What is Ansible Tower
Updated on 28th Sep, 22 23 Views

Before addressing the question, “What is Ansible Tower?” it’s important to know the fundamental ideas of its predecessor, Ansible. Ansible, a Red Hat open-source tool, is a popular platform used to automate repetitive IT activities and manage settings across an IT infrastructure.

What is Ansible?

Ansible is a free and open-source orchestration and automation tool that can be used to provide software, manage configuration, and deploy applications. Michael DeHaan, the developer of Cobbler and Func, created Ansible in 2012.

In 2015, RedHat, Inc. purchased the firm that was supporting Ansible. Ansible now lives under the IBM umbrella after RedHat was acquired by IBM in 2019.

This blog on Ansible Tower will provide you with a thorough understanding of the following:

To learn more about Ansible, Watch this youtube Video by intellipaat!

Alright!! So, let’s get started with the Ansible Tower Tutorial

Definition of Ansible Tower

Ansible Tower is a version of Ansible that is primarily focused on businesses. It is an internet administration system with a relatively straightforward user interface that provides a dashboard with a list of all the hosts’ current statuses, enabling quick installations and constant vigilance of all configurations.

The tower logs all jobs, enables you to view inventories interactively, and synchronizes them with a variety of cloud providers. It also permits you to share SSH passwords without disclosing them.

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The Architecture of Ansible Tower

It provides three architectures: a single machine with an integrated database, a single device with a remote database, and a high-availability multi-machine cluster. The primary architecture utilizes the same construction components regardless of the three you use.

  • Users use the graphical web interface or the RESTful API to interact with the platform.
  • At least one host and one node are required for Ansible Tower.
  • Playbooks are blocks of YAML code that serve as the template for automation activities. They are lists of tasks that are executed automatically against hosts.
  • A collection, group, or categorization of hosts runs playbooks using Tower.
  • Ansible Tower is agentless, which means it operates by uploading modules to the node and then running them—no “agent” or special software is required.

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Features of Ansible Tower

Previously known as AWX, Ansible Tower features a web-based user interface that makes it even easier for IT team members of all system administration skill levels.

When deciding between Ansible and Ansible Tower, view Ansible Tower’s capabilities as an extension of those offered in Ansible. It has the following features:

  • External logging integrations
  • RESTful API
  • Role-based access control
  • Graphical user interface (GUI) dashboard
  • Real-time job status updates
  • Job scheduling
  • External logging integrations

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Parameters of Ansible Tower

In this area of the blog, you will learn about the tower’s following parameters:

  • Tower Pricing
  • Tower Editions

Tower Pricing

As previously stated, the tower comes in three variants, the self-support edition is the free trial version. The cost for the other two editions can be seen in the table below:

Ansible Tower Pricing

Tower Editions

Three editions of The Ansible Tower are offered: self-support, standard, and premium. The features that are offered by each of these versions vary. You can perform anything from deploying applications to multi-tiered orchestrations with management, privacy, and logging features.

 Self-SupportStandardPremium
Audit TrailNoYesYes
Ansible Tower DashboardYesYesYes
Job SchedulingYesYesYes
Role-Based Access ControlYesYesYes
WorkFlowsNoYesYes
24*7 SupportNoNoYes
Integration With Enterprise AccountsNoYesYes
Built-In Notifications  YesYesYes
Real-Time Job OutputsYesYesYes
Scale-Out Clustering  NoYesYes

Ansible Tower Installation Requirements

Ansible Tower installation requires the following prerequisites:

  • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64-bit
  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit
  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS 64 bit
  • CentOS 6 64-bit
  • CentOS 7 64-bit
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 64-bit
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 64-bit

You should be running Ansible’s latest version.

  • A 20 GB hard drive and 64-bit kernel and runtime support are necessary.
  • A minimum of 2 GB RAM is required (4+ GB RAM is recommended).
  • 2 GB RAM (recommended for Virtualbox trial setups).
  • 4 GB RAM is recommended for 100 forks.

