Ansible Best Practices to Follow [Tips & Tricks]

Ansible Best Practices to Follow [Tips & Tricks]

ยท

5 min read

๐Ÿ“ Introduction:

Ansible is an open-source tool used for configuration management, application deployment, and automation. It is designed to simplify the process of IT automation and can be used to manage both on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure. However, as with any tool, there are best practices to follow to ensure that you get the most out of Ansible. In this blog, we will discuss some of the best practices for using Ansible, along with code snippets that demonstrate these practices.

๐Ÿ“ Best Practices are:

๐Ÿ”น Use Ansible Roles


One of the best practices for using Ansible is to use roles. Roles are a way to organize your playbook into reusable units of work. This makes it easier to maintain your playbook over time and to share your work with others. Below is an example of how to create an Ansible role:

ansible-galaxy init my_role

๐Ÿ”น Use Ansible Vault


Ansible Vault is a built-in feature that allows you to encrypt sensitive data such as passwords and API keys. This is important because it ensures that your sensitive data is not visible to anyone who shouldn't have access to it. Below is an example of how to use Ansible Vault:

ansible-vault create vars/secrets.yml

๐Ÿ”น Use Dynamic Inventory


Ansible allows you to use dynamic inventory to manage your infrastructure. This means that instead of hard-coding the inventory in a file, Ansible can dynamically discover the hosts to be managed. This is useful when you have a large and constantly changing infrastructure. Below is an example of how to use dynamic inventory:

ansible -i my_ec2.py all -m ping

๐Ÿ”น Use Ansible Playbook Conventions


Ansible Playbook conventions are a set of guidelines that you can follow to ensure that your playbook is readable and maintainable. These conventions include things like using meaningful variable names, using comments to explain what tasks are done, and organizing your tasks in a logical order. Below is an example of how to follow Ansible Playbook conventions:

---
- name: Install Apache
  hosts: all
  become: true
  vars:
    apache_version: "2.4.6"
  tasks:
    - name: Install Apache packages
      yum:
        name:
          - httpd
          - mod_ssl
        state: latest
      become: true
      tags:
        - packages

    - name: Copy Apache config
      template:
        src: templates/httpd.conf.j2
        dest: /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf
      become: true
      notify:
        - restart apache
      tags:
        - config

  handlers:
    - name: restart apache
      service:
        name: httpd
        state: restarted
      become: true

๐Ÿ”นUse Ansible Vault to encrypt sensitive data


Ansible Vault is a built-in feature that allows you to encrypt sensitive data such as passwords and API keys. This is important because it ensures that your sensitive data is not visible to anyone who shouldn't have access to it. Below is an example of how to use Ansible Vault:

ansible-vault create vars/secrets.yml

๐Ÿ”น Use Ansible Galaxy to find and share roles


Ansible Galaxy is a repository for Ansible roles. You can use it to find roles that other people have created or to share your roles with the community. This is a great way to avoid reinventing the wheel and to benefit from the collective knowledge of the Ansible community. Below is an example of how to use Ansible Galaxy:

ansible-galaxy search mysql

๐Ÿ”น Use Ansible Galaxy to find and share roles (contd)


Ansible Galaxy is not only a repository for roles, but it also provides a platform for role versioning, automated testing, and sharing. You can create your roles, and test and share them with the community, all from within Ansible Galaxy. Below is an example of how to use Ansible Galaxy for role creation:

ansible-galaxy init my_role

๐Ÿ”น Use Ansible Tower for enterprise-level automation


Ansible Tower is a web-based UI and dashboard that provides enterprise-level automation capabilities for Ansible. It allows you to centralize and control your automation tasks and provides advanced features such as role-based access control, job scheduling, and notification systems. Below is an example of how to use Ansible Tower:

ansible-tower-cli job launch --job-template "Deploy Web App" --extra-vars "version=1.0"

๐Ÿ”น Use Ansible Inventory to manage hosts and groups


Ansible Inventory is a configuration file that defines the hosts and groups that Ansible will manage. It allows you to organize your infrastructure and target specific groups of hosts with your tasks. Below is an example of how to use Ansible Inventory:

[web]
web1.example.com
web2.example.com

[db]
db1.example.com
db2.example.com

[all:vars]
ansible_user=centos

๐Ÿ”น Use Ansible Facts to gather information about hosts


Ansible Facts are variables that contain information about the host being managed. They can be used to gather information about the host's hardware, operating system, and other properties. Below is an example of how to use Ansible Facts:

---
- name: Gather facts about the host
  hosts: all
  tasks:
    - name: Print the hostname
      debug:
        var: ansible_hostname

    - name: Print the OS
      debug:
        var: ansible_distribution

๐Ÿ”น Use Ansible Templates for configuration files


Ansible Templates are files that contain variables and can be used to generate configuration files on the target host. This allows you to create configuration files that are specific to each host, without having to manually create each file. Below is an example of how to use Ansible Templates:

---
- name: Create the config file
  hosts: web
  tasks:
    - name: Generate the config file from the template
      template:
        src: templates/nginx.conf.j2
        dest: /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
      notify:
        - restart nginx

  handlers:
    - name: restart nginx
      service:
        name: nginx
        state: restarted

๐Ÿ“ Conclusion:

These are some of the best practices for using Ansible. By following these practices, you can ensure that your playbook is maintainable, secure, and scalable. Ansible is a powerful tool for automation, and by using these practices, you can get the most out of it.

Ansible is a powerful tool for automation that allows you to manage your infrastructure and applications at scale. However, to get the most out of it, it is important to follow best practices. By following the best practices mentioned above, you can ensure that your Ansible playbook is maintainable, secure, and scalable. These practices include using roles and playbooks, using variables and templates, managing hosts and groups with inventory, using Ansible Galaxy to find and share roles, using Ansible Tower for enterprise-level automation, using Ansible Facts to gather information about hosts, and using Ansible Templates for configuration files. By following these practices, you can ensure that your Ansible playbook is efficient, easy to maintain, and secure.

๐Ÿ“ Hashtags:

#Ansible #Automation #BestPractices #InfrastructureAsCode #DevOps #AnsibleRoles #AnsiblePlaybooks #AnsibleVariables #AnsibleTemplates #AnsibleInventory #AnsibleGalaxy #AnsibleTower #AnsibleFacts #ConfigurationManagement #ScalableAutomation #SecureAutomation #EnterpriseAutomation

Did you find this article valuable?

Support Prasad Suman Mohan by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!

ย