Ansible vs AWS CloudFormation: What are the differences?
Ansible: Radically simple configuration-management, application deployment, task-execution, and multi-node orchestration engine. Ansible is an IT automation tool. It can configure systems, deploy software, and orchestrate more advanced IT tasks such as continuous deployments or zero downtime rolling updates. Ansible’s goals are foremost those of simplicity and maximum ease of use; AWS CloudFormation: Create and manage a collection of related AWS resources. You can use AWS CloudFormation’s sample templates or create your own templates to describe the AWS resources, and any associated dependencies or runtime parameters, required to run your application. You don’t need to figure out the order in which AWS services need to be provisioned or the subtleties of how to make those dependencies work.
Ansible and AWS CloudFormation are primarily classified as "Server Configuration and Automation" and "Infrastructure Build" tools respectively.
Some of the features offered by Ansible are:
- Ansible's natural automation language allows sysadmins, developers, and IT managers to complete automation projects in hours, not weeks.
- Ansible uses SSH by default instead of requiring agents everywhere. Avoid extra open ports, improve security, eliminate "managing the management", and reclaim CPU cycles.
- Ansible automates app deployment, configuration management, workflow orchestration, and even cloud provisioning all from one system.
On the other hand, AWS CloudFormation provides the following key features:
- AWS CloudFormation comes with the following ready-to-run sample templates: WordPress (blog),Tracks (project tracking), Gollum (wiki used by GitHub), Drupal (content management), Joomla (content management), Insoshi (social apps), Redmine (project mgmt)
- No Need to Reinvent the Wheel – A template can be used repeatedly to create identical copies of the same stack (or to use as a foundation to start a new stack)
- Transparent and Open – Templates are simple JSON formatted text files that can be placed under your normal source control mechanisms, stored in private or public locations such as Amazon S3 and exchanged via email.
"Agentless" is the top reason why over 251 developers like Ansible, while over 36 developers mention "Automates infrastructure deployments" as the leading cause for choosing AWS CloudFormation.
Ansible is an open source tool with 37.8K GitHub stars and 15.8K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Ansible's open source repository on GitHub.
PedidosYa, Keen, and New Relic are some of the popular companies that use Ansible, whereas AWS CloudFormation is used by TimeHop, Custora, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Ansible has a broader approval, being mentioned in 955 company stacks & 578 developers stacks; compared to AWS CloudFormation, which is listed in 195 company stacks and 75 developer stacks.
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