Ansible vs Capistrano vs Fabric

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Ansible

18.8K
15.3K
+ 1
1.3K
Capistrano

1K
641
+ 1
232
Fabric

452
306
+ 1
75

Ansible vs Capistrano vs Fabric: What are the differences?

## Key Differences between Ansible, Capistrano, and Fabric

Ansible, Capistrano, and Fabric are all popular deployment automation tools, each with its own set of unique features and functionalities. Below are the key differences between the three tools.

1. **Architecture**: Ansible utilizes an agentless architecture, while Capistrano and Fabric both require agents to be installed on the target servers. This difference can impact the ease of deployment and management, as the agentless model in Ansible simplifies the setup process and reduces the overhead on target servers.

2. **Language**: Capistrano is primarily written in Ruby, making it more suitable for Ruby-centric environments, whereas Fabric is written in Python, which is a better choice for Python developers. Ansible, on the other hand, uses YAML for configuration management, providing a more human-readable and easy-to-understand syntax for defining playbooks.

3. **Configuration Management**: Ansible is known for its declarative approach to configuration management, allowing users to define the desired state of the system without specifying each step. Capistrano and Fabric, on the other hand, use an imperative style, where users need to define the exact steps to be executed during deployment.

4. **Community Support**: Ansible boasts a large and active community that continually contributes playbooks, roles, and modules to the Ansible Galaxy repository. Capistrano and Fabric also have supportive communities, but they may not be as extensive or well-established as the Ansible community.

5. **Scalability**: Ansible is designed to scale up to manage hundreds or thousands of servers simultaneously, making it a preferred choice for large-scale deployments. While Capistrano and Fabric can also handle multiple servers, Ansible's scalability features make it stand out for enterprise-level deployments.

6. **Extensibility**: Ansible provides a robust plugin system that allows users to extend its functionality through custom modules, plugins, and playbooks. Capistrano and Fabric offer some level of extensibility, but they may not provide the same level of flexibility and customization as Ansible.

In Summary, when choosing between Ansible, Capistrano, and Fabric, consider factors such as architecture, language compatibility, configuration management style, community support, scalability, and extensibility to determine the best tool for your deployment automation needs.
Advice on Ansible, Capistrano, and Fabric
Needs advice
on
AnsibleAnsible
and
RundeckRundeck

We have a lot of operations running using Rundeck (including deployments) and we also have various roles created in Ansible for infrastructure creation, which we execute using Rundeck. Rundeck we are using a community edition. Since we are already using Rundeck for executing the Ansible role, need an advice. What difference will it make if we replace Rundeck with Ansible Tower? Advantages and Disadvantages? We are using Jenkins to call Rundeck Job, same will be used for Ansible Tower if we replace Rundeck.

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Replies (1)
Denis Gukov

I never use Tower, but I can recommend Ansible Semaphore as alternative to Rundeck. It is lightweight, easy to use and tailored for work with Ansible.

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Rogério R. Alcântara
Needs advice
on
AnsibleAnsibleChefChef
and
Puppet LabsPuppet Labs
in

Personal Dotfiles management

Given that they are all “configuration management” tools - meaning they are designed to deploy, configure and manage servers - what would be the simplest - and yet robust - solution to manage personal dotfiles - for n00bs.

Ideally, I reckon, it should:

  • be containerized (Docker?)
  • be versionable (Git)
  • ensure idempotency
  • allow full automation (tests, CI/CD, etc.)
  • be fully recoverable (Linux/ macOS)
  • be easier to setup/manage (as much as possible)

Does it make sense?

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Replies (3)
terry chay
Principal Engineer at RaiseMe · | 9 upvotes · 60.3K views
Recommends
on
AnsibleAnsible

I recommend whatever you are most comfortable with/whatever might already be installed in the system. Note that, for personal dotfiles, it does not need to be containerized or have full automation/testing. It just needs to handle multiple OS and platform and be idempotent. Git will handle the heavy lifting. Note that you'll have to separate out certain files like the private SSH keys and write your CM so that it will pull it from another store or assist in manually importing them.

I personally use Ansible since it is a serverless design and is in Python, which I prefer to Ruby. Saltstack was too new when I started to port my dotfile management scripts from shell into a configuration management tool. I think any of the above is fine.

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Recommends
on
SaltSalt

You should check out SaltStack. It's a lot more powerful than Puppet, Chef, & Ansible. If not Salt, then I would go Ansible. But stay away from Puppet & Chef. 10+ year user of Puppet, and 2+ year user of Chef.

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Attila Fulop
Management Advisor at artkonekt · | 3 upvotes · 24.1K views
Recommends

Chef is a definite no-go for me. I learned it the hard way (ie. got a few tasks in a prod system) and it took quite a lot to grasp it on an acceptable level. Ansible in turn is much more straightforward and much easier to test.

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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 Capistrano
Pros of Fabric
  • 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
  • 121
    Automated deployment with several custom recipes
  • 63
    Simple
  • 23
    Ruby
  • 11
    Release-folders with symlinks
  • 9
    Multistage deployment
  • 2
    Cryptic syntax
  • 2
    Integrated rollback
  • 1
    Supports aws
  • 23
    Python
  • 21
    Simple
  • 5
    Low learning curve, from bash script to Python power
  • 5
    Installation feedback for Twitter App Cards
  • 3
    Easy on maintainance
  • 3
    Single config file
  • 3
    Installation? pip install fabric... Boom
  • 3
    Easy to add any type of job
  • 3
    Agentless
  • 2
    Easily automate any set system automation
  • 1
    Flexible
  • 1
    Crash Analytics
  • 1
    Backward compatibility
  • 1
    Remote sudo execution

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Cons of Ansible
Cons of Capistrano
Cons of Fabric
  • 8
    Dangerous
  • 5
    Hard to install
  • 3
    Doesn't Run on Windows
  • 3
    Bloated
  • 3
    Backward compatibility
  • 2
    No immutable infrastructure
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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 Capistrano?

      Capistrano is a remote server automation tool. It supports the scripting and execution of arbitrary tasks, and includes a set of sane-default deployment workflows.

      What is Fabric?

      Fabric is a Python (2.5-2.7) library and command-line tool for streamlining the use of SSH for application deployment or systems administration tasks. It provides a basic suite of operations for executing local or remote shell commands (normally or via sudo) and uploading/downloading files, as well as auxiliary functionality such as prompting the running user for input, or aborting execution.

      Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

      What companies use Ansible?
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      What tools integrate with Ansible?
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      What are some alternatives to Ansible, Capistrano, and Fabric?
      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