Ansible Playbooks for Provisioning and Managing AWS Environments

  • February 25, 2016

In our last blog post, we discussed how Ansible’s configuration management tools can benefit Amazon Web Services (AWS) environments – especially for DevOps focused organizations. Today we’d like to share how to realize those benefits with Ansible Playbooks.

Playbooks are Ansible’s configuration, deployment, and orchestration language. Keeping in line with Ansible’s focus on simplicity without sacrificing security and reliability, Playbooks purposefully have a minimum of syntax because they aren’t meant to be a programming language or script, but rather a model of a configuration or a process.

To give you a quick rundown: Each Playbook is composed of one or more plays. A play maps a group of hosts to well-defined roles represented by tasks. A task is a call to an Ansible module. Ansible has hundreds of modules that can run using an Ansible Playbook command.

<= Ansible suggests thinking of modules as the tools in your workshop and Playbooks as your design plans.

Provisioning with Ansible Playbooks

Composing a playbook of multiple plays allows you to orchestrate multi-machine deployments in an easy-to-learn yet repeatable matter. In this way, Ansible makes it easy to provision – and apply secure configurations to — instances, networks, and more across your Amazon Web Services. With the simplicity of Ansible’s format, even the most complicated of AWS environments can be easily described in Ansible Playbooks. As a result, once your AWS-based application environment(s) are described with Ansible Playbooks, you can deploy them again and again, with predictable, repeatable results.

Manage AWS with Playbooks

For AWS specifically, Ansible has over 50 modules that support 20 different capabilities such as Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and Identity Access Manager (IAM). And, as mentioned above, Ansible has hundreds of modules that can help manage a wide variety of systems, infrastructure and applications that might reside within your AWS environment. With Playbooks you can manage workload migration to AWS and more – simply by using the same Playbook language to manage your infrastructure, and define and deploy your application(s).

Ansible’s simple approach with Playbooks provides the ability for new team members to get up and running quickly, while providing the power and flexibility to efficiently deploy and manage AWS environments in a safe, compliant and repeatable manner. With one common language to describe everything deployed in AWS, management is easier and time to development is faster.

For a more in-depth look at Ansible Playbooks and the Ansible components discussed here, be sure to watch the Ansible Tutorial given by Flux7’s Yan Kurniawan.

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