Ansible dynamic inventory script for parsing Terraform state files
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Cryptophobia Merge pull request #86 from lejmr/patch-1
Workaround for situations when name_key is not defined
Latest commit c9276d7 Apr 6, 2018

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Table of Contents is a dynamic Ansible inventory script to connect to systems by reading Terraform's .tfstate files. It currently supports:

For terraform >= 0.9.0, it also supports s3 remote state (and it should be trivial to add other backing stores)


git clone
pipsi install # basically, it needs to be on your path when you run ansible
<edit a script in your inventory directory to include the below shell script>

In your inventory, you use a shell script to wrap this so that the inventory name is correctly passed to ati:

INVENTORY_DIR="$( cd "$( dirname "${BASH_SOURCE[0]}" )" && pwd )"
ati "$@" --root $INVENTORY_DIR


Make sure that you've annotated your resources with "tags" that correspond to the sshUser for the machine.

Example, for EC2 resources, add a tags entry of "sshUser" equal to "ec2-user":

tags {
  Name = "cheese"
  sshUser = "ec2-user"

Example, for AzureRM resources, add tags entries for ssh_user, role and ssh_ip based on the Network Interface you plan to access the instance from:

tags {
    ssh_user = "azurerm-user"
    ssh_ip = "${azurerm_network_interface.my_nic.private_ip_address}"
    role = "myrole"

So, if you have ansible and terraform in the same directory, and you call ansible from the top level directory, like, so:

├── inventory
│   ├── dev
│   │   ├── dev.inventory
│   │   ├── group_vars -> ../group_vars
│   │   └── -> ../
│   ├── group_vars
│   │   ├── dev
│   │   ├── prod
│   ├── prod
│   │   ├── group_vars -> ../group_vars
│   │   ├── prod.inventory
│   │   └── -> ../
│   ├──
└── terraform
    ├── dev
    │   ├──
    │   ├── dev.tfvars
    │   ├── .terraform
    │   └   └── terraform.tfstate
    ├── prod
    │   ├──
    │   ├── prod.tfvars
    │   ├── .terraform
    │   └   └── terraform.tfstate
    ├── README.rst

then from the top level directory(.), you can call ansible as:

ansible all -i inventory/dev --list-hosts

and it will only list hosts from terraform/dev, and will also sucessfully list hosts stored only in remote state with terraform >= 0.9.0

Releases is with matching versions of mantl. Run --version to report the current version.

Adding a new provider

To add a new provider, you need to implement a parser for that provider's resources in Parsers should only be implemented for resources that Ansible can connect to and modify (instances, nodes, whatever your platform calls them.) A parser is a function that takes a resource (a dictionary processed from JSON) and outputs a tuple of (name, attributes, groups). The parser should be decorated with the parses decorator, which takes the name of the resource (EG aws_instance). It should also be decorated with calculate_mantl_vars.

As a guideline, should require no resources outside the Python standard distribution so it can just be copied in wherever it's needed.

Common Utilities

Terraform's state files represent node attributes as a flat dictionary, but contain nested information within them. This tends to look something like this:

"disk.#": 1,
"disk.0.auto_delete": "true",
"disk.0.device_name": ""

It's much easier to work with nested information in Ansible, so has three sub-parsers to transform these structures:


parse_attr_list takes a dictionary, a prefix, and an optional separator and returns a list of dictionaries. The limited "disk" example above would become:

[{"auto_delete": "true", "device_name": ""}]


parse_dict takes a dictionary, a prefix, and an optional separator and returns a dictionary. Given keys like this and the prefix "metadata":

"metadata.#": "3",
"metadata.dc": "gce-dc"

parse_dict would return something like this:

{"dc": "gce-dc"}


Lists are rarer in Terraform states, but still occur in things like tag lists. parse_list takes a dictionary, a prefix, and an optional separator and returns a list. Given keys like this and the prefix "keys":

"tags.#": "2",
"tags.2783239913": "mantl",
"tags.3990563915": "control",

parse_list would return this:

["mantl", "control"]


For contributions, please do at least the following:

  • Run py.test before and after your updates. Try and make sure the code coverage stays at at least at the same level.
  • Run pydocstyle, and make sure that any code you've touched passes.
  • py.test will also run flake8, so that should take care of itself.


Copyright © 2015 Cisco Systems, Inc.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License").

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.