Ansible vs Chef: 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 Chef? Build, destroy and rebuild servers on any public or private cloud. Chef enables you to manage and scale cloud infrastructure with no downtime or interruptions. Freely move applications and configurations from one cloud to another. Chef is integrated with all major cloud providers including Amazon EC2, VMWare, IBM Smartcloud, Rackspace, OpenStack, Windows Azure, HP Cloud, Google Compute Engine, Joyent Cloud and others.
Ansible and Chef 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, Chef provides the following key features:
- Access to 800+ Reusable Cookbooks
- Integration with Leading Cloud Providers
- Enterprise Platform Support including Windows and Solaris
"Agentless" is the top reason why over 251 developers like Ansible, while over 104 developers mention "Dynamic and idempotent server configuration" as the leading cause for choosing Chef.
Ansible and Chef are both open source tools. It seems that Ansible with 37.8K GitHub stars and 15.8K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Chef with 5.83K GitHub stars and 2.35K GitHub forks.
PedidosYa, Keen, and New Relic are some of the popular companies that use Ansible, whereas Chef is used by Slack, Shopify, and SendGrid. Ansible has a broader approval, being mentioned in 956 company stacks & 578 developers stacks; compared to Chef, which is listed in 359 company stacks and 80 developer stacks.
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By 2014, the DevOps team at Lyft decided to port their infrastructure code from Puppet to Salt. At that point, the Puppet code based included around "10,000 lines of spaghetti-code,” which was unfamiliar and challenging to the relatively new members of the DevOps team.
“The DevOps team felt that the Puppet infrastructure was too difficult to pick up quickly and would be impossible to introduce to [their] developers as the tool they’d use to manage their own services.”
To determine a path forward, the team assessed both Ansible and Salt, exploring four key areas: simplicity/ease of use, maturity, performance, and community.
They found that “Salt’s execution and state module support is more mature than Ansible’s, overall,” and that “Salt was faster than Ansible for state/playbook runs.” And while both have high levels of community support, Salt exceeded expectations in terms of friendless and responsiveness to opened issues.
Since #ATComputing is a vendor independent Linux and open source specialist, we do not have a favorite Linux distribution. We mainly use Ubuntu , Centos Debian , Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora during our daily work. These are also the distributions we see most often used in our customers environments.
For our #ci/cd training, we use an open source pipeline that is build around Visual Studio Code , Jenkins , VirtualBox , GitHub , Docker Kubernetes and Google Compute Engine.
For #ServerConfigurationAndAutomation, we have embraced and contributed to Ansible mainly because it is not only flexible and powerful, but also straightforward and easier to learn than some other (open source) solutions. On the other hand: we are not affraid of Puppet Labs and Chef either.
Currently, our most popular #programming #Language course is Python . The reason Python is so popular has to do with it's versatility, but also with its low complexity. This helps sysadmins to write scripts or simple programs to make their job less repetitive and automating things more fun. Python is also widely used to communicate with (REST) API's and for data analysis.
Ansible is the deployment tool for people who don't like deployment tools. It's close to scripting, doesn't pollute your servers with agents or centralized servers, and just makes immediate sense. The entire stack at Cloudcraft.co is orchestrated by Ansible. What does that mean? Beyond the obvious of installing packages and configuring services, Ansible coordinates all the machines into a working deployment: It adds API servers to the loadbancer pool, opens ports on the DB server for the backend servers to connect, gracefully upgrades services in a rolling fashion for zero-downtime deployments etc. And it's so easy to use, it's easier to use than doing things by hand, meaning it's a deployment tool you'll actually use every time!
We use Ansible to synchronize the few configuration-options we've taken on our CoreOS-Machines. This makes deployment even easier and the fact that it's Agentless made the decision even easier.
Ansible is used in both the development and production deployment process. A playbook couple with a Vagrantfile, easy deploys a local virtual machine that will mirror the setup in production.
I use Ansible to manage the configuration between all of the different pieces of equipment, and because it's agentless I can even manage things like networking devices all from one repo.
- Configuration management:
- deploy/install all web/app environments
- simple with Galaxy and playbooks.
- No need any pre-installed agent on remote servers.
Out custom recipes makes it simple for developers bootstrap process (using vagrant) and that same recipe is also the one that is used to prep instances