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.
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.
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.
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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