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Ansible vs Visual Studio Team Services: What are the differences?

Ansible automates configuration and deployment, prioritizing simplicity, while Visual Studio Team Services (now Azure DevOps) is a comprehensive Microsoft platform for end-to-end DevOps activities. Here are the key differences between them.

  1. Scalability: Ansible is highly scalable, allowing it to handle large-scale infrastructure and manage thousands of nodes. On the other hand, Visual Studio Team Services is more suitable for smaller teams and projects, with a limited scalability compared to Ansible.

  2. Infrastructure Management: Ansible focuses on infrastructure-as-code, enabling users to automate the management of their infrastructure. It provides a declarative approach where users define the desired state of their infrastructure. In contrast, Visual Studio Team Services primarily focuses on software development and collaboration, with less emphasis on infrastructure management.

  3. Integration with CI/CD: Visual Studio Team Services offers seamless integration with continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. It provides comprehensive functionalities for building, testing, and deploying applications. In comparison, while Ansible can be integrated into CI/CD pipelines, it primarily focuses on orchestration and automation rather than providing dedicated CI/CD capabilities.

  4. Agent-based vs Agentless: Ansible follows an agentless architecture, whereby it utilizes SSH or WinRM connections to manage remote systems. This reduces the overhead of installing and maintaining agents on each target system. Conversely, Visual Studio Team Services relies on agents for executing tasks on remote machines, which requires the installation and configuration of these agents.

  5. Platform Support: Ansible has broader platform support, enabling it to manage a wide range of operating systems, cloud platforms, and networking devices. It offers native support for various platforms, including Linux, Windows, VMware, AWS, Azure, and more. In contrast, Visual Studio Team Services primarily focuses on Windows-based platforms and provides limited support for other operating systems and cloud providers.

  6. Open-source vs Proprietary: Ansible is an open-source tool, which means it is freely available, transparent, and benefits from a vibrant community of contributors. Users can modify and customize Ansible to fit their specific needs. In contrast, Visual Studio Team Services is a proprietary tool offered by Microsoft, which comes with licensing costs and may have limitations on customization.

In summary, Ansible is focused on automation and configuration management, providing flexibility across various environments, while Visual Studio Team Services (Azure DevOps) is a broader DevOps platform, offering a suite of integrated tools for end-to-end application lifecycle management.

Advice on Ansible and Azure DevOps
Needs advice
on
AnsibleAnsibleChefChef
and
Puppet LabsPuppet Labs

I'm just getting started using Vagrant to help automate setting up local VMs to set up a Kubernetes cluster (development and experimentation only). (Yes, I do know about minikube)

I'm looking for a tool to help install software packages, setup users, etc..., on these VMs. I'm also fairly new to Ansible, Chef, and Puppet. What's a good one to start with to learn? I might decide to try all 3 at some point for my own curiosity.

The most important factors for me are simplicity, ease of use, shortest learning curve.

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Replies (2)
Recommends
on
AnsibleAnsible

I have been working with Puppet and Ansible. The reason why I prefer ansible is the distribution of it. Ansible is more lightweight and therefore more popular. This leads to situations, where you can get fully packaged applications for ansible (e.g. confluent) supported by the vendor, but only incomplete packages for Puppet.

The only advantage I would see with Puppet if someone wants to use Foreman. This is still better supported with Puppet.

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Gabriel Pa
Recommends
on
KubernetesKubernetes
at

If you are just starting out, might as well learn Kubernetes There's a lot of tools that come with Kube that make it easier to use and most importantly: you become cloud-agnostic. We use Ansible because it's a lot simpler than Chef or Puppet and if you use Docker Compose for your deployments you can re-use them with Kubernetes later when you migrate

