Ansible versus competition | Comparison of DevOps tools

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Software development teams have a wide choice of DevOps project management tools. While this helps professionals find solutions tailored to their specific needs, it also makes it harder to narrow down the right choice. For example, choosing between DevOps tools Ansible and Concourse can be a difficult undertaking.

Ansible and Concourse serve different purposes, but some product functionality overlaps. Here’s a closer look at the differences between Ansible and Concourse to help you find the best DevOps tools for your business.

What is Ansible?

Ansible is an open source automation platform from Red Hat. which aims to simplify DevOps. He configures systems, deploys software, performs updates with minimal downtime, and helps manage ongoing deployments. Through all of its features, it tries to make the otherwise complicated and time-consuming DevOps process as simple and streamlined as possible.

What is Competition?

Concourse CI is also an open source automation platform but with a more specific focus: it focuses on continuous integration (CI), providing a single, central place to manage increasingly complex software. The focus on actual pipelines helps improve transparency and provides better insight into project development, including when and why errors occur.

Feature comparison between Ansible and Concourse

Ansible Crowd
graphic interface Yes Yes
Containers Yes Yes
encryption Yes Yes
Runtime Variables Yes Nope
Full Windows support Nope Yes

graphic interface

When it launched, Ansible was a command-line-only platform, and while it has since added a GUI, that interface is limited. This can accomplish only 85% what the command line can do. The interface, dubbed Ansible Tower, makes it easier to collaborate and manage separate pipelines than before, but its functionality is lacking. However, Ansible uses Python, which makes it more user-friendly despite the bad UI.

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Concourse’s GUI, on the other hand, is very informative. The interface visualizes pipeline configurations in advance, requiring just one click to see why something failed. Concourse also uses a configure-as-code approach to minimize UI clicks to build and replicate pipelines. Unlike Ansible Tower, Concourse lets you control everything the program can do from the GUI.

Containers

Originally, Ansible did not support native containers, but added an official container tool in 2016. The most unique and impressive feature of Ansible’s containers is that you can share and download them on Ansible Galaxy, the platform’s hub for user-generated resources. This way, teams can find containerization tools that suit their needs and deploy them faster.

Concourse uses containers by default. Every stage of a Concourse build is containerized, making this platform’s pipelines one of the most easily scalable you can build. The tool also includes several strategies to automate container placement, making it easier to manage and adapt to your specific needs.

encryption

Confidentiality of project data is crucial, which is why Ansible Vault offers the ability to encrypt variables and files. Ansible Vault includes support for multiple passwords to make it easier for remote teams to collaborate, but teams can also use unique passwords if needed. Unfortunately, Ansible only offers encryption at rest, so as soon as you start using these files, they may be vulnerable.

With Concourse, as soon as you enable encryption, it automatically encrypts all data in plain text. It supports 16 and 32 bit encryption, allowing teams to configure these keys as they see fit. Users can also exchange encryption keys in a single action instead of having to decrypt and re-encrypt data manually.

SEE: Bitbucket vs GitHub: comparison of DevOps tools (TechRepublic)

Choosing between Ansible and Concourse

One of the most important considerations for any project management software is its ease of use. Developers often overlook or ignore pipeline development stages, although it is a recipe for disaster because it involves a lot of work. DevOps automation tools should therefore be as easy to use as possible.

Ansible’s use of Python and its agentless status make it one of the most user-friendly options out there. Although its user interface could be improved, the platform contains many features, such as Ansible Galaxy and out-of-the-box modules that streamline improvements that make it easier to use.

Concourse’s focus on real pipelines provides a comprehensive and easily understandable view of projects. However, some users complain about a lack of features and streamlined workflows, and it uses Go, an admittedly less versatile language than Python.

Although Concourse may require more development experience to use, it offers more support. The DevOps platform is completely cloud-based, so it works on any operating system. Ansible, on the other hand, has minimal Windows support.

Although Ansible supports Windows nodes, it still requires a Linux control machine to manage them. Without full support for the most used operating system is a notable drawback. But Windows support will likely increase in the future, especially given the open source nature of Ansible.

Concourse is also great for businesses that prioritize scalability. Besides being container-based by default, it keeps all configurations in easily accessible files. This makes it easy to review and update them as you develop your project.

Ansible’s scalability features lag in comparison. Project management software has no concept of state, so it stops when a task completes, fails, or encounters an error. While this may make it easier to find errors, it also slows down project development with large-scale updates.

What is the best DevOps tool for your business?

Ansible and Concourse both rank among the best DevOps project management tools. While Ansible advances in ease of use and overall functionality, Concourse is more easily scalable and compatible with other systems. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each product can help you determine which one is best for your specific use cases.

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