Ansible VS code feature image

Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform is a Red Hat offering based on Ansible that allows you to configure your systems via code, and version 2.2 is now generally available. Whether you want to install a framework, deploy an application, or tweak some network settings, Ansible Automation Platform is the easiest way to get the job done.

Ansible Automation Platform works with Red Hat OpenShift too, which means you can bring network administration experience from virtual machine (VM) environments to the brave new world of containers and microservices.

Here's a list of what's new for Ansible Automation Platform 2.2:

  • A topology viewer
  • More powerful developer tooling
  • Enhancements to network automation
  • Streamlined integration with Red Hat Insights
  • Evolving support in Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • Chain-of-custody tracking via digitally-signed components
  • An automation services catalog as a self-hosted, on-premises offering

Let's dive into the details for each of these.

Topology viewer

The Ansible Automation Platform topology viewer (Figure 1) allows you to see your overlay network and the results of Ansible automation. The visual layout makes support and troubleshooting easier while providing you with a big-picture view.

Figure 1: The topology viewer shows the relationships between your resources.

More powerful developer tooling

Ansible now has ansible-lint, which works like any good code linter to highlight errors, promote best practices, and reduce mistakes. ansible-lint also acts as an assistant if you're upgrading from an older (1.2) version of Ansible Automation Platform—which has an end-of-life date of September 2023.

There's also ansible-navigator 2.0, which brings other added capabilities to the table as well:

  • Pass-through control of ansible-builder, along with experimental pass-through control of ansible-lint
  • Simple settings management of modified and active ansible-navigator configurations within Visual Studio Code
  • Native execution of ad hoc Ansible commands in an execution environment

To make playbook development easier, a Visual Studio Code extension is available for download (Figure 2). As you would expect, this extension does syntax highlighting and real-time code validation as you type. Autocompletion is built in, and the extension has ansible-lint integrated as well.

Figure 2: The Visual Studio Marketplace offers a VS Code extension for Ansible.
Figure 2: The Visual Studio Marketplace offers a Visual Studio Code extension for Ansible.

Enhancements to network automation

Ansible Automation Platform 2.2 brings better performance and resilience to your automation tasks. libssh, which uses the pylibSSH library, is now used by default for SSH connections.

This new release also uses direct execution by default to improve performance. This means that commands are carried out by the Ansible control node instead of being packaged and executed by the shell.

New resource modules have been released, including snmp_server and hostname modules for supported network operating systems: Arista, Cisco, Juniper, and VyOS.

Streamlined integration with Red Hat Insights

Ansible Automation Platform 2.2 includes a simpler, more intuitive way to connect your automation data with Red Hat Insights. The insights-client package is responsible for ensuring that connected data for your Ansible Automation Platform infrastructure has also been added to the bundled installer on the Red Hat Customer Portal.

Once you are connected with Red Hat Insights, you can get actionable metrics and dashboards to help identify, troubleshoot, and resolve operational, business, and security issues across your entire ecosystem.

You also gain full visibility into the performance and return on investment (ROI) of your efforts, helping you make more informed decisions to optimize and expand your automation.

Evolving support in Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is keeping up with Ansible Automation Platform in a number of ways:

  • Ansible Automation Platform 2.2 components are now available in the Red Hat Customer Portal as RPM packages, in both versions 8 and 9 of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
  • Ansible Automation Platform 2.2 brings support for version 13 of the PostgreSQL database, which is in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9. PostgreSQL 13 can be used by multiple Ansible Automation Platform components for improved compatibility and performance.
  • Ansible Automation Platform 2.2 includes an updated certified Red Hat Enterprise Linux System Roles Collection to automate Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 instances.

An eye toward the future…

The following two features have been introduced in Ansible Automation Platform 2.2 as technology previews. These features provide early access to upcoming product innovations.

Chain-of-custody tracking via digitally-signed components

Digital signing of content is an important security feature that allows you to assure that the chain of custody for your assets stays within trusted providers.

Red Hat is also announcing Red Hat Ansible Certified Content: Digitally-signed content from Red Hat and partners to provide end-to-end security from download to deployment.

You can also sign your own content when publishing it to your private automation hub.

Automation services catalog as a self-hosted, on-premises offering

The automation services catalog is now a self-hosted, on-premises (private) offering. This gives automation creators and business users self-service access across physical, virtual, cloud, container, and edge environments.

This new iteration of the automation services catalog helps organizations extend the value of their automation to the business user by presenting access to Ansible Automation Platform in a catalog-style format.

With multilevel approval and role-based access control (RBAC), administrators can deploy projects more quickly, with the governance they need to meet compliance and procurement requirements.

Make the move to 2.2

You can download the new version of Ansible Automation Platform from our Ansible website. Try out the newest version and automate everything you do.