Hagai works in Operations at BigPanda.
Ansible is a great automation tool. We use it for server provisioning, application deployments and running maintenance scripts. One problem it does have however, is how (in)convenient it is to run playbooks as opposed to regular shell scripts. Write and run enough Ansible playbooks, and eventually you’ll get tired of the repetitive typing your fingers have to do.
Modeling your production environment correctly is very important for development. Developers need to be able to run and test their code locally for the development process to be efficient, and many times this requires setting up infrastructure that exists in production on their local machines. The basic solution is a simple Vagrant box containing all your infrastructure and application code, like the one we mentioned in our Devbox post.