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Ansible vs Cockpit: What are the differences?


Ansible and Cockpit are both powerful tools used for managing and administering servers, but they differ in their approaches and functionalities. Understanding the key differences between Ansible and Cockpit is crucial in choosing the right tool for server management based on specific needs.

  1. Deployment Method: Ansible is a configuration management tool that follows a declarative approach. It uses YAML-based Ansible playbooks to describe the desired state of infrastructure or application configurations. On the other hand, Cockpit is a web-based graphical interface that provides real-time insights and management capabilities for servers. It allows users to interact with servers through a browser and perform various administrative tasks such as monitoring, system updates, and user management.

  2. Scalability and Flexibility: In terms of scalability and flexibility, Ansible has an edge over Cockpit. Ansible has the ability to manage a large number of servers simultaneously and can easily handle complex deployments. It can be used to automate various tasks across different systems, making it suitable for large-scale server management. Cockpit, on the other hand, is more focused on providing a user-friendly interface for individual server management, and its capabilities may be limited when it comes to managing a large number of servers or complex infrastructure.

  3. Agentless vs Agent-based: Ansible is an agentless tool, meaning that it does not require any software to be installed on the managed servers. It communicates with the servers through SSH or WinRM. This makes it easier to manage and deploy configurations, as no extra software needs to be installed or maintained on the target servers. Cockpit, however, relies on an agent-based approach and requires the installation of the Cockpit software on the servers that need to be managed. This may require additional effort for installation and maintenance, especially in large-scale deployments.

  4. Scripted vs Graphical Interface: Ansible is primarily a command-line tool and is often used through the terminal. Administrators use scripts and playbooks to automate tasks and manage configurations. Cockpit, on the other hand, provides a graphical user interface (GUI) that can be accessed through a web browser. This makes it easier for users who are not familiar with command-line interfaces to manage servers and perform administrative tasks.

  5. Community and Ecosystem: Ansible has a large and active community, with a wide range of community-created modules and playbooks available for various server management tasks. This makes it easier to find solutions and get support from the community. Cockpit, although it has a smaller community compared to Ansible, is still actively maintained and has its own ecosystem of plugins and extensions that can enhance its functionality.

  6. Platform Support: Ansible supports a wide range of operating systems and platforms, including major Linux distributions, macOS, and Windows. It can be used to manage both on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure. Cockpit, on the other hand, is primarily focused on Linux-based systems and is tightly integrated with distributions such as CentOS, Fedora, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

In Summary, Ansible is a declarative configuration management tool that offers scalability, agentless management, command-line interface, a large community, and broad platform support. Meanwhile, Cockpit is a web-based graphical interface for server management that focuses on individual server management, agent-based management, graphical user interface, a smaller community, and primarily supports Linux-based systems.

Advice on Ansible and Cockpit
Needs advice
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)

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

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 Cockpit
  • 284
  • 210
    Great configuration
  • 199
  • 176
  • 155
    Easy to learn
  • 69
  • 55
    Doesn't get in the way of getting s--- done
  • 35
    Makes sense
  • 30
    Super efficient and flexible
  • 27
  • 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
  • 4
    Because SSH
  • 4
    Procedural or declarative, or both
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 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
  • 3
    Flexible and plays nicely with any frontend
  • 3
    Easy for Content Managers to understand and use
  • 3
    Open Source
  • 2
    Fast & lightweight
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
    Self hosted

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Cons of Ansible
Cons of Cockpit
  • 8
  • 5
    Hard to install
  • 3
    Doesn't Run on Windows
  • 3
  • 3
    Backward compatibility
  • 2
    No immutable infrastructure
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    - No public GitHub repository available -

    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 Cockpit?

    An API-driven CMS without forcing you to make compromises in how you implement your site. The CMS for developers. Manage content like collections, regions, forms and galleries which you can reuse anywhere on your website.

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    What companies use Ansible?
    What companies use Cockpit?
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    What tools integrate with Ansible?
    What tools integrate with Cockpit?
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      What are some alternatives to Ansible and Cockpit?
      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 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 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.
      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.
      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