Template for a full pipeline (dev, staging, production) deployment of Mezzanine & Django system using Ansible
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Template for a full deployment pipeline (dev, staging, production ) of Mezzanine & Django system using Ansible

The Ansible playbook defined under "deploy" does the following:

  • Provision nodes in Vagrant or AWS
    • Provisions nodes
    • Setups DNS (including hosts for local dev)
    • Provisions VPC and security groups
  • Deploy and configure Mezzanine
    • deploys all packages
    • configures nginx and gunicorn
    • Updates Mezzanine, local_settings.py and settings.py
    • Updates DB config to accept connections from web servers
  • Deploy and configure Django
    • deploys all packages
    • Updates DB config to accept connections from web servers
    • configures nginx and gunicorn
  • Deploy a Mezzanine project
    • deploys code from git repo locally or from remote, based on branch
  • Deploy a Django API project
    • deploys code from git repo locally or from remote, based on branch

The primary focus of this project was to see how the same playbook(s) could be used for deploying to all environments in a deployment pipeline. One of the core principles in DevOps is that your mechanisms for deployment are automated and repeatable so that they can be tested continuous. To this end using the same mechanism, with minimal change to the mechanism, to deploy in development, in staging, in testing (CI) and ultimately into productions is essential to ensure quality.

So here I have tried to use variables in Ansible to parameterize the playbooks based on environments. I have implemented 3 environments local-dev, staging and production. However others could be easily added such as testing or continuous integration container environments.


  • ansible
  • virtualenv
  • vagrant
  • git
  • aws

Accessing providers and git

This template relies on the use of ssh forwarding rather than copying ssh keys to the various nodes, this is much more secure in my view.

Ensure you have the ssh-agent running on the workstation you are executing the ansible playbook from and have the following keys loaded (use `ssh-add yourkey'):

  • stage.pem { form your staging key pair on AWS }
  • prod.pem { from your production key pair on aws }
  • your key used to access your git repository.


For each environment definition is done in the '/deploy/pipeline/{{ environment }}', for example local using vagrant:

ansible_ssh_user: vagrant
remote_user: vagrant 
#sudo_user: ubuntu
local_sudo_user: root
private_key_file: ~/.vagrant.d/insecure_private_key
# Application Git repo variables
# only enable git_repo or git_local_repo
git_repo_local: /project_repo
git_branch: HEAD

# provider info
provider: vagrant

  - name: db1
      - dbservers
    ip: ''
  - name: web1
      - webservers
    ip: ''
    http: 8080
    ssl: 8443
  - name: api1
      - apiservers
    ip: ''
    http: 7080
    ssl: 7443

This will result in three test nodes being provisioned in vagrant and then the Ansible playbooks for each group bing applied. In the other examples for staging and production you will see definitions for AWS provisionings and be number of nodes to spinup. In the secrets.yml in each pipeline you will need to put in your own secrets for each environment to provision and work:

    DB_password: dbpassword
    admin_password: some-password
    secret_key: verysecretkeypleasechange
    nevercache_key: anothersecretkeyyoushouldchange
    # Twitter Integration keys
    twitter_access_token_key: changetoyouraccounttoken
    twitter_access_token_secret: changetoyouraccountkey
    twitter_consumer_key: changetoyourconsumerkey
    twitter_consumer_secret: changetpyourconsumersecret
    # AWS keys
    ec2_access_key: "your key"
    ec2_secret_key: "your key"

In the production sercets.yml above the absolute minimum is to define you AWS access keys so that you can provision into AWS.


Following commands are executed from within the deploy directory and assume that you have Ansible installed and ideally are working in a Virtualenv. All of the following commands have been made idempotent so the commands can be repeated without fear.

Create an environment (Provision and Deploy)

ansible-playbook -i inventory/stubinv site.yml --extra-vars='pipeline_env=local' --ask-sudo-pass

Now I do need to start off with an quirk here, the first time you spin up a vagrant environment the inventory is not going to exist so I placed a stub inventory into the project. This will only execute the provision portion. On all subsequent executions the linked file 'local' will exists, which links to the generated inventory from the vagrant provision. Hence the following command is used to execute the Provision and Deploy, even if you destroy your vagrant nodes:

ansible-playbook -i inventory/local site.yml --extra-vars='pipeline_env=local' --ask-sudo-pass

The --ask-sudo-pass, will prompt for your local sudo password so that '/etc/hosts' can be updated with the node names.

For a staging environment:

ansible-playbook -i inventory/ec2.py site.yml --extra-vars='pipeline_env=stage'

Here the dynamic inventory for AWS is used as stage is provisioned into there.

For a prod environment:

ansible-playbook -i inventory/ec2.py site.yml --extra-vars='pipeline_env=prod'

Here the dynamic inventory for AWS is used as stage is provisioned into there.

Would be good if Ansible could pickup which inventory from a YML or allow you to switch during executions. Then defining two indicators of the same environment would not be necessary.

Deploy updated code to an existing environment

Local vagrant development environment, deploy only the API:

ansible-playbook -i inventory/local site.yml --extra-vars='pipeline_env=local' --tags api

Staging environment, deploy the Mezzanine application:

ansible-playbook -i inventory/ec2.py site.yml --extra-vars='pipeline_env=stage' --tags app

To deploy both the Mezzanine and API applications use the --tags deploy, this is equivalent to app,api

ansible-playbook -i inventory/ec2.py site.yml --extra-vars='pipeline_env=stage' --tags app


  • integration with CI to spin-up Jenkins (slaves) for automated test runs.
  • use sparse checkout for git source transfer to nodes
  • add backup and restore for DB deployments