Ansible is one of the most common IT automation tools in the industry. It is offered by Red Hat and comes with an array of features. This tool comes in handy in running playbooks for continuous deployments and managing configurations, among many other tasks. So, in case you are scheduled to be interviewed for an Ansible-related job, we have something for you. This article will look at some of the most common Ansible interview questions you will ever encounter. Carefully look at the questions and think about the best answers. Take a look at the following:
1. Can You Tell Us How Ansible Works?
Ansible is a set of several modules, plug-ins and playbooks that work together as an automation tool. The modules have small codes that are easily executed and thus work as starting points for task building. The plug-ins are specialized modules used for logging purposes. They run on the main control machines. Lastly, playbooks define the workflow or the required steps for different processes.
2. Mention All The Features Of Ansible
Ansible has six main features that it depends on for its working framework. First, it is agentless, meaning it lacks any software or a managing agent. It is also built on top of Python, a language that is easy to learn. Other features include passwordless network authentication that makes it secure and easy to set up push architecture, meaning that it pushes small codes to the configure, easier set up that is easy to learn given that it uses Python, and the ability to manage inventory.
3. Ansible Comes With Two Modules. Can You Shed Light On Them?
Ansible modules can independently run given tasks since they function as standalone scripts. They are often used by Ansible playbooks and consist of core and extras modules. The core modules are maintained by Ansible itself and therefore come pre-installed, while the extra modules are often shipped, even though they may be disabled in the future.
4. Mention The 2 Ansible Inventories
Ansible has two inventory types, namely static inventory, and dynamic inventory. Static inventory consists of managed hosts declared under a certain host group by hostnames or IP addresses in a plain text file. On the other hand, dynamic inventory refers to scripts written by a programming language or through plug-ins. These are normally used in a cloud setup, given that static inventory fails in such an environment due to a change in IP address once the virtual server starts and stops again.
6. Mention The Differences Between Ansible And Puppet
Ansible and Puppet have three main differences: setup, availability, management, and scheduling. On availability, Ansible generally comes with secondary backup nodes, while Puppet has several master nodes. On setup, Ansible is easier to set up than Puppet, given its client-server architecture. It also relies on the Puppet DSL language, which comes with the declarative language. On management, Puppet depends on the client who is required to perform configuration from the server, while Ansible has a server pushing the nodes. Lastly, when it comes to scheduling, Puppet uses an agent that polls every 30 minutes, a future that you will only get if you pay for Ansible.
6. Mention The Ansible Tower And Its Features
Redhat offers the Ansible Tower, which acts as an enterprise-level solution. This tower offers a web-based console and REST API that manages Ansible over different teams in an organization. Some of the features of the Ansible Tower include workflow edit, real-time analysis, remote execution of commands, and audit trail. Some of the not-so-common features include notification integration, CLI, and job scheduling.
7. Can You Explain The Most Common Ansible Tower Features In Detail
The most common Ansible tower features are real-time analysis, workflow editing, audit trailing, and remote execution of commands. On workflow editing, this automation tool allows users to set up several dependencies or run several playbooks to be simultaneously maintained by different teams. On real-time analysis, one can easily monitor the status of a play or task and even check whatever is running next. Ansible allows users to run commands to different hosts in the inventory through the tower for remote execution of commands. Lastly, the audit trail feature guarantees tracking logs and a quick reset if a system fails or something negative happens.
8. Define The Limitations Of Ansible Synchronize
Ansible Synchronize is one of the most powerful modules in this automation tool. It is used in a playbook and is quite similar to resync. It has features such as compress, delete, and archive found in resync and several limitations. These include: It has to be installed on both target and source systems, it has limitations related to hard disks, one must handle user permission given that files are accessible as defined by the remote user, and the delegate to function must be specified for a source change from localhost to a different port, and the full path of the destination host location should be given at all times.
