Generate host overview from ansible fact gathering output
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Ansible Configuration Management Database

Status: Stable Build Status Activity: Active development License: GPLv3


Ansible-cmdb takes the output of Ansible's fact gathering and converts it into a static HTML overview page (and other things) containing system configuration information.

It supports multiple types of output (html, csv, sql, etc) and extending information gathered by Ansible with custom data. For each host it also shows the groups, host variables, custom variables and machine-local facts.

HTML example output.

Supported output formats / templates:

  • Fancy HTML (--template html_fancy), as seen in the screenshots above.
  • Fancy HTML Split (--template html_fancy_split), with each host's details in a separate file (for large number of hosts).
  • CSV (--template csv), the trustworthy and flexible comma-separated format.
  • JSON (--template json), a dump of all facts in JSON format.
  • Markdown (--template markdown), useful for copy-pasting into Wiki's and such.
  • Markdown Split ('--template markdown_split'), with each host's details in a seperate file (for large number of hosts).
  • SQL (--template sql), for importing host facts into a (My)SQL database.
  • Plain Text table (--template txt_table), for the console gurus.
  • and of course, any custom template you're willing to make.


Ansible-cmdb can be installed using pip (the Python package manager), with stand-alone packages for your distribution or through brew and plain old make install.

Through Pip

For installation via Pip:

Install pip for your distribution if you don't have it yet.

Install Ansible-cmdb through Pip:

sudo pip install ansible-cmdb

You can also upgrade Ansible-cmdb through Pip:

sudo pip install --upgrade ansible-cmdb

Through distribution packages

Get the package for your distribution from the Releases page (Not required for MacOS X install)

For Debian / Ubuntu systems:

sudo dpkg -i ansible-cmdb*.deb

For Redhat / Centos systems:

sudo yum --disablerepo=* install ansible-cmdb*.rpm

For Arch systems: aur/ansible-cmdb

For other systems

For MacOS X systems:

brew install ansible-cmdb

For Other systems:

tar -vxzf ansible-cmdb*.tar.gz
cd ansible-cmdb*
sudo make install

Installation from Git repository:

git clone
cd ansible-cmdb
sudo make install



First, generate Ansible output for your hosts:

mkdir out
ansible -m setup --tree out/ all

Next, call ansible-cmdb on the resulting out/ directory to generate the CMDB overview page:

ansible-cmdb out/ > overview.html

The default template is html_fancy, which uses jQuery.

Full usage

Usage: ansible-cmdb [option] <dir> > output.html

  --version             show program's version number and exit
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -t TEMPLATE, --template=TEMPLATE
                        Template to use. Default is 'html_fancy'
  -i INVENTORY, --inventory=INVENTORY
                        Inventory to read extra info from
  -f, --fact-cache      <dir> contains fact-cache files
  -p PARAMS, --params=PARAMS
                        Params to send to template
  -d, --debug           Show debug output
  -c COLUMNS, --columns=COLUMNS
                        Show only given columns
                        Exclude cols from output

Inventory scanning

Ansible-cmdb can read your inventory file (hosts, by default), inventory directory or dynamic inventory and extract useful information from it such as:

  • All the groups a host belongs to.
  • Host variables. These are optional key/value pairs for each host which can be used in playbooks. They are scanned by ansible-cmdb and get added to a hosts discovered facts under the 'hostvars' section.

Reading the inventory is done using the -i switch to ansible-cmdb. It takes a single parameter: your hosts file, directory containing your hosts files or path to your dynamic inventory script. You may specify multiple inventory files by separating them with a comma (do not include spaces!).

For example:

$ ansible-cmdb -i ./hosts out/ > overview.html

If a host_vars and / or group_vars directory exists at that location, they will also be read.

The ''html_fancy'' template uses four extra fields:

  • groups: A list of Ansible groups the host belongs to.
  • dtap: Whether a host is a development, test, acceptance or production system.
  • comment: A comment for the host.
  • ext_id: An external unique identifier for the host.

For example, let's say we have the following hosts file:

[cust.megacorp]   dtap=dev  comment="Old database server"   dtap=dev  comment="New database server"      dtap=test       dtap=acc  comment="24/7 support"           dtap=prod comment="Hosting by Foo" ext_id="SRV_10029"



The host will have groups 'cust.megacorp' and 'os.redhat', will have a comment saying it has 24/7 support and will be marked as a acc server. host will have an external ID of "SRV_10029", which will be required by for communicating with Foo company about hosting.

