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ALA Installation Scripts

This project contains Ansible playbooks for setting up ALA components on Ubuntu 16 machines and above. This project includes a playbook for setting up an ALA demo.


Ansible: The current supported version is: 2.10.3

The playbooks and roles in this repository have been developed and tested against the above version. Typically you need to install ansible in your computer or in the computer you'll use to deploy from.

NOTE: many linux packages have an older version of Ansible (1.7 or even 1.5). You will need to update your packages and upgrade ansible first.

For APT:

$ sudo apt-get install software-properties-common python-dev git python-pip
$ sudo pip install setuptools
$ sudo pip install -I ansible==[version]

where [version] is the supported version listed above.

For OSX:

$ sudo easy_install pip
$ sudo pip install -I ansible==[version]

where [version] is the supported version listed above.

If you see this error:

ERROR: apache2_module is not a legal parameter in an Ansible task or handler.

then you have an older version of Ansible.

Operating System

These playbooks and roles are currently well tested on Ubuntu 18.04. We are also starting to use Ubuntu 20.04 but it's a work in progress. We have less tested other distributions like Redhat or even Debian as the big majority of our production deployments run over Ubuntu.

Setup a Living Atlas

A Living Atlas (LA) can be typically deployed using these ALA ansible playbooks with some custom ansible inventories with information about your LA site (like your domain, organization name, name of the servers to use, contact email, and a big etcetera).

There are some helping tools to generate these inventories from scratch and maintain a LA portal:

  • The new Living Atlases Toolkit, a toolkit that facilitates the installation, maintenance and monitor of Living Atlases portals. You can test a non-functional demo here.
  • The Living Atlas Generator, a web tool assistant to help you in these initial steps (now superseded by the previous LA Toolkit).
  • Or if you prefer the command line, the yeoman living-atlas generator., that is used by the previous one tools too.

These tools also generate some ansible-playbook wrapper to deploy our main playbooks without too much pain.

The LA Quick Start Guide gives you a broad view of the prerequisites and post-intall steps you need in order to setup a production LA portal.

Setup the Living Atlas demo with Vagrant

Below are some instructions for setting up the Living Atlas demo with Ansible & Vagrant on your local machine or laptop using a demo simple inventory.

1. Vagrant

Vagrant can be used to test ansible playbooks on your local machine. To use this, you will need to install VirtualBox and Vagrant. We recommend using vagrant version 2.0.4. Earlier versions of vagrant will not work with the VagrantFile in this repository.

For Debian/Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get install virtualbox virtualbox-dkms virtualbox-qt
$ cd ~/Downloads
$ wget
$ sudo dpkg -i vagrant_2.0.4_x86_64.deb
$ vagrant plugin install vagrant-disksize

The vagrant/ubuntu-xenial directory contains configurations that can used with VirtualBox to bring up a VH for deploying against.

This is included only to simplify local testing, but any server Ubuntu 16.x could be used.

To create a virtual machine with vagrant:

$ cd vagrant/ubuntu-xenial
$ vagrant up

Double check IP address in Vagrantfile

The first execution of this downloads the Ubuntu image which can take 20 minutes or more. The ALA sample inventories (in the ansible/inventories/vagrant directory) refer to the VM as 'vagrant1' rather than the IP address. For this to work, you will need to add the following entries to you /etc/hosts file (alternatively, you can edit the inventory file and replace 'vagrant1' with the IP address of your VM).  vagrant1

Once ready you can ssh to your VM like so:

$ vagrant ssh

with password vagrant.

If your system cannot find a route to, you can ssh via ssh -p 2223 vagrant@localhost and use ifconfig -a to see what your virtual machine thinks is happening.

You need to disable strict host key checking in ssh, you will need to create or only add the folling entries to you ~/.ssh/config file (alternatively, you can configure this).

Host *
    StrictHostKeyChecking no

You may get public key denied error, then you can try:

ssh vagrant@ -i ~/.vagrant.d/insecure_private_key

If your system cannot find a route to, you can ssh via ssh -p 2223 vagrant@localhost and use ifconfig -a to see what your virtual machine thinks is happening.