9. Walk Us Through How The Ansible Firewalld Module Works
Ansible has a firewall, the Ansible Firewalld, that manages firewall rules in different host machines. It has a similar working mechanism as the Linux Firewalld Damon used to restrict services from ports. However, the Ansible Firewalld is often split into zones and services. The zones are the specific locations where one gets to control services exposed to the local network interface. On the other hand, services are a collection of port and protocol combinations placed in one or more zones for listening purposes.
10. Ansible Wouldn’t Be Used By The Number Of Companies Currently Using It If It Didn’t Have Benefits. Can You Mention Them?
Ansible has several benefits that explain its popularity. It is one of the most common automation tools given its agentless nature, meaning it only needs SSH service while running on target machines. It also depends on Python, which is already installed. Python is one of the most commonly used and strongest programming languages worldwide. Other advantages include: This automation tool requires minimal resources to run, can be easily learned and understood, and has declarative nature.
11. Explain To Us What CD And CI Are
CD and CI are common processes in automation. CD means continuous delivery, while CI is continuous integration in full. These are recommended software development practices for Agile teams. For continuous integration, every software developer working on a given project must schedule daily integrations, giving rise to several integrations. For continuous delivery, everyone in the team is expected to develop software that can be made public anytime. These development practices are common in Ansible, given its powerful infrastructure that can provision target environments and deploy an application.
12. Take Us Through Some Of The Ways Of Testing Ansible Projects
One can test Ansible Projects in several ways. You can choose asserts which creates a copy of the running of the test in alternative programming languages. Asserts will see that your system has reached a given, intended state, allowing you to confirm whether a given task did the job as expected.
You can also use the test mode, which is the surest way of confirming how your processes would proceed without any simulation. However, this method does not cater to commands and scripts used in playbooks and roles. The last method is a manual run where you only need to run the play and later confirm that the system is in the desired state.
13. Explain The Concept Of Configuration Management
Configuration management is the systematic handling of processes and updates that allows a system to maintain its integrity over a given duration. This automation process records all the updates required in a given system, ensuring that the system’s build design and state are well-maintained and functioning properly. It, therefore, helps organizations overcome several challenges.
14. Mention Some Of The Challenges That Configuration Management Can Help An Organization Overcome
Automation may also result in challenges that need to be overcome. Configuration management is one of the best practices for managing such challenges as it helps discover the changes that should be implemented upon changes in user requirements. It also helps to overcome the challenge of replacing a given wrong component due to inaccurate determination of components that need replacements. Other challenges include handling the latest flowed versions by adopting older versions of a given component and implementation updates given the changes in requirements since the most recent implementation.
15. What Makes Ansible Outstanding?
Ansible stands out from the other automation tools due to its features. First, it is simple given that it uses a straightforward syntax known as a playbook. It is also powerful and flexible, allowing users to orchestrate a given application’s environment without necessarily deploying it. Other outstanding features are its efficiency and agentless nature. On efficiency, this automation tool has modules that form the basic building blocks for a given software. Its stateless nature means it lacks agents, software, or any additional firewall port installed on client systems or hosts.
16. What Are The Components Of Ansible?
Even though Ansible has several components, the main one is its automation engine. It guarantees cloud services, a configuration management database, and users that handle different playbooks for the execution of the automation engine. Other components are inventories, modules, plug-ins, APIs, hosts, playbooks, networking, and CMBD. The most significant component is the cloud which refers to a network of several remote servers that store, process, and manage data. They are hosted on the internet, making them better than local servers that can crash. The hosts are the machines to be automated and normally include Linux and Windows.
17. Walk Us Through How You Would Install This Automation Tool On A Centos System
There are two main steps to installing Ansible on a CentOS System. You first need to set up the EPEL repository, an open-source and community-based project that offers several useful software packages for the distribution of Linux. These include RHEL, CentOS, and Scientific Linux. It can only be enabled using a specific command, given that it cannot be obtained in the default yum repositories. The next step is to install the automation tool using the right command.
