Ansible for SRE Teams

James Meickle, Quantopian


Ansible is a "batteries included" automation, configuration management, and orchestration tool that's fast to learn and flexible enough for any architecture. It's the perfect choice for automating repetitive tasks, increasing deployment frequency, and running infrastructure at scale. Companies are increasingly turning to Ansible to meet the challenges of transitioning from the data center to the cloud, from servers to containers, and from silos to devops.

In the first half of this workshop, you'll get a high level overview of Ansible's key concepts and learn how to use these building blocks to develop a reusable and maintainable Ansible codebase. You'll also get practical exposure to running Ansible commands on an EC2 instance.

In the second half of this workshop, you'll learn how Ansible interacts with cloud providers and other automation tools. The focus will be on hard problems like secret management, scheduling, and variable inheritance. This half of the workshop also has a practical component: you'll log into Ansible Tower, configure a new task, and provision a cloud instance to run orchestration commands against.

By the end of the workshop you'll understand whether Ansible is the right fit for your team and how to plan a successful deployment.

Pre-Reading List:

A subset of the reading materials from the

Prerequisites, Skills, and Tools:

  • Environment: All students will be provided AWS instances at the start of the course.
  • Tools: Pre-installed into AWS instances. Will need the ability to SSH into a public EC2 instance on port 22.
  • Skills: No Ansible knowledge is required, but students should have moderate or higher skills in configuration management, cloud architecture, and UNIX skills.

James Meickle, Quantopian

James is a site reliability engineer at Quantopian, a Boston startup making algorithmic trading accessible to everyone. Past roles have seen him responsible for processing MRI scans at the Center for Brain Science at Harvard University, sales engineering and developer evangelism at AppNeta, and release engineering during the Romney for President 2012 campaign. Between NYSE trading days, he organizes DevOpsDays Boston and conducts Ansible trainings on O'Reilly's Safari platform. What free time remains is dedicated to cooking, sci-fi, permadeath video games, and Satanism.

@conference {212973,
author = {James Meickle},
title = {Ansible for {SRE} Teams},
year = {2018},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = mar