Red Hat has announced the release of Ansible 2.1. One of the biggest features of the new release of the open source and agentless automation framework for DevOps is support for Microsoft Windows and Azure cloud.\n\n\nTim Cramer, head of Ansible Engineering, Red Hat said in a statement, "By extending Ansible\u2019s capabilities into Microsoft Windows and Azure environments and networking, our users can further expand their automation capabilities into their environment, helping to make their operations as hybrid as their IT.\u201d\n\n\nWith a much broader support for Windows and Azure, Ansible enables users to manage hybrid cloud deployment along with the ability to use Azure's own resource manager functionality. Thanks to the new Windows modules, Ansible users can also manage other Windows functionalities such as file sharing and managing the firewall.\n\n[ Also on CIO.com: Containers vs. virtual machines: How to tell which is the right choice for your enterprise ]\n\nWhile Docker has its own automation tools, Ansible now offers more Docker container capabilities. Red Hat has rewritten the existing Docker modules, in addition to introducing a new module called docker-service. The new module allows use of the Docker Compose tool, which gives users the ability to manage and scale multi-container applications. The new module also lets DevOps embed Docker Compose into broader Ansible playbooks, allowing them to configure the network, operating systems, and deployment infrastructure that lives outside of a container environment.\n\n\nAnsible, which was founded by former Red Hatters, was acquired by Red Hat in October 2015 to bolster the company's stack of technologies for cloud. Depending on the use-case, Ansible competes with other automation and orchestration technologies such as Puppet and Chef.\n\n\nAnsible 2.1 is available on GitHub as well as with all major Linux distributions.