18. Contrast Ansible With Chef
To compare Ansible with Chef, one needs to focus on their availability, management, scalability, ease of set up, pricing nodes, configuration language, and interoperability. Both are highly available and scalable, making them some of the best options in the market. However, Chef is harder to set up given the steps and processes involved. On the other hand, you only need the right commands for Ansible installation. Chef is also costly as you are expected to part with close to $14000 while Ansible costs $10000. Furthermore, these two automation tools differ in the configuration language used. While Ansible uses YAML, built on Python, Chef depends on Ruby.
19. Define What A Variable Is In Ansible And Provide The Differences Between A Variable Name And An Environmental Variable
Ansible variables are added to values for playbook computing purposes. They also support condition use. Variable names are quite different from environmental variables. First, you must add strings to create variable names, while you only need existing variables for access to environmental variables. Adding strings guarantees the easy creation of several variable names, while for environmental variables, you need to refer to an advanced Ansible playbook. One must also use the ipv4 address die variable names, which is not required for environmental variables.
20. Define What Roles Are In Ansible. What Makes Them Different From Playbooks?
Ansible roles can be defined as levels of abstractions for organizing playbooks. They support the existence of reusable and independent variables, files, templates, tasks, and modules, which are generally automatically loaded in playbooks. A playbook is a collection of different roles with specialized functionalities. The difference between thus lies in the fact that playbooks are a collection of roles while roles are independent creations.
21. Ansible Supports AWS. Can You Mention All The Ways It Does?
Ansible Supports AWS thanks to its wide range of modules. These modules include virtual private cloud known as VPC, simple storage service commonly known as S3, security groups, identity access manager known as IAM, elastic cloud compute generally known as EC2, elasticate, cloud watch, and cloud trail. Others include autoscaling groups, cloud formation, DynamoDB, Lambda, and relational database service, popular as RDS. All these modules play an important role in ensuring AWS support by Ansible.
22. What Are Call-Back Plug-Ins? Can One Customize Theirs?
An Ansible plug-in is tasked with controlling the visible output obtained whenever we run CMD programs. Such Plug-ins are also capable of adding additional and several outputs. A good example is the log plays call-back that records playbook events into log files. The main call-back also comes in handy in communicating different playbook failures via mail. Ansible also allows its users to add custom call-back Plug-ins if they follow the right steps. They are often required to drop the specific plug-in into the right directory or any call-back directory sources configured in Ansible. cfg.
23. Define The Cons Of Ansible
Ansible also has its fair share of disadvantages that every user should be wary of and find ways to navigate. It offers minimal enterprise support experience, given that the company has targeted medium and fairly large organizations for some time. Despite being around for some time, it has one of the smallest developer communities. You won’t find as many online materials touching on troubleshooting and self-help. Ansible does not also offer support to Windows despite working with Unix, Window Nodes, and Linux. We can oy hope that future versions will adequately support windows.
24. Your Resume Says That You Have Used Both Puppet And Ansible. Which One Do You Believe Offers Better Support?
Having used both Ansible and Puppet, I can confidently say that I love Puppet’s support more than Ansible. Puppet has been in the market for some time, having a seven-year head start on Ansible. It has a large community that can help in troubleshooting and self-help information. Puppet has two support portals, both for standard and premium versions. You can also join the different events or channels and learn more about the automation tool. However, that is not to say that Ansible rarely offers support. It does, just that it does not have a community as large as Puppet; therefore, it might be quite hard to obtain self-help. You will also get just a few troubleshooting resources online.
25. What Do You Think One Should Look Out For When Getting An Automation Tool?
There are several things to look out for in an automation tool. One must ensure that they understand their project requirements and identify the key criteria suitable for given projects. Before settling on one, you should also look at the price and user reviews. The right automation tool means increased business, which we all want.
These are some of the Ansible interview questions you are likely to encounter. Make sure you get acquainted with the technical aspects of this automation tool, going by the questions we have covered. We wish you all the best.