Ansible vs Docker Compose

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Ansible
Ansible

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3.5K
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Docker Compose
Docker Compose

4.8K
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Ansible vs Docker Compose: 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, Docker Compose is detailed as "Define and run multi-container applications with Docker". With Compose, you define a multi-container application in a single file, then spin your application up in a single command which does everything that needs to be done to get it running.

Ansible and Docker Compose are primarily classified as "Server Configuration and Automation" and "Container" tools respectively.

"Agentless", "Great configuration " and "Simple" are the key factors why developers consider Ansible; whereas "Multi-container descriptor", "Fast development environment setup" and "Easy linking of containers" are the primary reasons why Docker Compose is favored.

Ansible and Docker Compose are both open source tools. It seems that Ansible with 37.8K GitHub stars and 15.8K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Docker Compose with 16.4K GitHub stars and 2.52K GitHub forks.

According to the StackShare community, Ansible has a broader approval, being mentioned in 955 company stacks & 578 developers stacks; compared to Docker Compose, which is listed in 787 company stacks and 608 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 Docker Compose?

With Compose, you define a multi-container application in a single file, then spin your application up in a single command which does everything that needs to be done to get it running.
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What are some alternatives to Ansible and Docker Compose?
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.
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Decisions about Ansible and Docker Compose
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.

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Sebastian Gębski
Sebastian Gębski
CTO at Shedul/Fresha · | 6 upvotes · 41.7K views
atFresha EngineeringFresha Engineering
Amazon RDS
Amazon RDS
Amazon S3
Amazon S3
Amazon EKS
Amazon EKS
Amazon EC2
Amazon EC2
Ansible
Ansible
Terraform
Terraform
Kubernetes
Kubernetes
Docker Compose
Docker Compose
Docker
Docker

Heroku was a decent choice to start a business, but at some point our platform was too big, too complex & too heterogenic, so Heroku started to be a constraint, not a benefit. First, we've started containerizing our apps with Docker to eliminate "works in my machine" syndrome & uniformize the environment setup. The first orchestration was composed with Docker Compose , but at some point it made sense to move it to Kubernetes. Fortunately, we've made a very good technical decision when starting our work with containers - all the container configuration & provisions HAD (since the beginning) to be done in code (Infrastructure as Code) - we've used Terraform & Ansible for that (correspondingly). This general trend of containerisation was accompanied by another, parallel & equally big project: migrating environments from Heroku to AWS: using Amazon EC2 , Amazon EKS, Amazon S3 & Amazon RDS.

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Marcel Kornegoor
Marcel Kornegoor
CTO at AT Computing · | 5 upvotes · 69.5K 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.

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GitHub
GitHub
nginx
nginx
ESLint
ESLint
AVA
AVA
Semantic UI React
Semantic UI React
Redux
Redux
React
React
PostgreSQL
PostgreSQL
ExpressJS
ExpressJS
Node.js
Node.js
FeathersJS
FeathersJS
Heroku
Heroku
Amazon EC2
Amazon EC2
Kubernetes
Kubernetes
Jenkins
Jenkins
Docker Compose
Docker Compose
Docker
Docker
#Frontend
#Stack
#Backend
#Containers
#Containerized

Recently I have been working on an open source stack to help people consolidate their personal health data in a single database so that AI and analytics apps can be run against it to find personalized treatments. We chose to go with a #containerized approach leveraging Docker #containers with a local development environment setup with Docker Compose and nginx for container routing. For the production environment we chose to pull code from GitHub and build/push images using Jenkins and using Kubernetes to deploy to Amazon EC2.

We also implemented a dashboard app to handle user authentication/authorization, as well as a custom SSO server that runs on Heroku which allows experts to easily visit more than one instance without having to login repeatedly. The #Backend was implemented using my favorite #Stack which consists of FeathersJS on top of Node.js and ExpressJS with PostgreSQL as the main database. The #Frontend was implemented using React, Redux.js, Semantic UI React and the FeathersJS client. Though testing was light on this project, we chose to use AVA as well as ESLint to keep the codebase clean and consistent.

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Interest over time
Reviews of Ansible and Docker Compose
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How developers use Ansible and Docker Compose
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 Chris Saylor
Chris Saylor uses Docker ComposeDocker Compose

Since our production deployment makes use of the Convox platform, we use this to describe the containers to be deployed via Convox to AWS ECS.

We also use this for our local dev environment (previously used vagrant with chef).

Avatar of Scrayos UG (haftungsbeschränkt)
Scrayos UG (haftungsbeschränkt) uses Docker ComposeDocker Compose

Aside from our Minecraft-infrastructure, we compose it with ... Docker Compose! (kinda obious, eh .. ?) This includes for example the web-services, aswell as the monitoring and mail-infrastructure.

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 sapslaj
sapslaj uses Docker ComposeDocker Compose

Docker Compose is just another part of my "infrastructure as code" initiative and allows me to build isolated pieces of systems with their own volumes and networks.

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 Sathish N
Sathish N uses Docker ComposeDocker Compose

Our application will consist of several containers each communicating with each other. Using docker-compose, we can orchestrate several containers at once.

Avatar of Curabase
Curabase uses Docker ComposeDocker Compose

The core tech in ACS (Azure Container Services) we spin up a Kubernetes cluster and deploy our app into staging and production environments here.

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