Ansible in IBM Storage: A case study

Arjun Chauhan
3 min readDec 1, 2020

Automation is one of the most vital technology in the current industry. Most companies have to deal with a large number of systems daily which need to be configured and maintained for the smooth functioning. Although system configuration can be done manually too but it makes the process very lengthy , time consuming and prone to more types of error.

Before beginning to talk about the integration of Ansible I would like to talk about what Ansible really is.

How for back it goes?

The term automation, inspired by the earlier word was not widely used before 1947, when Ford established an automation department in his company. However today we would not be discussing about this but more about automation in configuration management

The configuration management is not a recent phenomena although the automation a few decades back was limited. But with the advent of Ansible in 2012 it has become much more efficient and faster.

Ansible was a startup founded on February 20, 2012 and it’s power can be estimated by the fact that just 3 years later on Oct. 16, 2015 Redhat acquired this technology at an agreement of 150 million dollars.

Why Ansible?

Like I mentioned earlier that automation is not a recent phenomena but still we see that Ansible tool is widely prevalent and has taken the market by storm. So what makes it so different?

The reason is that ansible follows a declarative approach. This means that we only have to specify what needs to be done and ansible takes care of how it would be done. This plays a very important role since there are so many operating systems running with different configuration and this makes the automated configuration much more easier.

So since now we have the idea of what ansible is let’s look at one of the case study.

Ansible and IBM Storage

IBM storage offer clients the industry’s broadest portfolio of storage solutions to unify, manage and protect their data across multicloud and AI environments.

They provides simple storage solutions that address modern data requirements and provides a solution to hybrid multicloud strategy. With the speed, scale, and complexity of hybrid multicloud and even traditional on-prem environments, automation has become a top priority. The reason is simple.

With increase in storage and the number of clients it becomes increasingly difficult to manage everything manually and also it makes the coordination difficult and prone to errors as mentioned earlier.

Hence Ansible becomes very handy in such conditions as it works as software provisioning, configuration management, and application-deployment tool enabling infrastructure as code.

IBM FlashSystem family for hybrid multicloud includes integration with Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, allowing IT to create an Ansible Playbook that automates the tasks that are repeated across an organization in a consistent way. This allows them to cut down the resources spend in the configuration management.

If we try to list down the benefits that IBM gets from using Ansible we can get a much clear idea:

  • With Ansible Automation and IBM Storage, clients can easily automate tasks such as configuration management, provisioning, workflow orchestration, application deployment, and life-cycle management.
  • By using Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform and IBM Storage, clients can reduce system inconsistencies with the automation modules.
  • Ansible can also be used to configure end-to-end infrastructure in an orchestrated fashion.

Before IBM integrated Ansible in their technology infrastructure , they were using python for automation. Python is a very versatile language and this can be understood by the fact than even Ansible is written in python but Ansible uses RAL(Resource Abstraction Layer) to make the tasks much easier for the user.

There are thousands of companies that have already integrated ansible in their architecture including Google, Azure, CISCO, Windows etc. and in this article I explored one such organization that was IBM. The use cases depends from industry to industry but the sole idea of automation remains the same.