Updated June 14, 2023
Introduction to Ansible Tower Alternative
You might know that Ansible Tower is RedHat’s commercial product that provides a Graphical User Interface to do configuration management of your environment smoothly. But we also know that this is a licensed product, and we need to pay Red Hat for subscriptions and updates for RedHat Ansible Tower. This is not required if you do not have much to manage via Ansible and where bearing license cost is a constraint. We can explore alternatives of Ansible Tower, which includes open-source community-supported products, products from other companies with less cost, or products that are free to use but registered under a license by some organization.
Alternatives of Ansible Tower
First, you must decide what features you or your team want if your team has the skills to use and write Playbooks on the command line of Ansible. Then you might not need any graphical user interface tool at all. Having it will only add to your task list to manage its availability to your team members who can do the same tasks efficiently on the command line.
If your organization is in such a need where there are multiple repeated tasks and only a few developers or administrators are available to create such management automation. Then you shall look for an easy-to-use graphical user interface for configuration management automation. This tool will provide a front end to take inputs from you or a schedule and then push those changes via core Ansible running in the back end.
Ansible Tower is one such product, but it is free to manage 10 client nodes. This is good for testing environments, but you need more capacity when you are in the production environment or in an environment where you have multiple varieties of nodes to manage.
Also, pricing is a high concern as Red Hat Ansible Tower is a pricy product. It charges you the per-node basis and can cost you more than ten thousand dollars for around a hundred nodes. It has two types of licensing which are STANDARD and PREMIUM.
So, we can explore some of the alternatives that are free to use or an alternative to Ansible Tower. Out of all available alternatives, I believe AWX is more valuable in the Upstream Project for RedHat Ansible Tower, which is most powerful and suitable in a production environment if you can’t have Red Hat Ansible Tower. Along with AWX, we will discuss other solutions that can be used to get the UI of Ansible and manage Ansible via a browser-based GUI.
- This open-source project is run by Red Hat and Ansible community. This is the project which is behind Red Hat’s Ansible Tower. So, you can call it the Upstream Project of Ansible Tower. Few points to note for Ansible –
- AWX provides a Web-based user interface, Job scheduler, Credential Manager, and delegation. There is a very powerful RESTFUL API, which works through API.
- With API control, you can integrate AWX with other applications like your ticketing tool, Continuous Integration system, and Source code management.
- This works on a Templates basis, so when you create a playbook, you need to create a TEMPLATE.
- To install AWX on your system, you must have followed in your system: –
- A Linux Machine with OS like RHEL, Fedora, etc., check the latest documentation for minimum support.
- Ansible version greater than 8
- Docker Python Module
- GNU Make
- Git version greater than 8.4
- Node 10.x LTS version
- NPM 6.x LTS
- Minimum 4 GB RAM
- Minimum 2 CPU cores
- Minimum 20 GB Disk
- PostgreSQL Database, minimum version 9.6, if only you need external
Otherwise, AWX, by default, creates a PostgreSQL Database on your system.
- As it’s a community version of Red Hat Tower, you should expect no support for mission-critical.
- Multiple releases in a single can be possible, so ready to upgrade it multiple times a year.
- Ansible Semaphore is an open-source alternative to Ansible Tower to provide Graphical UI and APIs for creating and launching Ansible.
- It supports LDAP authentication, Telegram, and Email.
- Its backend is written in GO.
- Along with basic requirements like Python, Ansible packages, etc. It has below as specific requirements:
- MySQL version greater than equal to 5.6.4 OR MariaDB version greater than equal to 3
- Git version greater than 0
- Support for HTTP
- If you use Puppet and Chef instead of Ansible, you know these tools don’t have their GUIs previously, so Foreman comes in.
- Great integration capabilities to integrate Chef, puppet, and Written in Ruby (Rails).
- It can pull different tools under the same.
- It has SMART Proxy architecture, due to which, on a very basic level, the REST API enables the integration with multiple.
- This is Configuration Management automation and the complete server life cycle management.
- It works on a plugin basis, with various plugins spanning Puppet, Ansible, and many other server management features.
Ansible is a very powerful and broad tool with support from a very strong community. Using Ansible efficiently in your production environment is as important as its whole use. For this, a GUI like Ansible AWX, Semaphore has, is very useful and helps to increase productivity if you can’t afford Ansible Tower.
This is a guide to Ansible Tower Alternative. Here we discuss the introduction and different alternatives of Ansible Tower like AWX, Semaphore & Foreman, which are very useful. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –