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Ansible vs Rundeck: What are the differences?

Ansible and Rundeck are both popular IT automation tools that help to streamline and simplify various operational tasks. Below are the key differences between them:

  1. Architecture: Ansible is a configuration management tool that follows a push-based model. It uses SSH and runs tasks on target hosts directly. On the other hand, Rundeck is a job scheduling tool that adopts a more robust client-server architecture. It leverages the Rundeck server to execute jobs on remote nodes via various plugins or protocols. This fundamental difference in architecture has implications on the scale and complexity of the automation tasks each tool can handle.

  2. Flexibility and Extensibility: Ansible offers a rich set of modules and plugins that allow users to automate a wide range of tasks. It supports a large number of platforms and can be easily extended with custom modules. In contrast, Rundeck is primarily focused on job scheduling and orchestration. While Rundeck provides various plugins to integrate with other tools, it may not have the same level of flexibility and extensibility as Ansible for complex automation scenarios.

  3. Workflow and Orchestration: Ansible provides a powerful and flexible workflow engine that allows users to define complex automation workflows using YAML. It enables tasks to be executed in a specific sequence, with conditions, loops, and error handling. On the other hand, Rundeck offers advanced job scheduling and orchestration capabilities. It allows users to create workflows by defining dependencies between jobs, parallel execution, and controlling the flow of execution based on various conditions.

  4. Ease of Use and Learning Curve: Ansible follows a simple and easy-to-understand YAML-based syntax for creating playbooks and tasks. This makes it relatively easy for beginners to get started with Ansible. Rundeck, on the other hand, has a more complex and feature-rich user interface that may require some learning curve for new users.

  5. Community and Ecosystem: Ansible has a large and thriving community with active contributors and a vast ecosystem of pre-built playbooks, modules, and roles. This makes it easier for users to find solutions, share knowledge, and contribute to the community. Rundeck also has an active community, but it may not have the same level of community support and ecosystem as Ansible.

  6. Scalability and Performance: Ansible is designed to handle large-scale automation tasks efficiently. It supports parallel execution and can manage a large number of nodes simultaneously. Rundeck, being primarily a job scheduler, may have limitations in terms of scalability and performance when it comes to handling a large number of targets or complex workflows.

In summary, Ansible is a versatile open-source automation tool for configuration management and application deployment, emphasizing simplicity and ease of use. Rundeck, on the other hand, is a job scheduling and runbook automation platform designed for managing and orchestrating complex workflows, providing a centralized control point for operations tasks.

Advice on Ansible and Rundeck
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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 Rundeck
  • 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
    Role based access control
  • 3
    Easy to understand
  • 1
    Doesn't need containers

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Cons of Ansible
Cons of Rundeck
  • 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 Rundeck?

    A self-service operations platform used for support tasks, enterprise job scheduling, deployment, and more.

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    What companies use Ansible?
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