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Configuration Management

Ansible Up & Running

Like the book Ansible Configuration Management I reviewed a few days ago, Ansible Up & Running is a short starter book. As the time of this review, the copy of the book I read is still considered to be an early release raw unedited version. This short book, attempts to cover all the basic material needed to effectively use Ansible as quick as possible. Or as I like to call it, "don't tell me your life story, I just want to use your fucking shit".

I personally felt this book was sligthly aimed for developers. Unlike the book Ansible Configuration Management where the examples expected you to use Linux machines, in this book the examples were described using Vagrant instead. Another difference between them, is that this book does a better job describing YAML and its syntax in a much more understandable manner. Which I think is critical given that YAML plays a critical role in Ansible. Additionally this book does an excellent job covering the Jinja2 template system that Ansible uses.

As for the cons, this book hardly mentions the use of roles in Ansible. Additionally it doesn't cover anything regarding creating custom modules. Only development topic covered was the creation of a custom dynamic inventory script using Python. Which I don't why the author decided to this, since in my opinion developing custom modules, lookup, var, and filter plugins is a much more important and useful topic for developers and system administrators to have a knowledge of. Also considering that Ansible doesn't have any official documentation regarding developing plugins, this alone would've been an excellent selling point for this book.

Unlike Ansible Configuration Management which PacktPub is charging an arm and a leg for, this e-book can be freely downloaded right now. So get it while it last!
http://www.ansible.com/blog/free-ansible-book

Rating: 3/5

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Ansible Configuration Management

For starters, Ansible is hands down my favorite configuration management tool. Part of the reason why I really like Ansible is its simplicity design and use. So when I noticed this book only had 92 pages, I originally imaged it was a testament to Ansible and saw as a positive thing at first. Sadly, I was wrong. At just 92 pages, this book is extremely short for the topic its covering. While it mentioned the core Ansible functionalities and some modules, it lacked the in depth explaining that I wanted to see. Quite frankly, this is why I buy lots of technical books, because the explanation in them is for the most part more comprehensive than the official documentation. On this case, the official Ansible documentation is fairly straight forward and easy to understand, and perhaps a better choice than purchasing this book. This book will only helpful to anyone who is absolutely brand new to Ansible, and need to learn the basics of it. Thus said, the custom modules chapter which is an advance topic was well covered in this book. With two examples on how to write a simple module using the shorthand variable/value output in Bash and using the native AnsibleModule Python API.

On a side note, in my opinion Packt Publishing should have labeled this book as a "Starter" series book, since it's essentially an Ansible pocket reference. Additionally, as of the time of this writing they are charging $20.99 for the e-book and $34.99 for both the dead-tree and digital copy. This is ridiculous given the length of the book. I bought the book during a %50 discount special, and even then I feel is quit a lot for the material covered.

Chapter 1: Getting Started with Ansible
Chapter 2: Simple Playbooks
Chapter 3: Advance Playbooks
Chapter 4: Larger Projects
Chapter 5: Custom Modules

Rating: 3/5
Ansible Configuration Management

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