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Automated Patching with Ansible and the TekStream MSP

By: Karla Broadrick | Technical Architect & Team Lead

 

TekStream is excited to roll out the use of Ansible for automated patching of customer environments managed under the Managed Services Program (MSP).

What is Ansible?

Ansible is an IT automation engine.  It can be used to automate any number of repetitive system administration tasks such as infrastructure provisioning, configuration management, task automation, and application deployment.  It can be utilized in both On-Prem and cloud environments.  Instructions are organized into roles and playbooks, allowing flexibility for tasks to be performed based on a set of input parameters.  The setup for Ansible is simple and doesn’t rely on an agent on remote hosts.  All of this leads to a great degree of flexibility in how and where Ansible is used to automate every day IT tasks.

How is TekStream utilizing Ansible?

TekStream has created an Ansible playbook that can be used to automate OS and application patching in customer’s environments.  The playbook automatically creates backups, downloads designated patches, shuts down the application, applies both Windows and Linux OS patches, applies WebLogic and other Oracle patches and reboots the host as needed.

The TekStream Ansible solution for patching is targeted at OS patching and Oracle WebCenter and WebLogic application patching, but has the flexibility to be extended into other areas.  TekStream uses this solution in our MSP customer environments.

Benefits:

The benefits to TekStream MSP customers of using Ansible for patching are many including

  • Consistency: Patches are applied the same every time in every environment. This means less mistakes are made and ensures uniformity and quality that our MSP customers can rely on.
  • Time savings: Automation saves time. No longer is there a need to manually log into each server, download and transfer patches, apply each one, and wait in between each step.  With the TekStream Ansible solution for patching, a single command kicks off the entire process.  Our MSP customers can rest assured that their downtime is minimized.
  • Scalability: This automated solution lends itself to be scaled quite easily.  Whether you have a single server environment or a large cluster, the Ansible playbook can be utilized.  The servers can be patched in parallel, without the bottleneck of required manual intervention.  This means that we are able to patch a large clustered environment with a single period of downtime.
  • Easy knowledge transfer/training: Because Ansible takes care of 99% of the work, there is very little knowledge required to do patching. Once configured for a customer environment, the solution is able to run on its own.  This makes knowledge transfer and training incredibly simple.  It also eliminates the fear of lost knowledge during personnel changes.
  • Reliability: All of the benefits listed above equates to reliability. Your organization can rest assured that patching will be done correctly, every time, and in an acceptable timeframe.
  • Cost Savings: Ansible allows us to do more in less time.  For TekStream MSP customers, this translates to cost savings and allows us to stretch your dollars further.

Interested in streamlining the patching and maintenance of your system?  Contact TekStream to learn about how we can help with Ansible and our MSP program.