Ansible vs AWS OpsWorks

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Ansible

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AWS OpsWorks

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Ansible vs AWS OpsWorks: What are the differences?

What is 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.

What is AWS OpsWorks? Model and manage your entire application from load balancers to databases using Chef. Start from templates for common technologies like Ruby, Node.JS, PHP, and Java, or build your own using Chef recipes to install software packages and perform any task that you can script. AWS OpsWorks can scale your application using automatic load-based or time-based scaling and maintain the health of your application by detecting failed instances and replacing them. You have full control of deployments and automation of each component .

Ansible and AWS OpsWorks can be categorized as "Server Configuration and Automation" tools.

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 OpsWorks provides the following key features:

  • AWS OpsWorks lets you model the different components of your application as layers in a stack, and maps your logical architecture to a physical architecture. You can see all resources associated with your application, and their status, in one place.
  • AWS OpsWorks provides an event-driven configuration system with rich deployment tools that allow you to efficiently manage your applications over their lifetime, including support for customizable deployments, rollback, partial deployments, patch management, automatic instance scaling, and auto healing.
  • AWS OpsWorks lets you define template configurations for your entire environment in a format that you can maintain and version just like your application source code.

"Agentless" is the top reason why over 251 developers like Ansible, while over 27 developers mention "Devops" as the leading cause for choosing AWS OpsWorks.

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.

According to the StackShare community, Ansible has a broader approval, being mentioned in 955 company stacks & 578 developers stacks; compared to AWS OpsWorks, which is listed in 73 company stacks and 18 developer stacks.

Advice on Ansible and AWS OpsWorks
Needs advice
on
AnsibleAnsible
and
RundeckRundeck

We have a lot of operations running using Rundeck (including deployments) and we also have various roles created in Ansible for infrastructure creation, which we execute using Rundeck. Rundeck we are using a community edition. Since we are already using Rundeck for executing the Ansible role, need an advice. What difference will it make if we replace Rundeck with Ansible Tower? Advantages and Disadvantages? We are using Jenkins to call Rundeck Job, same will be used for Ansible Tower if we replace Rundeck.

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Replies (1)

I never use Tower, but I can recommend Ansible Semaphore as alternative to Rundeck. It is lightweight, easy to use and tailored for work with Ansible.

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Rogério R. Alcântara
Needs advice
on
AnsibleAnsibleChefChef
and
Puppet LabsPuppet Labs
in

Personal Dotfiles management

Given that they are all “configuration management” tools - meaning they are designed to deploy, configure and manage servers - what would be the simplest - and yet robust - solution to manage personal dotfiles - for n00bs.

Ideally, I reckon, it should:

  • be containerized (Docker?)
  • be versionable (Git)
  • ensure idempotency
  • allow full automation (tests, CI/CD, etc.)
  • be fully recoverable (Linux/ macOS)
  • be easier to setup/manage (as much as possible)

Does it make sense?

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Replies (3)
terry chay
Principal Engineer at RaiseMe · | 9 upvotes · 51.6K views
Recommends
AnsibleAnsible

I recommend whatever you are most comfortable with/whatever might already be installed in the system. Note that, for personal dotfiles, it does not need to be containerized or have full automation/testing. It just needs to handle multiple OS and platform and be idempotent. Git will handle the heavy lifting. Note that you'll have to separate out certain files like the private SSH keys and write your CM so that it will pull it from another store or assist in manually importing them.

I personally use Ansible since it is a serverless design and is in Python, which I prefer to Ruby. Saltstack was too new when I started to port my dotfile management scripts from shell into a configuration management tool. I think any of the above is fine.

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Recommends
SaltSalt

You should check out SaltStack. It's a lot more powerful than Puppet, Chef, & Ansible. If not Salt, then I would go Ansible. But stay away from Puppet & Chef. 10+ year user of Puppet, and 2+ year user of Chef.

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Attila Fulop
Management Advisor at artkonekt · | 3 upvotes · 15.6K views
Recommends

Chef is a definite no-go for me. I learned it the hard way (ie. got a few tasks in a prod system) and it took quite a lot to grasp it on an acceptable level. Ansible in turn is much more straightforward and much easier to test.

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Needs advice
on
AnsibleAnsibleChefChef
and
Puppet LabsPuppet Labs

I'm just getting started using Vagrant to help automate setting up local VMs to set up a Kubernetes cluster (development and experimentation only). (Yes, I do know about minikube)

I'm looking for a tool to help install software packages, setup users, etc..., on these VMs. I'm also fairly new to Ansible, Chef, and Puppet. What's a good one to start with to learn? I might decide to try all 3 at some point for my own curiosity.

The most important factors for me are simplicity, ease of use, shortest learning curve.

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Replies (2)
Recommends
AnsibleAnsible

I have been working with Puppet and Ansible. The reason why I prefer ansible is the distribution of it. Ansible is more lightweight and therefore more popular. This leads to situations, where you can get fully packaged applications for ansible (e.g. confluent) supported by the vendor, but only incomplete packages for Puppet.

The only advantage I would see with Puppet if someone wants to use Foreman. This is still better supported with Puppet.

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Gabriel Pa
Recommends
KubernetesKubernetes
at

If you are just starting out, might as well learn Kubernetes There's a lot of tools that come with Kube that make it easier to use and most importantly: you become cloud-agnostic. We use Ansible because it's a lot simpler than Chef or Puppet and if you use Docker Compose for your deployments you can re-use them with Kubernetes later when you migrate

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Decisions about Ansible and AWS OpsWorks
Hendrik Halkow

Terraform provides a cloud-provider agnostic way of provisioning cloud infrastructure while AWS CloudFormation is limited to AWS.

Pulumi is a great tool that provides similar features as Terraform, including advanced features like policy and cost management.

We see that Terraform has great support in the cloud community. For most cloud services we use, there is an official Terraform provider. We also believe in the declarative model of HCL, which is why we chose Terraform over Pulumi. However, we still keep an eye on Pulumi's progress.

Ansible is great for provisioning software and configuration within virtual machines, but we don't think that Ansible is the right tool for provisioning cloud infrastructure since it's built around the assumption that there is an inventory of remote machines. Terraform also supports more services that we use than Ansible.

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