Many server automation and orchestration solutions, like Puppet and Chef, rely on a mixture of solution-specific coding, Web UIs, and command-line tools to make the magic happen. Ansible is different. Although a Web UI is available, Ansible plays very well on the Unix admin's home turf: general scripting and the command line.
Ansible is an extremely flexible open source toolkit that makes it very easy for Unix hands to get started with automated configuration management and orchestration. It uses a push method of configuring client systems, so everything stems from a master server. And to the powerful CLI, you can add a commercially licensed Web UI to provide for delegated administration and provisioning.
[ Review: Chef cooks up configuration management | Review: Puppet Enterprise 3.0 pulls more strings | Puppet or Chef: The configuration management dilemma | Subscribe to InfoWorld's Data Center newsletter to stay on top of the latest developments. ]