Ansible for DevOps
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Ansible for DevOps

Server and configuration management for humans

About the Book

Ansible is a simple, but powerful, server and configuration management tool (with a few other tricks up its sleeve). This book helps those familiar with the command line and basic shell scripting start using Ansible to provision and manage anywhere from one to thousands of servers.

The book begins with fundamentals, like installing Ansible, setting up a basic inventory file, and basic concepts, then guides you through Ansible's many uses, including ad-hoc commands, basic and advanced playbooks, application deployments, multiple-provider server provisioning, and even Docker orchestration! Everything is explained with pertinent real-world examples, often using Vagrant-managed virtual machines.

Examples in the book are tested with the latest version of Ansible.

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    • Agile
    • Software
    • Startups
    • Ansible
    • DevOps
    • Cloud Computing
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About the Author

Jeff Geerling
Jeff Geerling

Jeff Geerling is a developer who has worked in programming and devops for companies with anywhere between one to thousands of servers. He also manages many virtual servers for services offered by Midwestern Mac, LLC, and has been using Ansible to manage infrastructure since early 2013.

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Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Preface
    • Second Edition
    • Who is this book for?
    • Typographic conventions
    • Please help improve this book!
      • Current Published Book Version Information
    • About the Author
  • Introduction
    • In the beginning, there were sysadmins
    • Modern infrastructure management
    • Ansible and Red Hat
    • Ansible Examples
    • Other resources
  • Chapter 1 - Getting Started with Ansible
    • Ansible and Infrastructure Management
      • On snowflakes and shell scripts
      • Configuration management
    • Installing Ansible
    • Creating a basic inventory file
    • Running your first Ad-Hoc Ansible command
    • Summary
  • Chapter 2 - Local Infrastructure Development: Ansible and Vagrant
    • Prototyping and testing with local virtual machines
    • Your first local server: Setting up Vagrant
    • Using Ansible with Vagrant
    • Your first Ansible playbook
    • Cleaning Up
    • Summary
  • Chapter 3 - Ad-Hoc Commands
    • Conducting an orchestra
    • Build infrastructure with Vagrant for testing
    • Inventory file for multiple servers
    • Your first ad-hoc commands
      • Discover Ansible’s parallel nature
      • Learning about your environment
      • Make changes using Ansible modules
    • Configure groups of servers, or individual servers
      • Configure the Application servers
      • Configure the Database servers
      • Make changes to just one server
    • Manage users and groups
    • Manage packages
    • Manage files and directories
      • Get information about a file
      • Copy a file to the servers
      • Retrieve a file from the servers
      • Create directories and files
      • Delete directories and files
    • Run operations in the background
      • Update servers asynchronously with asynchronous jobs
    • Check log files
    • Manage cron jobs
    • Deploy a version-controlled application
    • Ansible’s SSH connection history
      • Paramiko
      • OpenSSH (default)
      • Faster OpenSSH with Pipelining
    • Summary
  • Chapter 4 - Ansible Playbooks
    • Power plays
    • Running Playbooks with ansible-playbook
      • Limiting playbooks to particular hosts and groups
      • Setting user and sudo options with ansible-playbook
      • Other options for ansible-playbook
    • Real-world playbook: Rocky Linux Node.js app server
      • Add extra repositories
      • Deploy a Node.js app
      • Launch a Node.js app
      • Node.js app server summary
    • Real-world playbook: Ubuntu LAMP server with Drupal
      • Include a variables file, and discover pre_tasks and handlers
      • Basic LAMP server setup
      • Configure Apache
      • Configure PHP with lineinfile
      • Configure MySQL
      • Install Composer
      • Create a Drupal project with Composer
      • Install Drupal with Drush
      • Drupal LAMP server summary
    • Real-world playbook: Ubuntu server with Solr
      • Include a variables file, and more pre_tasks
      • Install Java
      • Install Apache Solr
      • Apache Solr server summary
    • Summary
