An Introduction to Ansible Playbooks

An Introduction to Ansible Playbooks

Ansible is an open-source tool that uses playbooks to enable configuration management, software provisioning, and application deployment. It is primarily

Ansible is an open-source tool that uses playbooks to enable configuration management, software provisioning, and application deployment. It is primarily written in Python and was released in 2012. Ever since then, it has saved countless hours of often menial work of deploying and maintaining IT infrastructure. Overall, Ansible is very consistent, secure, reliable, and it requires a minimal learning curve. Simply put, Ansible is a powerful tool for automating apps and infrastructure. You can read more about general Ansible information in our recently published article.

What Are Ansible Playbooks?

Ansible Playbooks are sets of “directives” (or plays) that a user can send to a single target server or multiple servers. They are at the heart of Ansible itself and enable automating infrastructure management. Ansible Playbooks offer excellent repeatability and re-usability in managing and deploying simple or complex applications, often on a significant amount of machines. As an analogy, imagine an NBA team using various playbooks they created for specific situations on the game day. Things are similar to IT departments within the company. Ansible Playbooks enable them to deploy multiple “plays” for particular purposes.

Basic Ansible Syntax

Ansible Playbooks are expressed (written) in YAML (Yet Another Markup Language). Ansible creators opted for YAML since it is relatively easy for humans to write it, read it, and understand it (compared to XML or JSON, for example). It is important to note that YAML is a space indented format for representing data. YAML is a strict language, and the file starts with — (3 hyphens). 

Overall, the Ansible playbook is a single YAML file. Inside the playbook, we have individual plays (we can have one or multiple plays in a single playbook file), which define a set of tasks that will be run on servers. In conclusion, a task is an action that will be performed on the target hostname/s (executing a command, installing a package, etc.)

python playbooks

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