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Advanced Linux Ansible Template : Setup Ansible to efficiently manage N Linux VMs

This advanced template deploys N Linux VMs (Ubuntu) and it configures Ansible so you can easily manage all the VMS . Don't suffer more pain configuring and managing all your VMs , just use Ansible! Ansible is a very powerful masterless configuration management system based on SSH.

This template creates a storage account (Standard or Premium storage), a Virtual Network, an Availability Sets (3 Fault Domains and 10 Update Domains), one private NIC per VM, one public IP ,a Load Balancer and you can specify SSH keys to access your VMS remotely from your latop. You will need an additional certificate / public key for the Ansible configuration, before executing the template you have upload them to a Private azure storage account in a container named ssh.

The template uses two Custom Scripts :

  • The first script configures SSH keys (public) in all the VMs for the Root user so you can manage the VMS with ansible.
  • The second script installs ansible on a A1/DS1 Jumpbox VM so you can use it as a controller.The script also deploys the provided certificate to /root/.ssh. Then, it will execute an ansible playbook to create a RAID with all the available disks.
  • Before you execute the script, you will need to create a PRIVATE storage account and a container named ssh, and upload your certificate and public keys for ansible/ssh.

Once the template finishes, ssh into the AnsibleController VM (by defult the load balancer has a NAT rule using the port 64000), then you can manage your VMS with ansible and the root user. For instance :

sudo su root
ansible all -m ping (to ping all the VMs) 
ansible all -m setup (to show all VMs system info )

This template also ilustrates how to use Outputs and Tags.

  • The template will generate an output with the fqdn of the new public IP so you can easily connect to the Ansible VM.
  • The template will associate two tags to all the VMS : ServerRole (Webserver,database etc) and ServerEnvironment (DEV,PRE,INT, PRO etc)

##Known Issues and Limitations

  • Fixed number of data disks.This is due to a current limitation on the resource manager;this template creates 2 data disks with ReadOnly Caching
  • Only the ansible controller VM will be accesible for SSH.
  • Scripts are not yet idempotent and cannot handle updates.
  • Current version doesn't use secured endpoints. If you are going to host confidential data make sure that you secure the VNET by using Security Groups.