  • Chapter 5 - Ansible Playbooks - Beyond the Basics
    • Handlers
    • Environment variables
      • Per-task environment variables
    • Variables
      • Playbook Variables
      • Inventory variables
      • Registered Variables
      • Accessing Variables
      • Host and Group variables
        • Automatically-loaded group_vars and host_vars
        • Magic variables with host and group variables and information
      • Facts (Variables derived from system information)
        • Local Facts (Facts.d)
      • Ansible Vault - Keeping secrets secret
      • Variable Precedence
    • If/then/when - Conditionals
      • Jinja Expressions, Python built-ins, and Logic
      • register
      • when
      • changed_when and failed_when
      • ignore_errors
    • Delegation, Local Actions, and Pauses
      • Pausing playbook execution with wait_for
      • Running an entire playbook locally
    • Prompts
    • Tags
    • Blocks
    • Summary
  • Chapter 6 - Playbook Organization - Roles, Includes, and Imports
    • Imports
      • Includes
      • Dynamic includes
      • Handler imports and includes
      • Playbook imports
      • Complete includes example
    • Roles
      • Role scaffolding
      • Building your first role
      • More flexibility with role vars and defaults
      • Other role parts: handlers, files, and templates
        • Handlers
        • Files and Templates
      • Organizing more complex and cross-platform roles
    • Ansible Galaxy
      • Getting roles from Galaxy
        • Using role requirements files to manage dependencies
      • A LAMP server in nine lines of YAML
      • A Solr server in seven lines of YAML
      • Helpful Galaxy commands
      • Contributing to Ansible Galaxy
    • Summary
  • Chapter 7 - Ansible Plugins and Content Collections
    • Creating our first Ansible Plugin — A Jinja Filter
    • The history of Ansible Content Collections
    • The Anatomy of a Collection
      • Putting our Plugin into a Collection
      • Going deeper developing collections
    • Collections on Automation Hub and Ansible Galaxy
      • Collection version constraints
      • Where are collections installed?
    • Summary
  • Chapter 8 - Inventories
    • A real-world web application server inventory
      • Non-prod environments, separate inventory files
    • Inventory variables
      • host_vars
      • group_vars
    • Ephemeral infrastructure: Dynamic inventory
      • Dynamic inventory with DigitalOcean
        • DigitalOcean account prerequisites
        • Connecting to your DigitalOcean account
        • Creating a droplet with Ansible
        • DigitalOcean dynamic inventory with
      • Dynamic inventory with AWS
      • Inventory on-the-fly: add_host and group_by
      • Multiple inventory sources - mixing static and dynamic inventories
      • Creating custom dynamic inventories
        • Building a Custom Dynamic Inventory in Python
        • Building a Custom Dynamic Inventory in PHP
        • Managing a PaaS with a Custom Dynamic Inventory
    • Summary
  • Chapter 9 - Ansible Cookbooks
    • Highly-Available Infrastructure with Ansible
      • Directory Structure
      • Individual Server Playbooks
      • Main Playbook for Configuring All Servers
      • Getting the required roles
      • Vagrantfile for Local Infrastructure via VirtualBox
      • Provisioner Configuration: DigitalOcean
      • Provisioner Configuration: Amazon Web Services (EC2)
        • AWS EC2 Dynamic inventory plugin
      • Summary
    • ELK Logging with Ansible
      • ELK Playbook
      • Forwarding Logs from Other Servers
      • Summary
    • GlusterFS Distributed File System Configuration with Ansible
      • Configuring Gluster - Basic Overview
      • Configuring Gluster with Ansible
      • Summary
    • Mac Provisioning with Ansible and Homebrew
      • Running Ansible playbooks locally
      • Automating Homebrew package and app management
      • Configuring macOS through dotfiles
      • Summary
  • Chapter 10 - Deployments with Ansible
    • Deployment strategies
    • Simple single-server deployments
      • Provisioning a Ruby on Rails server
      • Deploying a Rails app to the server
      • Provisioning and Deploying the Rails App
      • Deploying application updates
    • Zero-downtime multi-server deployments
      • Ensuring zero downtime with serial and integration tests
      • Deploying to app servers behind a load balancer
    • Capistrano-style and blue-green deployments
    • Additional Deployment Features
    • Summary
  • Chapter 11 - Server Security and Ansible
    • A brief history of SSH and remote access
      • Telnet
