What Tool for Automation?

Discussion in 'Virtualized Computing' started by KapsZ28, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. KapsZ28

    KapsZ28 2[H]4U

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    I am looking for something like Puppet or Chef that can be used for automation. It needs to be agentless, and preferably free or at least not very expensive. I would like it to at least work with Windows and VMware, but support for Linux and network devices would also be nice.

    I was considering vRealize Orchestrator since it can run powershell and sh scripts, but I would rather not have the dependency on VMware.

    An example would be deploying VMs, by just entering in variables like VLAN and customer name. It would then setup the VLAN on the switches (probably just an sh script since there is no NSX), add the distributed port groups in vCenter, create the folder name, resource pool, and datastore. Deploy and customize the Windows or Linux VM.

    Any recommendations?
     
  2. 4saken

    4saken [H]ardForum Junkie

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    free or paid? Ansible is 'agentless' as it relies on ssh for Linux clients, and winrm for windows. vRealize orchestrator can be a powerful tool, but it still requires backend work to integrate it with your systems. Terraform with chef/ansible/puppet would be more of a complete IaaS solution potentially. It really depends on your environment. We utilize Terraform/Chef for AWS and on-prem ESXi deployments, all custom built/configured in-house. It just comes down to how much skill you have on staff and how many man hours you can put into something like that.

    That being said, Terraform w/Chef or Ansible is my choice.
     
  3. Eulogy

    Eulogy 2[H]4U

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    Only thing I can add is basically an echo of 4saken. The single use case you described can be done with basically any language... python (pyvmomi) or even just powercli. For switch config, it depends on the switch, but most you'd just hit the API, likely with a JSON payload and then you're set there. Just depends on how deep down the rabbit hole you want to go... ansible is a good place to look as well ad something we use a bit.
     
  4. KapsZ28

    KapsZ28 2[H]4U

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    Free is definitely preferred. I do keep hearing about Ansible a lot, but it doesn't look like they have a free version.
     
  5. Eulogy

    Eulogy 2[H]4U

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    Er, "they" absolutely do. The only thing you need is a Linux box and python on it... then just apt install / pip / npm or whatever your flavor is to install it. Once you have ansible installed, you either start developing your ownn module and playbooks, or use ones that are out there already.
     
  6. KapsZ28

    KapsZ28 2[H]4U

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    My bad. I just assume going to ansible.com was the way to go and saw the pretty looking Red Hat Ansible Tower. I now see other instructions for setting it up on CentOS.
     
  7. thewooster

    thewooster Gawd

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    Yes, Ansible itself is free, but it'll be all cli. If you want the enterprise product, then Tower will cost you a pretty penny.

    If you want an actual platform, I would definitely suggest Ansible. If you just want scripting, then python and powershell will get you a long way, with the negative that you have to maintain scripts.
     
  8. kdh

    kdh Gawd

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    Ansible is heavily used in my shop. Its pretty neat. I have very very limited experience with Puppet. Both products are very good, and have a free version. However, how they both do it is different. There are a bunch of pluses and minuses with both stacks so you really have to do your research. do not make your choice based on cost alone.