I'm an experienced web developer, software engineer, and leader. Welcome to my blog. If you need to reach out you can continue the conversation with a tweet to @geedew. I hope you find what you are looking for here. You can also find me on Github and StackOverflow.

Setting up Ansible for multiple environment deployments

Ansible is a tool for automating the task of installing software via SSH. You can run it against a server, a VM or even a desktop; anything that can be a target of SSH! If you haven’t had the chance to use Ansible then go get a basic understanding before attempting to follow the things I will talk about.

The goal of Ansible is to be able to setup a server the same way, every time (immutability). This fits well with code development and the need to have production-like servers. Ansible does not smooth the transition between different environments, however. In fact, there is a special variable (environment) that has nothing to do with the concept that I’m writing about, making it a confusing thing to describe.

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Working with Ansible

I think that the year 2013 could be remembered by most web developers as the year “DevOps” became a vital part of the workflow. From the growth that dev tools like Vagrant and Docker have seen (Docker wasn’t around before 2013) it’s sometimes hard to keep up with all of the scuttlebutt.

Ansible follows in line with it’s two closest competitors, Puppet and Chef. It fills the role to scientifically create the server/software layer your code is written against. A well written Ansible task will move a server from nothing to a fully working, ready to use process that can be repeated without differences.

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