      • rlogin, rsh and rcp
      • SSH
      • The evolution of SSH and the future of remote access
    • Use secure and encrypted communication
    • Disable root login and use sudo
    • Remove unused software, open only required ports
    • Use the principle of least privilege
      • User account configuration
      • File permissions
    • Update the OS and installed software
      • Automating updates
      • Automating updates for RHEL systems
      • Automating updates for Debian-based systems
    • Use a properly-configured firewall
      • Configuring a firewall with ufw on Debian or Ubuntu
      • Configuring a firewall with firewalld on Fedora, RHEL and RHEL-derivatives
    • Make sure log files are populated and rotated
    • Monitor logins and block suspect IP addresses
    • Use SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) or AppArmor
    • Summary and further reading
  • Chapter 12 - Automating Your Automation with Ansible Tower and CI/CD
      • Installing Ansible AWX
      • Using AWX
      • Uninstalling AWX
      • Other Tower Features of Note
      • Tower Alternatives
    • Jenkins CI
      • Build a local Jenkins server with Ansible
      • Create an Ansible playbook on the Jenkins server
      • Create a Jenkins job to run an Ansible Playbook
    • Summary
  • Chapter 13 - Testing and CI for Ansible Content
    • Unit, Integration, and Functional Testing
    • Debugging and Asserting
        • The debug module
      • The fail and assert modules
    • Linting YAML with yamllint
    • Performing a --syntax-check
    • Linting Ansible content with ansible-lint
    • Automated testing and development with Molecule
      • Testing a role with Molecule
      • Testing a playbook with Molecule
        • Adjusting Molecule to use more flexible test containers
        • Verifying a playbook with Molecule
        • Adding lint configuration to Molecule
      • Molecule Summary
    • Running your playbook in check mode
    • Automated testing on GitHub using GitHub Actions
      • Automated testing in other CI environments
      • Real-world examples
    • Functional testing using serverspec or testinfra
    • Summary
  • Chapter 14 - Automating HTTPS and TLS Certificates
    • Generating Self-Signed Certificates with Ansible
      • Idempotent Nginx HTTPS playbook with a self-signed cert
    • Automating Let’s Encrypt with Ansible for free Certs
      • Use Galaxy roles to get things done faster
      • Create the playbook
      • Create a server and configure DNS
      • Point the playbook inventory at the server
      • Access your server over HTTPS!
    • Configuring Nginx to proxy HTTP traffic and serve it over HTTPS
      • Modify the Nginx configuration to proxy traffic
    • Summary
  • Chapter 15 - Docker and Ansible
    • A brief introduction to Docker containers
    • Using Ansible to build and manage containers
    • Building a Flask app with Ansible and Docker
      • Data storage container
      • Flask container
      • MySQL container
      • Ship it!
    • Building containers with Ansible from the outside
      • Build a Hubot Slack bot container with ansible_connection: docker
        • Hubot and Slack
        • Building a Docker container with Ansible
        • Building the hubot-slack role
        • Building and running the Hubot Slack bot container
      • Summary
    • Summary
  • Afterword
  • Appendix A - Using Ansible on Windows workstations
    • Method 1 - Use the Windows Subsystem for Linux
      • Installing Ansible inside WSL
    • Method 2 - When WSL is not an option
      • Prerequisites
      • Set up an Ubuntu Linux Virtual Machine
      • Log into the Virtual Machine
      • Install Ansible
    • Summary
  • Appendix B - Ansible Best Practices and Conventions
    • Playbook Organization
      • Write comments and use name liberally
      • Include related variables and tasks
      • Use Roles to bundle logical groupings of configuration
      • Use role defaults and vars correctly
    • YAML Conventions and Best Practices
      • YAML for Ansible tasks
      • Three ways to format Ansible tasks
        • Shorthand/one-line (key=value)
        • Structured map/multi-line (key:value)
        • Folded scalars/multi-line (>)
      • Using | to format multiline variables
    • Using ansible-playbook
    • Use Ansible Tower
    • Install Galaxy dependencies local to your playbook
      • Discriminate wisely when choosing community dependencies
    • Specify --forks for playbooks running on > 5 servers
    • Use Ansible’s Configuration file
    • Summary
  • Notes

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