Preparing to use Ansible on an existing Linux server


This article is the 16th day article of Ansible Advent Calendar 2019.

I will explain what to do to make Ansible Ready for a Linux machine set up without being aware of using Ansible.

There is a wealth of information on server and network construction using Ansible, and I think that there is an environment where "You can run Ansible immediately if you use this environment", but "In this existing environment (especially on-premise)" I felt (I personally) had little information about "how to get started with Ansible", so I've summarized it.

Therefore, this article is not about "how to start studying Ansible" but "what should I prepare when starting to build a server using Ansible".

――For those who want to study Ansible, click here: [Beginners welcome] If you want to get started with Ansible, let's join the Ansible Mokumokukai! --If you want an Ansible environment that can be verified immediately, click here: [VM construction using Vagrant specialized for Ansible verification environment --Ssh public key authentication setting / shared folder between multiple VMs / VMs](https: //


It is premised on CentOS.

hostname IP address role
control-node Control node
target-node01 Target node
target-node02 Target node

The host that executes Ansible commands (such as ʻansible and ʻansible-playbook) is called the control node, and the target host processed by the control node Ansible is called the target node.

--What you need for the control node

--What you need for the target node

Also, in this article, it is assumed that the working user name (non-root) and authentication password are all the same for each of the control node and target node.

Installation and configuration

Ansible body

For CentOS7, Ansible 2.4 is installed with the standard Yum repository, but it's a bit too old (latest is 2.9 as of December 2019).

$ yum info ansible
Available packages
name: ansible
architecture: noarch
release: 2.el7
capacity: 7.6 M
Repository: extras/7/x86_64
wrap up: SSH-based configuration management, deployment, and task


Therefore, in the case of CentOS7, it is easy to install with the package in the EPEL repository.

$ sudo yum install
$ sudo yum install ansible

You should now be able to install the latest stabilizer. To check the version, run ʻansible --version`.

[[email protected] ~]$ ansible --version
ansible 2.9.1
  config file = /etc/ansible/ansible.cfg
  configured module search path = [u'/home/zaki/.ansible/plugins/modules', u'/usr/share/ansible/plugins/modules']
  ansible python module location = /usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/ansible
  executable location = /usr/bin/ansible
  python version = 2.7.5 (default, Aug  7 2019, 00:51:29) [GCC 4.8.5 20150623 (Red Hat 4.8.5-39)]
[[email protected] ~]$

For other platforms such as RHEL and Debian / Ubuntu, see the Ansible Installation Guide ( You can also install it using pip.

As a simple operation check after installation, try running the ping module to localhost to check if Ansible can be executed on the target.

$ ansible localhost -m ping
localhost | SUCCESS => {
    "changed": false,
    "ping": "pong"

It is OK if SUCCESS is displayed.


You can install it with a package manager such as yum ... but if you have a popular distribution these days, Python should be included from the beginning. Also, Python is required for Ansible installation requirements, so if you have Ansible installed, you should already have Python installed.

$ python --version

You can check the Python version with.

SSH access

If the SSH server is also a major distribution, it should be running immediately after installing the OS. To be able to use Ansible, you need SSH access from the control node to the target node. (SSH server is running on the target node)

Both password authentication and public key authentication can be performed for authentication, but in the case of password authentication or public key authentication with a passphrase, the password / passphrase must be entered each time the authentication is performed, so the private key without a passphrase Setting is convenient and hassle-free when building.

$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -f $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa -N ""

This will create a public key with no passphrase in ~ / .ssh / id_rsa. After creating the key pair, distribute the public key to each target node.

$ ssh-copy-id [email protected] #Target node 1
$ ssh-copy-id [email protected] #Target node 2

You should now be able to SSH access to each target node without authentication.

[[email protected] ~]$ ssh
[[email protected] ~]$
[[email protected] ~]$ ssh
[[email protected] ~]$

With this setup, you should be able to access the two target nodes with the ping module.

Create an inventory file with the following contents that defines the target node.



Specify this inventory file with -i and execute ʻansible. At this time, specify the group name [nodes]written in the first line of the inventory where you specifiedlocalhost` when executing locally.

$ ansible nodes -i inventory.ini -m ping | SUCCESS => {
    "ansible_facts": {
        "discovered_interpreter_python": "/usr/bin/python"
    "changed": false,
    "ping": "pong"
} | SUCCESS => {
    "ansible_facts": {
        "discovered_interpreter_python": "/usr/bin/python"
    "changed": false,
    "ping": "pong"

Now you can confirm that Ansible can be executed from the control node to the target node.

If you do not set the public key without a passphrase, you can execute Ansible by doing the following.

Authentication method Ansible operation
Password authentication -kを付与することでPassword authenticationのプロンプトを表示する
Public key authentication with passphrase The passphrase input prompt is automatically displayed

sudo settings

One more point. When building a server with Ansible, most tasks (such as installing packages with yum) require root privileges. If sudo is not available on the target node in the first place, configure sudoers (such as adding it to the wheel group) for the target user.

