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Ansible Methods for Automating Datadog Deployment

Take control of sprawling deployments and optimize efficiency with ease
min read
Bill Gilleran
April 11, 2024

When it comes to IT infrastructure management and automation, Ansible stands out as a versatile and powerful tool, offering various methods to manage and deploy Datadog agents across an organization's systems. From just getting started with Ansible Core to more advanced methods such as Ansible-Navigator and the AWX/Ansible Automation Platform, Ansible is ready to cater to the different needs and scenarios within the automation landscape of various organizations. 

Ansible Core

Ansible Core represents the foundation of Ansible's automation capabilities and is known for its simplicity, ease of use, and the vast support from the Ansible community. Through Ansible Core, users can leverage a wide array of community-driven collections and roles, including those for installing and configuring Datadog agents. Despite its many advantages, Ansible Core primarily operates through a command-line interface (CLI), which might pose a learning curve for users unfamiliar with CLI environments. Additionally, as the scale of automation expands, manual scaling efforts may be required to ensure the control node can efficiently manage an increasing number of target hosts


Ansible-Navigator introduces a command-line graphical user interface (GUI) that significantly enhances user interaction by providing an interactive, text-based interface for navigating and managing Ansible content. This tool is particularly beneficial for its ability to run Ansible playbooks inside containers, ensuring consistent environments across systems and offering a streamlined experience for users leveraging container technology. However, a notable limitation of Ansible-Navigator is its incomplete support for all commands and arguments available in Ansible Core, which could restrict users who rely on specific Ansible Core functionalities. Despite this, the tool's command-line GUI and focus on containerized environments mark it as a valuable addition for those looking to modernize their Ansible workflows, with the expectation that its compatibility with Ansible Core will continue to improve.

AWX/Ansible Automation Platform

AWX and the Ansible Automation Platform (AAP) offer a comprehensive solution for automating IT infrastructure, with AWX serving as the open-source upstream project for Ansible Tower, and AAP being the enterprise version. Both provide a web-based interface, making automation tasks more accessible to those who prefer not to use the command line. AAP includes additional features and support, catering to large organizations with complex automation needs, and is designed to scale and manage intricate automation workflows across numerous hosts. A significant advantage of using AWX/AAP is the ability to use playbooks from remote repositories such as GitHub or Azure DevOps (ADO), facilitating the integration of version-controlled automation scripts into the deployment process. This capability enhances collaboration and ensures consistency across environments. However, while AWX is free, AAP is a paid product, which may not be justifiable for all organizations. Additionally, the enterprise features and web interface of AAP add complexity and may require more resources to manage effectively.

In conclusion, the choice between Ansible Core, Ansible-Navigator, and AWX/Ansible Automation Platform depends on an organization's specific requirements, expertise, and resources. Each method offers unique advantages, from the simplicity and community support of Ansible Core to the modernized, containerized environment of Ansible-Navigator and the scalable, feature-rich AWX/Ansible Automation Platform. Regardless of the chosen method, the Datadog Ansible collection remains a valuable asset for automating the deployment and configuration of Datadog agents, ensuring efficient monitoring across an organization's infrastructure.

If you want to explore Ansible in your environments further or need a better understanding, contact us today.

Written by
Bill Gilleran
A Boston-based engineer and father of two.My interests outside of RapDev include rooting for the Boston Bruins, Red Sox, and New England Patriots, home-labbing to stay ahead in technology, and woodworking as a creative outlet.
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