ReleaseEngineering/How To/Use Ansible for AdHoc Updates

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Ansible is an orchestration/configuration management system written in Python. Since we already have Puppet in place for configuration management, RelEng will only care about Ansible's orchestration oriented features. Since Ansible has better support for our EC2 use cases, it is the preferred tool for all future non-puppet work (and fabric is deprecated).

You will want to use ansible for:

  • Quickly running a command against all ec2 instances
  • Testing changes against a subset of all hosts
  • Gathering data on an ad hoc basis (grepping logs for instance)
  • any new automation development

Reasons to use Ansible:

  • It has lots of nice builtin modules (see the [docs])
  • You can define orchestration tasks in a repeatable, clean, way via writing them as a playbook (YAML)
  • It gives our operational scripts (for killing machines, applying common fixes, etc...) a common framework, allowing users (other than the original author) to understand them more easily

How To:

Set it up locally:

1.) Make sure you have AWS creds, and the AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY and AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID environment variables set

2.) pip install ansible

3.) git clone

-optional but highly recommended-

4.) set the environment variable ANSIBLE_HOST_KEY_CHECKING=False to prevent prompts for adding machines to your known hosts

5.) use ssh-agent to prevent needing to type your passcode thousands of times >.<

Run an ad-hoc command:

These commands should be run from within the build-ansible directory.

Add a file "/tmp/foo" to every tst-linux64 host: ansible -u root -i -a "touch /tmp/foo" tst-linux64

Remove the file: ansible -u root -i -a "rm /tmp/foo" tst-linux64

Similarly, replace tst-linux64 with tst-linux32, try-linux32, etc...

Run a shell script:

From the same, local, directory as ansible -u root -i -m script -a ./ tst-linux64

Run checkconfig:

ansible-playbook -i checkconfig.yml

To limit this to certain hosts or classes you can do this:

ansible-playbook -i checkconfig.yml -l build

To see which hosts would be impacted:

ansible-playbook -i checkconfig.yml --list-hosts -l build