See for more information on host variables.

Any variables set for your hosts will become available in the html_fancy template under the "Custom variables" heading.


Specifying templates

ansible-cmdb offers multiple templates. You can choose your template with the -t or --template argument:

ansible-cmdb -t tpl_custom out/ > overview.html

The 'html_fancy' template is the default.

Templates can be referred to by name or by relative/absolute path to the .tpl file. This lets you implement your own templates. For example:

$ ansible-cmdb -t /home/fboender/my_template out/ > my_template.html

Template parameters

Some templates support parameters that influence their output. Parameters are specified using the -p or --parameter option to ansible-cmdb. Multiple parameters may be specified by separating them with commas. There must be no spaces in the parameters.

For example, to specify the html_fancy template with local Javascript libraries and closed trees:

ansible-cmdb -t html_fancy -p local_js=1,collapsed=1 out > overview.html

Standard available templates

Ansible-cmdb currently provides the following templates out of the box:

  • html_fancy: A dynamic, modern HTML page containing all hosts.
  • html_fancy_split: A dynamic, modern HTML page with each host's details in a separate file.
  • txt_table: A quick text table summary of the available hosts with some minimal information.
  • json: Dumps all hosts including groups, variable, custom info in JSON format.
  • csv: The CSV template outputs a CSV file of your hosts.
  • markdown: The Markdown template generates host information in the Markdown format.
  • sql: The SQL template generates an .sql file that can be loaded into an SQLite or MySQL database.


html_fancy is currently the default template.

A fancy HTML page that uses jQuery and DataTables to give you a searchable, sortable table overview of all hosts with detailed information just a click away.

It takes optional parameters:

  • local_js=0|1: Load resources from local disk (default=0). If set, will load resources from the local disk instead of over the network.
  • collapsed=0|1: Controls whether host information is collapsed by default or not. A value of 1 will collapse all host information by defaultcontrols whether host information is collapsed by default or not. A value of 1 will collapse all host information by default. (default='0')
  • host_details=0|1: Render host details or not. (default=1)
  • skip_empty=0|1: Skip hosts for which no facts were gathered (unreachable, etc). (default=0).


This template is basically the same as the html_fancy template, but it generates a cmdb/ directory with an index.html file and a separate html file for each host's details.


ansible-cmdb -t html_fancy_split -i hosts out/ 

It accepts the same parameters as the html_fancy template.


The sql template generates an .sql file that can be loaded into an SQLite or MySQL database.

$ ansible-cmdb -t sql -i hosts out > cmdb.sql
$ echo "CREATE DATABASE ansiblecmdb" | mysql 
$ mysql ansiblecmdb < cmdb.sql

Fact caching

Ansible can cache facts from hosts when running playbooks. This is configured in Ansible like:

fact_caching_connection = /path/to/facts/dir

You can use these cached facts as facts directories with ansible-cmdb by specifying the -f (--fact-cache) option:

$ ansible-cmdb -f /path/to/facts/dir > overview.html

Please note that the --fact-cache option will apply to all fact directories you specify. This means you can't mix fact-cache fact directories and normal setup fact directories. Also, if you wish to manually extend facts (see the Extending chapter), you must omit the ansible_facts key and put items in the root of the JSON.


Some templates, such as txt_table and html_fancy, support columns. If a template supports columns, you can use the --columns / -c command line option to specify which columns to show.

The --columns takes a comma-separated list of columns (no spaces!) which should be shown. The columns must be specified by their id field. For information on what id fields are supported by a template, take a look in the template. Usually it's the column title, but in lowercase and with spaces replaced by underscores.

For example:

$ ansible-cmdb -t txt_table --columns name,os,ip,mem,cpus facts/
Name                    OS             IP             Mem  CPUs
----------------------  -------------  -------------  ---  -     Linuxmint 17    16g  1  
app.uat.local           Debian 6.0.10   1g   1     Ubuntu 14.04   3g   1         Debian 6.0.10   0g   1        Debian 6.0.10   1g   1         Debian 6.0.10   0g   1        CentOS 6.6   1g   1           Windows 2012       4g   0       Debian 6.0.10   1g   1         Debian 6.0.10   0g   1  Ubuntu 14.04  4g   2 

For interactive templates (html_fancy and friends), the --columns option merely hides the columns by default. It doesn't remote them from the output, unlike the csv and other static templates. If you want to exclude columns from html_fancy and friends, use the --exclude-cols option. It works the same as --columns. For example:

ansible-cmdb -t html_fancy_split \
             --exclude-cols mem_usage,swap_usage,disk_usage,physdisk_size \
             -i hosts \


You can specify multiple directories that need to be scanned for facts. This lets you override, extend and fill in missing information on hosts. You can also use this to create completely new hosts or to add custom facts to your hosts.

