Ansible playbooks for use in setting up servers.
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.gitignore Remove eaccellerator Feb 26, 2013

Server Playbooks

A collection of Ansible playbooks for use in setting up various servers. Playbooks are a series of configuration steps and specifications for how the server should be configured.

Executing the playbooks

Setup Ansible

Playbooks require Ansible to execute them. It's really easy to setup, and you can choose between running it on the same machine you're configuring, or a remote machine. For a remote machine, all Ansible needs is the ability to establish an SSH connection to it.

Generally, if you're looking for a quick time-saver for a one-time build of a server, then you should set up Ansible and execute the playbook on the target server. If you're a more serious server administrator who wants to maintain clusters of machines, you should setup Ansible on a separate controller machine or your personal machine.

You may refer to the setup guide on the Ansible homepage, however here are the steps for setting it up on Ubuntu and immediately configuring it to use localhost as the target server, the simplest configuration option:

sudo aptitude -y install git python-jinja2 python-yaml python-paramiko python-software-properties
add-apt-repository ppa:rquillo/ansible
aptitude update
aptitude install ansible
echo "localhost" > /etc/ansible/hosts

You can now test by typing:

ansible -c local -m ping all

You should see:

localhost | success >> {
  "module": "ping",
  "ping": "pong

Run the play

The plays are organized into directories, so for example, ubuntu-12.04-lamp-dev contains all the settings and configuration for the Ubuntu 12.04 LAMP Dev server build.

You must copy the vars/default-settings.yml file to the base folder of the play, and then edit it with your specific requirements. It's really easy to understand and contains all the configuration that will be customized from the default Ubuntu package setting.

cd ubuntu-12.04-lamp-dev
cp ./vars/settings-default.yml ./settings.yml

You have some options when executing a play. For example, you may want a LAMP server but not drush or an ftp server. The parts of the play that setup these optional packages are tagged as such.

By executing the following, it will setup only the commonly used components:

ansible-playbook -c local --tags="common" ./setup.yml

You can add drush and ftp by doing:

ansible-playbook -c local --tags="common,drush,ftp" ./setup.yml

Conventions used in playbooks

  • The setup.yml file contains the main sequence of actions and tasks.
  • When a configuration file is introduced by the playbook, i.e. isn't a pre-existing one, it's found in the files subdirectory and is transferred using the 'copy' action.
  • Files that already exist on the server, that we are modifying, are found in templates and have Jinja2-style variable substitution. They are transferred using Ansible's 'template' action.
  • Every value in a configuration file that is modified from the default will contain a variable substitution, so you know that looking in the vars/settings-default.yml file will give you a complete overview of all the configuration that is modified from the server package default.