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Ansible Container is a tool to build Docker images and orchestrate containers using only Ansible playbooks.
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Ansible Container

Ansible Container is a tool to build Docker images and orchestrate containers using only Ansible playbooks. It does this by building a container from which to execute Ansible and connects to your other containers via the Docker engine instead of SSH.

And when you're ready to deploy to the cloud, use Ansible Container's shipit command to generate an Ansible Role that deploys your application. The role is generated from your project's orchestration file, leveraging the time and work already invested.

Why not just use standard Docker tools?

  1. A Dockerfile is not much more than a script with hand-crafted shell commands. We're well past the point where we should be managing build processes with manually maintained series of shell scripts. That's why we wrote Ansible in the first place, and this is just as applicable to containers.
  2. Ansible Container permits orchestration even during the build process, whereas docker build does not. For example, in a Django project, your VCS may contain a bunch of sources for static assets that need to be compiled and then collected. With Ansible Container, you can compile the static assets in your Django container and then collect them into your static file serving container.
  3. Many people use Docker for development environments only but then use Ansible playbooks to push out to staging or production. This allows you to use the same playbooks and roles in your Docker dev environment as in your production environments.
  4. Ansible Container does all of this without installing SSH, leaving Ansible artifacts on your built images, or having excess layers to the union filesystem.
  5. When you're ready to deploy to the cloud, Docker compose leaves you with only one option. Ansible Container's shipit command enables the deployment of your app on a number of cloud infrastructures without you having to write a single line of code.

To install Ansible Container

Ansible Container is undergoing rapid development. For now, Ansible Container can only be installed from source. See for details.

To use Ansible Container

The source includes an example project for building a Django application. To see Ansible Container at work, cd example/ and run the following commands:

  1. ansible-container build - This will make your Ansible Container builder and use Ansible to build the images for your other containers. By the end of this run, you will have flattened, tagged images in your local Docker engine.

  2. ansible-container run - This will orchestrate running your images as described in your container.yml file, using the Ansible Container-built images instead of the base images.

  3. ansible-container push - This will push your Ansible Container-built images to a registry of your choice.

When you're ready to deploy to the cloud:

  1. ansible-container shipit - This will read your container.yml file and create an Ansible role for deploying your project to OpenShift. Additional cloud providers are under development, including: Google Container Engine and Amazon EC2 Container Service.

To Ansible-Container-ize your own project

Run ansible-container init in the root directory of your project. This will create a directory ansible with files to get you started. Read the comments and edit to suit your needs.

Getting started

For additional help, examples and a tour of ansible-container visit our docs site.

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