Red Hat Brings Ansible Automation Platform to Microsoft Azure

The News: Earlier this week, Red Hat announced a further continuation of its long-standing relationship with Microsoft and, specifically, the Azure cloud platform. According to Red Hat, by bringing Ansible Automation Platform its customers will be able to more easily automate across hybrid clouds, IoT, and edge deployments by leveraging the Ansible Automation Platform on Microsoft Azure. Read the full Red Hat press release here.

Red Hat Brings Ansible Automation Platform to Microsoft Azure

Analyst Take: While Red Hat OpenShift and the venerable Linux distribution RHEL garner the majority of the headlines, the Ansible team within Red Hat are building out another strong franchise with the Ansible Automation platform. Red Hat acquired Ansible back in 2015 in a deal reportedly worth $100 million and since then has greatly expanded the platform’s capabilities and use case focus. The announcement that Ansible Automation Platform is coming to Microsoft Azure is another step in this evolution. In fact, I am surprised that Ansible was not already supported on Azure as this is a logical, if not obvious, move for both companies.

Since the acquisition of Ansible in 2015, Red Hat has been expanding the Ansible Automation Platform, adding a suite of enterprise-grade IT logic and smarts including centralized automation execution, analytics, job scheduling, role-based access control, audit trails, and a strong focus on the user dashboard. This is essentially Red Hat expanding the use case for the Ansible stack from traditional patch management distribution and network configuration into a myriad of more high value use cases.

For those not close to Red Hat’s portfolio, Ansible is a Python-based IT automation engine that companies use for network automation, configuration management, application deployment, and infrastructure provisioning. Put simply Ansible is a perfect fit for IT processes that are repeatable, such as issuing software security patches. The community and adoption rates for this technology are, understandably, considerable. Looking at the community metrics alone, it quickly becomes apparent that Ansible is one of the most popular open-source projects, with some 50,000 stars on GitHub and 3,000 plus active contributors.

The Ansible Automation Platform focuses on providing a one stop shop of supported automation functionality to provide an alternative to the build it/maintain it yourself approach that is possible from a portfolio of diverse open-source projects. In fact, I believe that many of Red Hat’s customers rightly prefer a fully featured, pre-integrated automation toolset, and one that comes with enterprise support and the corresponding with service level agreements (SLAs).

By bringing the Ansible Automation Platform to Microsoft Azure, Red Hat is providing customers with increased flexibility and choice in how they choose to deploy. The on-premises version of the Ansible Automation Platform has long been able to deploy and manage resources from public clouds including Azure. With the announcement today, Red Hat customers have a managed application for the Ansible Automation Platform. The principle value prop being that customers don’t have to worry about deploying and configuring a solution themselves and can rely on the pre-packaging that Red Hat and Microsoft have done for them. As of this week, the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform for Azure is available in preview via the Azure Marketplace, with customers able to request an invitation.

As I mentioned, I was genuinely surprised when I saw the press release come across my desk that this was a new announcement, as I was fully expecting Ansible to be available on the hyperscale cloud providers. With this Microsoft Azure partnership, Red Hat is providing customers with much needed deployment choices, while making adoption of the platform easier. I recently wrote about the latest developments in the Ansible Automation Platform and have been fortunate to have had a variety of briefings with the Red Hat team over the last few months. I am impressed by the breadth and vision the team has shared with us, as well as by the company’s commitment to take Ansible beyond the traditional use cases and into more service oriented and AI driven models.

The collaboration between Red Hat and Microsoft I believe will be the first of a series of similar announcements that sees the Ansible technology available in a variety of public clouds in the coming months. Customers rightly demand choice and when Red Hat delivers various deployment options, I see further market adoption of this technology, especially given the pressures that are increasingly placed on IT teams to manage more with less resources.

When you factor in the security and governance burden on IT operations teams, be that on-premises or in the public cloud, automated infrastructure provisioning alone will not be enough. Ansible Automation Platform gives DevOps and ITOps the ability to automate and govern, at scale, every aspect of the application lifecycle. Perhaps more vitally than this traditional model is that Ansible also gives security and network operations teams the ability to automate the multitude of tasks that are required to ensure enterprise-wide level security postures.

Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Other insights from Futurum Research:

Red Hat Goes All in on Multi Cloud and Hybrid Innovation with Latest Version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 

Red Hat Announces OpenShift 4.9 — Getting Closer to the Edge With Myriad Enhancements — and Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes 

Red Hat Doubles Down on Automation with Ansible Platform 2

Image Credit: Red Hat


Author Information

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.


Latest Insights:

On this episode of The Six Five Webcast, hosts Patrick Moorhead and Daniel Newman discuss earnings for NVIDIA, Lenovo, and Synopsys, what to expect at MWC 2024, third generation Arm Neoverse, and the Intel Foundry Direct Connect event.
The Release Includes Support for WebAssembly, OpenTelemetry, and Kubernetes Gateway API
The Futurum Group’s Paul Nashawaty and Sam Holschuh share their insights on the Traefik Proxy v3 Release Candidate, which introduces new support functionalities enhancing the platform for cloud-native environments.
Earnings Highlight a Strong Growth Path for the PC Giant and Point to Accelerating Recovery for the Tech Sector
Olivier Blanchard, Research Director at The Futurum Group, shares his insights on Lenovo Q3 FY 23/24 earnings, which confirm the accelerating sector-wide AI-driven recovery and make a strong case for the company’s growth opportunities.
The New Edition of Marketing Cloud Provides Access to Trusted AI on Einstein 1
Keith Kirkpatrick, Research Director at The Futurum Group, covers the launch of Marketing Cloud Edition, which helps SMB marketers leverage relevant customer data and AI.