🕹 Application Server Provisioning and Deployment with Ansible
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Latest commit 8fb4403 Oct 17, 2018


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Infrastructure Management

Deploying & provisioning with tape

Use Unbuntu trusty64 (16 x64)

Enable ssh access via root user

For a tutorial on getting started: Taperole: the Smashing Boxes Way to Deploy Your Rails App



Deprecation notice: As of taperole 1.7, support for Ubuntu 14.x has been deprecated. If your server does not use Ubuntu 16.x, please install taperole 1.6.0 instead.

  • $ gem install taperole or add gem 'taperole', '~>1.7' to your Gemfile
  • $ brew install ansible
  • Create a Digital Ocean Droplet (or any Ubuntu 16.04 system with ssh access)
  • Run tape installer install in project repo
  • Update your hosts file with the IP address of your server (this can be found in your Droplet). If you go down to "Multistage", you'll see an excellent example of what your hosts file should look like.
  • Fill in missing values in tape_vars.yml. Should look something like this:
app_name: [app name]
be_app_repo: [git repo]
  • Copy all developers' public keys into the taperole/dev_keys directory.
  • Use $ tape ansible provision for your first deploy, then $ tape ansible deploy for subsequent changes.


NOTE: Upgrading tape on a machine is only supported for patch versions (ie 1.3.0 to 1.3.1). For minor or major versions, it is advised that you stand up a new box, and start from stratch.

bundle update taperole
tape installer install


All default configurations found in vars/defaults.yml can be overridden in your local taperole/tape_vars.yml file

Default Node Version: 8.x Default Ruby Version 2.4.0


Backups are handled via duply and are configured via the Stouts.backup ansible galaxy role. Bacups occur every night at 4am under the root user. You can configure your backup schedule and target where you want your backups stored at within your taperole/tape_vars.yml file.

The default location for backups is the /var/lib/postgresql/backups directory.

All servers in your [production] group will have backups enabled by default.

Detailed configurations can be made in your tape_vars.yml file.

# Store Backups on S3
backup_dir: s3+http://[aws_access_key:aws_secret_access_key]@bucket_name[/folder]

# Store Backups on Seperate server via rsync
backup_dir: s3+http://[aws_access_key:aws_secret_access_key]@bucket_name[/folder]

# Adjust Cron Job Schedule (default is every night at 4am)
backup_schedule: "* */4 * * *"

# Change Which Servers are backed up
  - production
  - staging
  - qa

Custom roles

You can add app specific ansible roles to <app_root>/roles.

You must then specify the roles you want to use in provision.yml or deploy.yml

Read the Ansible docs on playbook roles here

Multistage (environments)

You can setup multistage by defining your hosts file as follows

[production] be_app_env=production be_app_branch=SOME_BRANCH

[staging] be_app_env=staging be_app_branch=SOME_BRANCH


Then use the -l option to specify the stage/environment

tape ansible deploy -l staging

Configure LetsEncrypt

As of 2.0, Tape can automatically configure HTTPS with LetsEncrypt You will need to set the following configs:

In your hosts file add a hostname variable

[production] be_app_env=production be_app_branch=SOME_BRANCH hostname=project-production.example.com

[staging] be_app_env=staging be_app_branch=SOME_BRANCH hostname=project-staging.example.com

In your tape_vars.yml

  enabled: true
  hostname: "{{hostname}}"
  email: some_email@example.com


With vagrant

  1. echo 'y' | tape installer install
  2. vagrant up
  3. Put the following into your hosts inventory file:
localhost:2222 ansible_ssh_private_key_file=~/.vagrant.d/insecure_private_key

The port number might be different if other vagrant machines are running, run vagrant ssh-config to find the correct configuration. You can specify a port using the ansible_ssh_port in your hosts inventory file.

  1. Update tape_vars.yml with information to a rails app you want to deploy
  2. tape ansible provision -l vagrant

With Docker

  1. Setup your machine to work with Docker. We recommend Docker Machine

Test Rails

  1. docker build -f test/rails/Dockerfile -t tapetest .
  2. docker run -i -t $(docker images -q tapetest) /start_rails.sh | grep "Hello"

If the last command resulted in a <h1>Hello</h1> then your Rails application deployed successfully!


git clone git@github.com:smashingboxes/taperole.git
cd taperole
ansible-galaxy install -r requirements.yml --force

Rails Application Requirements

Your rails application must:

  • use posgres as the database
  • use puma as the app server
  • have access to the taperole gem

Usually, your Gemfile will include something like:

# Use postgresql as the database
gem 'pg'

# Use Puma as the app server
gem 'puma'

# Use taperole for deployment
gem 'taperole', '~>1.7'

Note: You can also $ gem install taperole and not put Taperole in your Gemfile.

During your first deploy, your app will not have a secrets.yml file configured, and Tape will prompt you to provide one:

TASK: [backend_config | Ask for secrets.yml] **********************************
ok: [] => {
    "msg": "You've got to upload secrets.yml to /home/deployer/kevinrkiley/config to continue"

To continue the deploy, SSH into the server as the deployer user and create your config/secrets.yml file in the app directory. The deploy will automatically continue when the file is saved.

Rake tasks

To run ad-hoc rake tasks, you can use the following:

tape ansible rake --task users:rank

Slack integration

Tape includes built-in support for posting messages to slack at the beginning and end of deployments.

Here are the steps needed to enable this functionality:

  1. Start by setting up an incoming webhook integration
  2. Add that URL to tape_vars.yml as slack_webhook_url
  3. Profit.

Releasing a new version of taperole

  1. Bump the version in lib/taperole/version.rb
  2. gem build taperole.gemspec
  3. bundle install
  4. Commit to git, push, and make PR
  5. Wait for approval, and merge
  6. git checkout master
  7. git pull
  8. git tag -a VERSION (e.g. git tag -a 2.1.0)
  9. git push --tags
  10. gem push taperole.gemspec (You'll need access to push the gem on rubygems. Ask Derek for this)