Introduction to Ansible vs Chef
DevOps software development technology has a wide range of Configuration Management (CM) tools in it. Ansible and Chef are such CM tools that let DevOps professionals and System Admins manage multiple servers simultaneously. These tools are used to carry out your daily tasks more easily and efficiently. In this article, we are going to compare the two most favored DevOps tools, Ansible and Chef. These tools help in simultaneous application and package deployment to multiple servers and automate tasks repetitively. Both Ansible and Chef are built for configuring, deploying, and managing servers with more ease.
What is Ansible?
- Ansible was introduced in the year 2012 by Ansible Works, which is its parent company.
- Ansible is an Information Technology automation tool, that can be used for configuring systems, deploying software, and orchestrating advanced tasks like continuous deployments and practically no downtime updates.
- Ansible is used to automate application deployments, configuration management, cloud provisioning, intra-service and multi-node orchestration, task execution, and other IT tasks.
- Compared to other Configuration Management tools Ansible is very easy to use, lightweight and has high deployment speed.
- Ansible is completely built using Python programming language and requires only Python libraries for configuration purposes.
- In contrast, Chef needs thorough knowledge in Ruby to work on it.
- Ansible turns difficult tasks into repeatable playbooks.
- Control machines of Ansible must be Unix or Linux hosts.
- Ansible can be run on almost all Cloud Service Providers like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, VMware, IBM Cloud, etc.
What is Chef?
- The chef was introduced in 2009, by its parent company OpsCode.
- The chef is the successor of an old Configuration Management Tools known as Puppet, which was very hard to use and understand.
- The chef is older than Ansible and is a little difficult to use and understand than Ansible.
- Chef alike Puppet is built using Ruby Programming Language.
- Chef’s Command Line Interface (CLI) uses a Domain Specific Language (DSL) that is based on Ruby.
- The chef is a robust Automation tool that converts basic features into code.
- The chef is used to automating configuration, deployment, and management of your infrastructure across the network regardless of its size in any environment either its cloud or hybrid environment.
- Chef follows a master-agent architecture and has a master server too.
- The master server should be controlled by a workstation that is taken care of during Chef installation.
- Secure Socket Shells (SSHs) are used by Knife Tools to install various agents from the respective workstations.
- Authentication of managed nodes with the master server is done using certificates.
- Chef also can be run on almost all Cloud Service Providers like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, VMware, IBM Cloud, etc.
Head to Head differences between Ansible vs Chef (Infographics)
Given below are the top differences between Ansible vs Chef.
Key Differences of Ansible vs Chef
Let’s discuss some of the major differences between Ansible vs Chef:
- Ansible is a much simpler method of the Configuration Management (CM) process.
- Configuration files of Ansible are called Playbooks, while the same of Chef is called as Cookbooks.
- The playbook of Ansible is easy to understand and use.
- Ansible has an agentless model, unlike Chef. While Chef follows a Master-Server Architecture. This makes installation of Ansible much simpler than Chefs.
- Chef has one main Server and multiple client instances and Ansible just has a master on the server.
- All the configurations in Chef are tested and stored in an additional component called Workstation.
- Secure Socket Shells (SSHs) connections are used by Ansible for logging into client machines.
- OpenSSH implementations are used by Ansible for managing remote connections through SSH networking.
- Most of the cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, VMware, IBM Cloud, etc supports SSH networking.
- This makes Ansible for quicker deployments, thus making it much simpler and easy to use.
- For business purposes, Ansible Premium provides a highly easy-to-use dashboard for managing access controls monitoring running jobs and for viewing your server status.
- Chef usage needs pretty good knowledge in Ruby-based Domain Specific Language (DSL), which is very difficult for using and understanding.
- Ansible can be run from the command line using simple commands. Configurations are managed by Ansible using Yet Another Markup Language (YAML), which is more like normal English and is easy to understand.
- Ansible charges $100 per node, while Chef charges $137 as automation charges annually.
- Both Ansible and Chef work on a similar kind of principle when primary servers go down i.e. it then works on backup servers.
- Both Chef and Ansible have similar levels of scalability.
- Both Ansible and Chef work well on Windows and Linux or Unix platforms.
Comparison Table of Ansible vs Chef
The comparison table has been explained below:
|Set up||It can be set up and install easily||It’s set up and installs is pretty complicated|
|Availability||It is easily available||It is also easily available|
|Language of Configuration||It is written on the Python platform and has support for YAML commands which is more like normal English language||It is written on Ruby and supports Ruby DSL which is complicated and difficult to understand|
|Architecture||It follows a single-server architecture||It follows a Master-Server architecture|
|Ease of Management||It offers a high ease of management||Its management is a little complicated|
|Scalability||It is highly scalable||It is also highly scalable|
|Configuration||Secure Socket Shell (SSH) systems are used for node configuration||The chef server is configured by Master Chef Server and Chef Clients are configured by Client Machines|
|Client Configuration||It does not need any Virtual Machines for Client Configuration||It has a tool, Workstation to configure a client machine|
|Interoperability||It works well on Windows and Linux or Unix with high interoperability||It works well on Windows and Linux or Unix with high interoperability|
|Documentation||It is new and does not have good documentation||It is old and has proper documentation|
|Configuration Distribution||Configuration distribution on nodes is done by both push and pull processes||Configuration distribution on nodes is done by only the pull process|
|Security||It is highly secured with Secure Socket Shell (SSH)||It is not that secured|
|Pricing (Annual)||$10000 per 100 nodes||$13700 per 100 nodes|
Both Ansible and Chef are the most popular Configuration Management (CM) tools that are readily available in the market today. Both of them have their own advantages and disadvantages respectively. It is the decision of the developer or enterprise to choose between Ansible and Chef according to their requirements and convenience.
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