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Pros of Ansible
Pros of Azure DevOps
  • 284
    Agentless
  • 210
    Great configuration
  • 199
    Simple
  • 176
    Powerful
  • 155
    Easy to learn
  • 69
    Flexible
  • 55
    Doesn't get in the way of getting s--- done
  • 35
    Makes sense
  • 30
    Super efficient and flexible
  • 27
    Powerful
  • 11
    Dynamic Inventory
  • 9
    Backed by Red Hat
  • 7
    Works with AWS
  • 6
    Cloud Oriented
  • 6
    Easy to maintain
  • 4
    Vagrant provisioner
  • 4
    Simple and powerful
  • 4
    Multi language
  • 4
    Simple
  • 4
    Because SSH
  • 4
    Procedural or declarative, or both
  • 4
    Easy
  • 3
    Consistency
  • 2
    Well-documented
  • 2
    Masterless
  • 2
    Debugging is simple
  • 2
    Merge hash to get final configuration similar to hiera
  • 2
    Fast as hell
  • 1
    Manage any OS
  • 1
    Work on windows, but difficult to manage
  • 1
    Certified Content
  • 56
    Complete and powerful
  • 32
    Huge extension ecosystem
  • 27
    Azure integration
  • 26
    Flexible and powerful
  • 26
    One Stop Shop For Build server, Project Mgt, CDCI
  • 15
    Everything I need. Simple and intuitive UI
  • 13
    Support Open Source
  • 8
    Integrations
  • 7
    GitHub Integration
  • 6
    One 4 all
  • 6
    Cost free for Stakeholders
  • 6
    Project Mgmt Features
  • 5
    Crap
  • 5
    Runs in the cloud
  • 3
    Agent On-Premise(Linux - Windows)
  • 2
    Aws integration
  • 2
    Link Test Cases to Stories
  • 2
    Jenkins Integration
  • 1
    GCP Integration

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Cons of Ansible
Cons of Azure DevOps
  • 8
    Dangerous
  • 5
    Hard to install
  • 3
    Doesn't Run on Windows
  • 3
    Bloated
  • 3
    Backward compatibility
  • 2
    No immutable infrastructure
  • 8
    Still dependant on C# for agents
  • 5
    Many in devops disregard MS altogether
  • 4
    Capacity across cross functional teams not visibile
  • 4
    Not a requirements management tool
  • 4
    Half Baked
  • 3
    Jack of all trades, master of none
  • 3
    Poor Jenkins integration
  • 2
    Tedious for test plan/case creation

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What is Ansible?

Ansible is an IT automation tool. It can configure systems, deploy software, and orchestrate more advanced IT tasks such as continuous deployments or zero downtime rolling updates. Ansible’s goals are foremost those of simplicity and maximum ease of use.

What is Azure DevOps?

Azure DevOps provides unlimited private Git hosting, cloud build for continuous integration, agile planning, and release management for continuous delivery to the cloud and on-premises. Includes broad IDE support.

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What are some alternatives to Ansible and Azure DevOps?
Puppet Labs
Puppet is an automated administrative engine for your Linux, Unix, and Windows systems and performs administrative tasks (such as adding users, installing packages, and updating server configurations) based on a centralized specification.
Chef
Chef enables you to manage and scale cloud infrastructure with no downtime or interruptions. Freely move applications and configurations from one cloud to another. Chef is integrated with all major cloud providers including Amazon EC2, VMWare, IBM Smartcloud, Rackspace, OpenStack, Windows Azure, HP Cloud, Google Compute Engine, Joyent Cloud and others.
Salt
Salt is a new approach to infrastructure management. Easy enough to get running in minutes, scalable enough to manage tens of thousands of servers, and fast enough to communicate with them in seconds. Salt delivers a dynamic communication bus for infrastructures that can be used for orchestration, remote execution, configuration management and much more.
Terraform
With Terraform, you describe your complete infrastructure as code, even as it spans multiple service providers. Your servers may come from AWS, your DNS may come from CloudFlare, and your database may come from Heroku. Terraform will build all these resources across all these providers in parallel.
Jenkins
In a nutshell Jenkins CI is the leading open-source continuous integration server. Built with Java, it provides over 300 plugins to support building and testing virtually any project.
See all alternatives