Docker Image for running Ansible Playbook commands
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Ansible Playbook Docker Image

Executes ansible-playbook command against an externally mounted set of Ansible playbooks

docker run --rm -it -v PATH_TO_LOCAL_PLAYBOOKS_DIR:/ansible/playbooks philm/ansible_playbook PLAYBOOK_FILE

For example, assuming your project's structure follows best practices, the command to run ansible-playbook from the top-level directory would look like:

docker run --rm -it -v $(pwd):/ansible/playbooks philm/ansible_playbook site.yml

Ansible playbook variables can simply be added after the playbook name.

SSH Keys

If Ansible is interacting with external machines, you'll need to mount an SSH key pair for the duration of the play:

docker run --rm -it \
    -v ~/.ssh/id_rsa:/root/.ssh/id_rsa \
    -v ~/.ssh/ \
    -v $(pwd):/ansible/playbooks \
    philm/ansible_playbook site.yml

Ansible Vault

If you've encrypted any data using Ansible Vault, you can decrypt during a play by either passing --ask-vault-pass after the playbook name, or pointing to a password file. For the latter, you can mount an external file:

docker run --rm -it -v $(pwd):/ansible/playbooks \
    -v ~/.vault_pass.txt:/root/.vault_pass.txt \
    philm/ansible_playbook site.yml --vault-password-file /root/.vault_pass.txt

Note: the Ansible Vault executable is embedded in this image. To use it, specify a different entrypoint:

docker run --rm -it -v $(pwd):/ansible/playbooks --entrypoint ansible-vault philm/ansible_playbook encrypt FILENAME

Testing Playbooks - Ansible Target Container

The Ansible Target Docker image is an SSH container optimized for testing Ansible playbooks.

First, define your inventory file.


Be sure your testing playbooks include the correct host and remote user:

- hosts: test
  remote_user: ubuntu

  ... tasks go here ...

When testing the playbook, you'll need to link the two containers:

docker run --rm -it \
    --link ansible_target \
    -v ~/.ssh/id_rsa:/root/.ssh/id_rsa \
    -v ~/.ssh/ \
    -v $(pwd):/ansible/playbooks \
    philm/ansible_playbook tests.yml -i inventory

Note: the SSH key used above should match the one used to run Ansible Target.

Docker Compose

An sample docker-compose.yml file is in this repo's test directory.


docker-compose run --rm test remote.yml -i inventory

And if you'd like the ansible_target container to be recreated each time, do:

docker rm -v -f ansible_target

(Eventually Compose will be able to automatically remove services after each run, see

Privileged Operations

Notice the privileged: true option in the compose file. This enables us to better mimic a VM environment and perform operations such as installing the Docker Engine during a playbook run see Docker Reference.