Ansible

Articles about the automation and provisioning tool Ansible.

Adding iptables Rules With Ansible

16th February 2014 - 4 minutes read time

Many systems and applications require certain access to certain ports and protocols. When installing these systems using Ansible it is necessary to also open up the needed ports so that the systems can function correctly. As there is no iptables module in Ansible the shell command is needed to add the iptables rules.

As an example, here is a task that adds a iptables rule to allow Apache to communicate on port 80.

Ansible SSH Setup Playbook

14th January 2014 - 7 minutes read time

It is best practice to use Ansible with SSH keys in order to create the SSH connections to the servers. This does require a little bit of extra setup before hand in order to ensure that the server can be reached by Ansible via SSH keys alone. As I have been doing this quite a lot recently I decided to package the setup steps into an Ansible playbook.

When you first set up a Linux server you will find that you are usually given root access, and it is up to you to configure it after the fact in order to have an administrator user with the correct access. With this root user we will use Ansible to log into the host, create a new user, setup SSH key access and then alter the sudoers file so that the new user can perform Ansible tasks.

Assuming that the host we want to configure has an IP address of 10.0.0.1 we can create an inventory file that looks like the following.

Ansible: The Automation Engine

23rd December 2013 - 14 minutes read time

Ansible is a automation and provisioning tool that makes it easy to configure systems with the needed software, configuration options and even content. It is a command line tool, written in Python, that uses SSH connections to run these actions. This means that all you need to do is have a viable SSH connection to a machine and Ansible will run any actions you want to run. Ansible can either run single commands or use what is called a playbook to run several commands. Ansible playbooks are written in YAML, which makes understanding them quite easy.

I have tried to use other provisioning tools like Puppet and Chef in the past, but these have always been difficult to get to grips with. When I started using Ansible it wasn't more than 20 minutes before I was installing and configuring software on a server. The YAML files that Ansible uses makes it easy to see what is going on and have enough features to allow for some quite complex configurations.