for adding in additional functionality -- both cloud provisioning, managing Rackspace Cloud load balancers, and creating new networks. Those interested should check out the Rackspace Cloud Guide.
What's nice about these modules is they not only bring up new instances -- but allow them to be fully configured at the end of the process, and repeatedly managed over time.
It's been a very fun time in Ansible land lately, as Ansible is now a top 10 Python project on GitHub in terms of both forks and stars, and it gains a new contributor every one to two days. At Rackspace, Ansible is helping to manage customer environments as well as to help orchestrate OpenStack deployment in production, whole datacenters at a time -- and we're very thankful for contributions from the likes of Matt Martz (who wrote a large part of the above guide), Paul Durivage, Jesse Keating (responsible for a lot of tuning and testing help!), Christopher Laco, and others.
If you are using Rackspace Cloud -- Ansible may be a very very good fit for you. Because SSH is cloud native, all you need to do to manage a guest is to inject an SSH key, which the Ansible modules can help with, and you can begin managing cloud instances without installing any additional software. When it's not managing things, there are no extra daemons running, and you'll have all of your CPU capacity for the tasks that matter most to you. Additionally, there are no extra processes to babysit, or ports to open.
In the coming months, look for even more improvements to the Rackspace Cloud modules!