2. Ansible

An Ansible inventory file is included that allows for running against a Vagrant configured VM (see inventories/vagrant/demo-vagrant). Other inventories can easily be crafted to match other infrastructure.

Note: any application deployed as part of a playbook requires the following two variables to be defined in the inventory: <applicationName>_hostname variable and <applicationName>_context_path. See the readme file in the ansible directory for more information.

To run Ansible against your vagrant instance you need to locate the correct key file (e.g. the default insecure vagrant file if using the Vagrant config for testing):

$ cd ansible
$ ansible-playbook -i inventories/vagrant/demo-vagrant ala-demo.yml --private-key ~/.vagrant.d/insecure_private_key --user vagrant --become

Once completed successfully you can view the demo on

Installing the ALA demo on EC2 or other cloud providers

There is an inventory you can use to setup the demo on a cloud provider here. An Ubuntu 18 instance with 15GB of RAM and 4 CPUs is recommended. The scripts where tested on 30th April 2015 and took approximately 20 mins to run on a EC2 instance.

Here are the steps to run with this inventory:

  • Create your Ubuntu 18 instance. Make sure your machine is open on ports 22, 80 and 443.

  • Add the following to your /etc/hosts file on the machine your are running ansible from (e.g. your laptop):	ala-demo

You'll need to replace "" with the IP address of your newly created Ubuntu 18 instance.

  • Run the following:
ansible-playbook --private-key ~/.ssh/MyPrivateKey.pem --user ubuntu --become -i ansible/inventories/living-atlas ansible/ala-demo.yml
That worked, now what do I do ?

Installing other Vagrant playbooks

The inventories/vagrant/ directory contains sample inventories for most playbooks that will work against a Ubuntu Vagrant virtual machine. To use these inventories, add an entry for vagrant1 and to your hosts file, or edit the inventory file and replace the hostnames and URLs, then run

ansible-playbook -i inventories/vagrant/<inventoryFile> <playbook>.yml --private-key ~/.vagrant.d/insecure_private_key --user vagrant --become

The inventory files can easily be modified to work against other virtual machines or servers (e.g. Nectar or CSIRO) simply by modifying the server and host names appropriately.

Notes for different environments (CSIRO/Nectar)

There are some minor differences for running these playbooks against Nectar VMs, CSIRO IM&T VMs and Vagrant VMs. In each case you will need to create an inventory file that points to your VM(s).

For IM&T virtual machines:

$ ansible-playbook -i inventories/demo ala-demo.yml --user <CSIRO_IDENT> --become --ask-pass --ask-become-pass

For Nectar VMs:

$ ansible-playbook -i inventories/sandbox-nectar sandbox.yml --private-key <PATH_TO_YOUR_PEM_FILE> --user root

If you do not have private key of root, you can use your own id as follows: Make sure you have sudo permission

ansible-playbook -i ~/src/ansible-inventories/sandbox-nectar sandbox.yml --private-key <private key path> --user <id> --become --ask-become-pass

Note Nectar VMs will require an edit of the /etc/hosts file on the VM so that it recognises its own host name.

For Vagrant VMs:

$ ansible-playbook -i ansible/inventories/ala-demo ansible/ala-demo.yml --private-key ~/.vagrant.d/insecure_private_key --user vagrant --become

For EC2 instances:

$ ansible-playbook -i inventories/solr-amazon solr-standalone.yml --private-key ~/.ssh/dmartin-amazon.pem --user ubuntu --become

Required inventory properties

Most ALA playbooks will require at a minimum the following set of inventory properties:

  • <applicationName>_hostname - The hostname portion of the url used to access the deployed service (e.g. '' in the url
  • <applicationName>_context_path - The context path portion of the url used to access the deployed service (e.g. 'myApp' in the url Note: this property should be blank for the context root, NOT a slash).
  • auth_base_url - The HTTPS URL of the authentication server (e.g.
  • auth_cas_url - The HTTPS URL of the CAS application on the authentication server (e.g.