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Ansible Tower installation

Ansible should be installed and configured on your operating system before PostgreSQL and Ansible Tower.

So let’s start by setting up and installing Ansible. I’ll be running the Ubuntu 16.04 operating system.

Install and configure Ansible on Ubuntu

Step 1: As a root user, run the following commands to construct the Ansible PPA.

install software-properties-common apt-get
apt-get install PPA: ansible/ansible

Step 2: Once configured, use the following commands to download Ansible.

apt-get update
apt-get install ansible
Install PostgreSQL when you have completed the installation.

Installing PostgreSQL

To install PostgreSQL, use the steps below.

apt-get update
Sudo apt-get install PostgreSQL postgresql-contrib

Download Ansible Tower

Step 1.1: After you have finished installing Ansible, signup to obtain the Ansible – Tower.

Step 1.2: After registering, you will receive an email with a link to download the Ansible Tower. To download, open your email and then click the download option.

Ansible Tower installation

Step 1.3: Run the following commands to extract the Ansible Tower installation tool.

tar xvzf ansible-tower-setup-latest.tar.gz 
ansible-tower-setup-tower version>, 

where tower-version is the version of the tower you downloaded.

Step 2: Next, create an inventory file in which you must include the necessary credentials (admin password, pg password, rabbitmq password).

Step 3: Because the Tower setup playbook script needs the inventory file, it must be called as./setup.sh from the location where the Tower installation tarball was unpacked.

./setup.sh

Step 4: Once you’ve finished configuring the Tower, use a web browser to connect to the Tower server and visit the Tower login screen, where you must enter your username and password to access the Tower Dashboard.

Hands-on With Ansible Tower

Hands-on with Ansible Tower

Create a User

  • Go to the settings menu, then the User tab, to create a new user.
  • Go to the User tab and press the Create button to add a new User.
  • After providing the required information, click Save.
Hands-on With Ansible Tower

Create an Inventory

Select Inventories, then click the Add button to immediately create an inventory.

Hands-on With Ansible Tower

Enter all essential details, including the name, summary, and organization, after choosing the Add option, and then click Save.

Create a Host

Go to the Inventories page and choose the inventory to which you wish to add hosts.

Then select the Hosts tab and click the Add Hosts button.

Hands-on with Ansible Tower

I’d want to add hosts to the inventory that was built before.

Once the information has been entered, click Save.

Create a Credential

Create a credential after creating hosts by navigating to the settings options and then selecting the Credentials tab.

After that, click on the Add option and specify the details.

Once you’ve finished providing the details, click Save.

Setting up a Project

You may retrieve a basic playbook in two ways: manually or by supplying a link from a Github repository.

In this blog, I will manually access the project.

Accessing a Manually created Playbook

You must first construct a playbook and then set up the project before you can access a manually prepared playbook.

So, follow the steps below to begin developing a playbook.

As a root user, use the command line terminal to create a directory for your project on the Tower server file system to store your Ansible playbooks for this project.

Command-Line of Ansible Tower

Create a new project directory on the Tower filesystem beneath the Project Base Path directory, which is placed by default in “/var/lib/awx/projects/.” DEMO is the name of the new directory.

Command-Line of Ansible Tower

Let’s get started on a project now.

Using your web browser, start a new project by clicking on the Projects link at the top of the Tower Dashboard and then clicking on the Add button.

Hands-on with Ansible Tower

When you click the Add button, you will be sent to a screen where you can enter

data such as the Name and Description of the Project.

Hands-on with Ansible Tower

Then, change the SCM type to Manual, and for the Playbook Directory, enter the name of the subfolder you established, and then click Save.

To learn more about Ansible, check out this Ansible Tutorial!

Conclusion

Ansible Tower is an excellent configuration management and automation tool for medium to big businesses. Ansible Tower is available in two editions: Standard and Premium. Both are nearly identical, with the exception that the Standard Edition only provides 8*5 Enterprise Support, but the Premium Edition provides 24*7 Premium Support. Ansible Tower is also available for free, although it only supports 50 nodes.

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