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June 22, 2017

British Army recruits Red Hat & Ansible for private cloud migration

Ansible used to improve the management of patching and system reconfiguration.

By James Nunns

The British Army has turned to Red Hat and Ansible as part of its migration from a private cloud environment.

The move will help the Army’s Information Application Services (IAS) team to deliver large corporate applications, hosting and web services that provide support to military families, veterans and more.

Red Hat and Ansible were chosen after the IAS ran into issues with its legacy stack that caused unplanned downtime for upgrades, and delayed updates.

This resulted in the British Army migrating to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its move from a physical infrastructure to a software-defined data centre. The makeup of the IT estate for the British Army now sees it consist of five database servers and two application servers, all of which have a central spine of a clustered file system. This system uses the Reslient Storage add-on for RHEL.

Read more: Red Hat CEO on being an open source zealot

The Ansible part of the deployment focuses on management, with the Army deploying Ansible Tower by Red Hat. Initially it had been using the agentless automation platform to automate the installation of regular patches and configuration updates, but it has expanded its Ansible Tower use and now uses it to provide these features for urgent requirements.

Red Hat

Lt Col. Dorian Seabrook, Head of Operations, IAS Branch, British Army, said: “We want to deliver software quicker and more efficiently to meet the end users’ requirements and we absolutely made the right choice with Ansible. It works for us on a number of levels, and the adoption throughout the organization is now starting to really take hold.

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“Previously, communicating the delivery timescales for large projects could be quite stressful. Now, in most cases, we’re delivering quicker than the users can actually absorb the changes. Our users are just staggered by the agility and the turnaround time and what we can now offer them.”

The implementation of Ansible has reportedly accelerated the Army’s pace of change by 75%.

Joe Fitzgerald, vice president, Management, Red Hat, said: “The British Army, like many organizations, is under constant pressure to deliver software and services quickly with no downtime. An increasingly large challenge IT organizations are facing is to modernize software development and IT operations while still operating and maintaining traditional applications and infrastructure.

Read more: The Great OpenStack Delusion – how open source cloud infrastructure can overcome a crisis

“To keep up with the requests from its users, the British Army decided to enhance its DevOps capabilities by deploying Ansible. At the press of a button, Ansible Tower can deliver software and updates to the correct places, which can lead to fewer errors and help eliminate unplanned downtime.”

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