Also, if you set the password not required when executing sudo, you do not need to enter the password when executing Ansible, which is convenient and hassle-free.


%wheel  ALL=(ALL)       NOPASSWD: ALL

This is done on all target nodes. (If processing is also performed on the control node, set it on the control node as well) Once set, add the -b option (acting as the default root) and run Ansible.

$ ansible nodes -i inventory.ini -b -m ping | SUCCESS => {
    "ansible_facts": {
        "discovered_interpreter_python": "/usr/bin/python"
    "changed": false,
    "ping": "pong"
} | SUCCESS => {
    "ansible_facts": {
        "discovered_interpreter_python": "/usr/bin/python"
    "changed": false,
    "ping": "pong"

If no error occurs, the process will be executed with root privileges on the target node. However, it is difficult to understand that it is a ping module, so if you can yum update on all nodes, try the following command. All packages will be updated.

$ ansible nodes -i inventory.ini -b -m yum -a "name=* state=latest"

If you do not set sudo without a password, you can run Ansible with root privileges by giving -K at runtime. Can be used with -k for password authentication.

Initial construction automation with Ansible

So far, I have explained the installation of Ansible and the setting of SSH / sudo manually, but since I install Ansible, I can automate it so that potato does not get angry. Let's automate the place. In particular, distributing the SSH public key to all target nodes and setting sudo is not something that you do manually.


--Installing Ansible on the control node (manual) --The working user on the target node belongs to the wheel group and can be promoted to root with sudo (however, password required) --Work user name and password are common to all nodes --Ssh connection is possible with password authentication, and Python is already installed.

The other requirements, SSH public key setting without passphrase and sudo setting without password, are done in Ansible.


I haven't explained it so far, so please think of it as a magic that reduces the trouble of executing SSH for the first time.


host_key_checking = False

ssh_args -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no -o UserKnownHostsFile=/dev/null






- hosts: localhost
  - name: create directory for ssh keypair
      path: "{{ lookup('env','HOME') }}/.ssh/"
      state: directory
      mode: 0700

  - name: create ssh privatekey
      path: "{{ lookup('env','HOME') }}/.ssh/id_rsa"

- hosts: all
  - name: publickey copy to target-nodes
      user: "{{ ansible_env.USER }}"
      key: "{{ lookup('file', lookup('env', 'HOME') + '/.ssh/' )}}"

- hosts: all
  become: True
  - name: configure non-password sudo
      dest: /etc/sudoers.d/nopass
      mode: 0600
      content: |
        %wheel ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL

Place these three files in the same directory and execute the following command.

$ ansible-playbook -i inventory.ini playbook.yml -kK

Don't forget that -k is for password authentication and -K is for sudo promotion password authentication, which has not been set yet (set with this Ansible).

The following are externally referenced using lookup plugin.

variable Contents
{{ lookup('env','HOME') }} Execution user's home directory path
{{ ansible_env.USER }} User name
{{ lookup('file', lookup('env', 'HOME') + '/.ssh/' )}} ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pubFile contents of

With that in mind, each task in this playbook does the following: (If you have already set something such as sudo without a password, please delete it)

--create directory for ssh keypair (local execution) --Create a ~ / .ssh directory --create ssh privatekey (local execution) --Create SSH private key key pair in ~ / .ssh / id_rsa --publickey copy to target-nodes (remote access) --Copy ~ / .ssh / to authorized_key on all target nodes --config non-password sudo (root privileges required) --Sudo NOPASSWD setting for all target nodes

It ’s easy, is n’t it?

(Supplement) About the openssh_keypair module

As mentioned in the Documentation (, this module is a new module available from version 2.8. It cannot be used with earlier Ansible versions.

If you are using an earlier version, the module cannot create the key, so replace it with the task created by the shell module.


  - name: check exists ssh privatekey
    shell: test -f $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa
    register: exist_key
    ignore_errors: True
    check_mode: False
    changed_when: False
  - name: create ssh privatekey
    shell: ssh-keygen -t rsa -f $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa -N ""
    when: exist_key.rc != 0

It's a bit long, but there are two steps: "Check if there is ~ / .ssh / id_rsa "and" If not, ssh-keygen". At the first execution, an error message is output because there is no ~ / .ssh / id_rsa, but ʻignore_errors: True` ignores it and continues processing.

… Isn't there a forced overwrite mode for ssh-keygen? ??


So, I explained the specific work procedure (manual & automatic construction by Ansible) about the preparation for building a server using Ansible.

If the number of units is a few, I think that I can do my best without mistakes even by hand, but when it comes to 10 units and 20 units, it is definitely better to automate it.

I think that it will change a little when it comes to network automation and cloud environment, but I think that automation of server construction using Ansible on-premise can be started with this.

As an aside, can Ansible installation be automated with Ansible? ..


-openssh_keypair – Generate OpenSSH private and public keys — Ansible Documentation * From version 2.8

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