Extended facts are basically the same as normal Ansible fact files. When you specify multiple fact directories, Ansible-cmdb scans all of the in order and overlays the facts.

Note that the host must still be present in your hosts file, or it will not generate anything.

If you're using the --fact-cache option, you must omit the ansible_facts key and put items in the root of the JSON. This also means that you can only extend native ansible facts and not information read from the hosts file by ansible-cmdb.

Override / fill in facts

Sometimes Ansible doesn't properly gather certain facts for hosts. For instance, OpenBSD facts don't include the userspace_architecture fact. You can add it manually to a host.

Create a directory for your extended facts:

$ mkdir out_extend

Create a file in it for a host. The file must be named the same as it appears in your hosts file:

$ vi out_extend/
  "ansible_facts": {
      "ansible_userspace_architecture": "x86_64"

Specify both directories when generating the output:

./ansible-cmdb out/ out_extend/ > overview.html

Your OpenBSD host will now include the 'Userspace Architecture' fact.

Manual hosts

For example, lets say you have 100 linux machines, but only one windows machine. It's not worth setting up ansible on that one windows machine, but you still want it to appear in your overview...

Create a directory for you custom facts:

$ mkdir out_manual

Create a file in it for your windows host:

$ vi out_manual/
  "groups": [
  "ansible_facts": {
    "ansible_all_ipv4_addresses": [
    "ansible_default_ipv4": {
      "address": ""
    "ansible_devices": {
    "ansible_distribution": "Windows", 
    "ansible_distribution_major_version": "2008", 
    "ansible_distribution_release": "", 
    "ansible_distribution_version": "2008", 
    "ansible_domain": "", 
    "ansible_fips": false, 
    "ansible_form_factor": "VPS", 
    "ansible_fqdn": "", 
    "ansible_hostname": "win", 
    "ansible_machine": "x86_64", 
    "ansible_nodename": "", 
    "ansible_userspace_architecture": "x86_64", 
    "ansible_userspace_bits": "64", 
    "ansible_virtualization_role": "guest", 
    "ansible_virtualization_type": "xen", 
    "module_setup": true
  "changed": false

Now you can create the overview including the windows host by specifying two fact directories:

./ansible-cmdb out/ out_manual/ > overview.html

Custom facts

You can add custom facts (not to be confused with 'custom variables') to you hosts. These facts will be displayed in the html_fancy template by default under the 'Custom facts' header.

Let's say you want to add information about installed software to your facts.

Create a directory for you custom facts:

$ mkdir out_custom

Create a file in it for the host where you want to add the custom facts:

$ vi custfact.test.local
  "custom_facts": {
    "software": {
      "apache": {
        "version": "2.4",
        "install_src": "backport_deb"
      "mysql-server": {
        "version": "5.5",
        "install_src": "manual_compile"
      "redis": {
        "version": "3.0.7",
        "install_src": "manual_compile"

For this to work the facts must be listed under the custom_facts key.

Generate the overview:

./ansible-cmdb out/ out_custom/ > overview.html

The software items will be listed under the "Custom facts" heading.

Infrequently Asked Questions

Solaris machines have no disk information

Ansible currently does not include disk size information for Solaris hosts. As such, we can't include it in the output of Ansible-cmdb. See issue #24 for more information.

Contributing and Development

See the Development documentation for information on contributing and development.

Licensing and credits

Ansible-cmdb is licensed under the GPLv3:

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program.  If not, see <>.

For the full license, see the LICENSE file.

Ansible-cmdb started as a short Python script, which I blogged about here:

Cris van Pelt then took that and expanded it into a HTML page. Eventually I forked it to Github and made it public, adding features. Many people collaborated to make Ansible-cmdb into what it is today. For a full list, see the annotations in the CHANGELOG.