AnsibleWorks has raised $6 million from Menlo Ventures for its open-source framework that has become immensely popular for its easy to use environment that simplifies the often mystical world of IT Automation.
The Ansible orchestration engine allows users to avoid writing custom scripts or code to manage applications and uses a language that embraces the idea of building workflows that most people can understand, said Saïd Ziouani, co-founder and CEO of AnsibleWorks in an email interview this week. By opening up IT automation to a less technical community, more people can do the work needed to get apps to the marketplace. In turn, that also means less reliance on traditional IT, faster delivery and better time spent on important projects.
Ansible is different from most IT automation offerings. It does not focus on configuration management, application deployment, or IT process workflow, Instead it provides a single interface to coordinate all major IT automation functions. It also does not use agents nor does it require software to be installed on the devices under management.
Developed initially in 2012, Ansible has 300,000 users to date and a download rate approaching 30,000 per month, Ziouani. It counts its users from well-known services such as AppDynamics, Evernote and MapR, as well as Fortune 500 companies in financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, and media.
Last month, Ansible launched AWX, its first commercial enterprise product. AWX adds advanced features to the automation framework, a graphical user interface and REST endpoint that sits on top of Ansible. That means it can connect into systems that IT managers and developers both understand.
Michael DeHaan created Ansible. He is now the co-founder and CTO of the company. He also developed Cobbler and Func, both automation tools. He worked at Red Hat and Puppet Labs and over the years witnessed first-hand how complex IT automation can get when not designed according to the way people work. That’s how Ansible emerged. It was designed as an easy way to get apps delivered into the marketplace.
Puppet and Chef are two of the DevOps leaders. Salt is an emerging open-source DevOps environment. Each has its own value. Puppet is meant more for the systems administrator in an enterprise setting. Chef is used in scale out infrastructures. Salt is designed for speed. It uses generic high-speed communication to move data out to nodes by doing parallel data processing.
Ansible fits in by offering a service that is simple to use, making app deployment faster. That’s a core differentiator but its real value may be in how its service offers the best of Puppet and Chef, making it a real potential rival in the fast evolving world of IT Automation.