Red Hat Consulting: Integrating CloudForms and Ansible to enhance your workflows

Regardless of what your environment looks like, you need a way to centrally manage, expand, and update workflows to meet business needs. In this short video, we discuss the integration of CloudForms and Ansible, and the benefits this orchestration duo provides for workflow management in your cloud environment.

CloudForms is Red Hat’s cloud management platform that allows an organization to manage various components in an environment, including traditional on-premises virtualization and cloud providers, such as Google Compute, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Azure, all from one place. A key feature of CloudForms is that it allows you to break up major workflows into smaller, more manageable tasks. For example, a typical provisioning workflow can be broken down into the following high-level tasks:

  1. Submission of a user request
  2. Intelligently determining resource placement based on your business needs
  3. Provisioning resources
  4. Notifying user of request completion.

Conversely, CloudForms enables you to set up a repeatable workflow by grouping tasks together to accomplish a specific goal, such as one-click provisioning of a new server.

Ansible is Red Hat’s configuration management tool that allows you to break down workflows into individual steps. For example, an Ansible module might check for the existence of a user or the contents of a file, taking the necessary steps to reach a specific state.. Each module is defined in a simple, readable format, making it easy to set up repeatable workflows.

CloudForms and Ansible together provide even greater workflow management than either provides alone. To leverage the benefits of this integration, the latest version of CloudForms contains embedded Ansible.

  • If you are already using CloudForms, adding Ansible allows you to invoke Ansible playbooks as part of your existing workflows. Ansible provides modules for the IT infrastructure tasks that you need to perform, a significant  time savings compared to the development of custom Ruby automation code. This is as simple as locating the desired modules on Ansible Galaxy, downloading them, and invoking them from a state machine.In addition to the initial time savings through the use of Ansible modules, the use of Ansible in state machines can reduce maintenance effort as APIs and other implementation details change. CloudForms also integrates with Ansible Tower, providing a convenient central location for storing playbooks and credentials.  
  • If you are already using Ansible or Ansible Tower with existing workflows and playbooks, adding CloudForms provides reporting capabilities and consolidated control of your cloud infrastructure. CloudForms comes with frameworks for complex automation tasks, such as one-click provisioning of a server. Integrating your existing Ansible playbooks into these frameworks makes the move to complete automation easier and more flexible, allowing you leverage your existing automation as part of a larger solution to business challenges. For example, CloudForms can be used to deploy a fully-provisioned virtual machine upon request. CloudForms can handle provisioning details while utilizing your existing Ansible playbooks to register the new virtual server with your load balancer.  

As you can see, there are many benefits of integrating CloudForms with Ansible, and Red Hat is here to help you get started. Talk to your account executive about a Red Hat Consulting Discovery Session to find out more about integrating CloudForms and Ansible, or reach out directly to redhat.com/consulting with questions. Red Hat Consulting is here to help.

And be sure to catch another segment of the Red Hat Consulting Whiteboard Video series here.

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