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Ansible
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Ansible vs Consul: What are the differences?

Developers describe Ansible as "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. On the other hand, Consul is detailed as "A tool for service discovery, monitoring and configuration". Consul is a tool for service discovery and configuration. Consul is distributed, highly available, and extremely scalable.

Ansible can be classified as a tool in the "Server Configuration and Automation" category, while Consul is grouped under "Open Source Service Discovery".

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, Consul provides the following key features:

  • Service Discovery - Consul makes it simple for services to register themselves and to discover other services via a DNS or HTTP interface. External services such as SaaS providers can be registered as well.
  • Health Checking - Health Checking enables Consul to quickly alert operators about any issues in a cluster. The integration with service discovery prevents routing traffic to unhealthy hosts and enables service level circuit breakers.
  • Key/Value Storage - A flexible key/value store enables storing dynamic configuration, feature flagging, coordination, leader election and more. The simple HTTP API makes it easy to use anywhere.

"Agentless" is the primary reason why developers consider Ansible over the competitors, whereas "Great service discovery infrastructure" was stated as the key factor in picking Consul.

Ansible and Consul are both open source tools. Ansible with 38.2K GitHub stars and 16K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Consul with 16.4K GitHub stars and 2.85K GitHub forks.

DigitalOcean, 9GAG, and Rainist are some of the popular companies that use Ansible, whereas Consul is used by Slack, DigitalOcean, and Rainist. Ansible has a broader approval, being mentioned in 960 company stacks & 587 developers stacks; compared to Consul, which is listed in 134 company stacks and 55 developer stacks.

What is Ansible?

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 Consul?

Consul is a tool for service discovery and configuration. Consul is distributed, highly available, and extremely scalable.
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    What are some alternatives to Ansible and Consul?
    Puppet Labs
    Puppet is an automated administrative engine for your Linux, Unix, and Windows systems and performs administrative tasks (such as adding users, installing packages, and updating server configurations) based on a centralized specification.
    Chef
    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.
    Salt
    Salt is a new approach to infrastructure management. Easy enough to get running in minutes, scalable enough to manage tens of thousands of servers, and fast enough to communicate with them in seconds. Salt delivers a dynamic communication bus for infrastructures that can be used for orchestration, remote execution, configuration management and much more.
    Terraform
    With Terraform, you describe your complete infrastructure as code, even as it spans multiple service providers. Your servers may come from AWS, your DNS may come from CloudFlare, and your database may come from Heroku. Terraform will build all these resources across all these providers in parallel.
    Jenkins
    In a nutshell Jenkins CI is the leading open-source continuous integration server. Built with Java, it provides over 300 plugins to support building and testing virtually any project.
    See all alternatives
    Decisions about Ansible and Consul
    StackShare Editors
    StackShare Editors
    Ansible
    Ansible
    Puppet Labs
    Puppet Labs
    Salt
    Salt

    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.

    See more
    Marcel Kornegoor
    Marcel Kornegoor
    CTO at AT Computing · | 5 upvotes · 63.8K views
    atAT ComputingAT Computing
    Python
    Python
    Chef
    Chef
    Puppet Labs
    Puppet Labs
    Ansible
    Ansible
    Google Compute Engine
    Google Compute Engine
    Kubernetes
    Kubernetes
    Docker
    Docker
    GitHub
    GitHub
    VirtualBox
    VirtualBox
    Jenkins
    Jenkins
    Visual Studio Code
    Visual Studio Code
    Fedora
    Fedora
    Red Hat Enterprise Linux
    Red Hat Enterprise Linux
    Debian
    Debian
    CentOS
    CentOS
    Ubuntu
    Ubuntu
    Linux
    Linux
    #ATComputing

    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.

    See more
    Interest over time
    Reviews of Ansible and Consul
    No reviews found
    How developers use Ansible and Consul
    Avatar of Cloudcraft
    Cloudcraft uses AnsibleAnsible

    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!

    Avatar of Scrayos UG (haftungsbeschränkt)
    Scrayos UG (haftungsbeschränkt) uses AnsibleAnsible

    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.

    Avatar of Bob P
    Bob P uses AnsibleAnsible

    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.

    Avatar of sapslaj
    sapslaj uses AnsibleAnsible

    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.

    Avatar of Bùi Thanh
    Bùi Thanh uses AnsibleAnsible
    • Configuration management:
      • deploy/install all web/app environments
      • simple with Galaxy and playbooks.
    • No need any pre-installed agent on remote servers.
    Avatar of Chris Hartwig
    Chris Hartwig uses ConsulConsul

    All our services use Consul for discovery, configuration and cluster management (auto scaling, health monitoring, dynamic reconfiguration, leader elections)

    Avatar of Tom Staijen
    Tom Staijen uses ConsulConsul

    Discovery service. Some configuration is stored in consul.

    Avatar of Robert Hao
    Robert Hao uses ConsulConsul

    I used Consul as config center & service discoverer.

    Avatar of Ismael Arenzana
    Ismael Arenzana uses ConsulConsul

    How else do you discover microservices? ;)

    Avatar of exana
    exana uses ConsulConsul

    For service discovery.

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