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Cover image for Multi OS Ansible Playbooks Demo

Multi OS Ansible Playbooks Demo

ethanarrowood profile image Ethan Arrowood ・4 min read

Foreword: I am by no means an expert or even experienced IaC developer. This article is summarizes some work I did on a customer engagement as a Microsoft Commercial Software Engineer. This article is meant to serve as a starting point for other IaC developers looking to develop solutions for their multi OS environments.

Purpose

The purpose of this demo is to demonstrate some basic multi-os Ansible playbooks. The patterns demonstrated within the playbooks can be used when establishing a Kubernetes cluster. For example, the main node can generate a cluster join command and set that as a fact. That fact can then be read by the other nodes and executed in their respective shells in order to join that worker host to the Kubernetes cluster.

The source files referenced in this post can be found in my public repo: Ethan-Arrowood/multi-os-ansible-demo.

In the src/ folder there are three files:

  1. inventory.ini - is an Ansible inventory file. It defines hosts, groups, and variables. This demo uses it to group hosts based on their OS and apply specific variables to those groups.
  2. hello-world-playbook.yml - is an Ansible playbook file that demonstrates a hello-world example where each host prints "Hello, World" to their respective shell environment.
  3. fact-playbook.yml is another Ansible playbook file that demonstrates a slightly more complex example of sharing information between hosts using Ansible facts. It requires Python to be installed on all hosts.

Requirements

Azure Virtual Machines are a great way to set up this demo environment.

  • Three VMs belonging to the same vnet
  • A linux based VM with public network ssh access enabled (main)
  • A linux based VM with private vnet ssh access enabled (linux_worker_1)
  • A windows based VM with private vnet ssh access enabled (windows_worker_1)

Notice: Azure currently does not have automatic OpenSSH Server support for Windows Server VMs. Use a pre-configured instance or follow these guides to set it up.

  • The main linux VM (configured with public ssh access) should have the necessary ssh keys for accessing the two other VMs (linux_worker_1 and windows_worker_1).
  • Make sure to sync ssh known_host values for the main host to the worker hosts so that the hosts trust each other prior to executing the ansible playbooks.

Demo Steps:

  1. Securely copy over the /src files from this directory to the main VM using scp
  2. SSH into the main linux VM and install Ansible
  sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ansible/ansible
  sudo apt update
  sudo apt install ansible
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  1. Execute the examples from the main VM using:
  ansible-playbook -i ./src/inventory.ini ./src/hello-world-playbook.yml
  ansible-playbook -i ./src/inventory.ini ./src/fact-playbook.yml
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Notice: The fact-playbook.yml requires Python to be installed on the Windows Server and the path to the python interpreter added to the list of [windows:vars] in src/inventory.ini as ansible_python_interpreter. This will most likely be set to C:/Python39.

Closing

Ansible is a fantastic tool for Infrastructure automation and management. This article is based off of a project I worked on as a Microsoft Commercial Software Engineer. If this kind of work interests you, CSE is hiring across the world for a variety of roles. Visit https://aka.ms/csejobs for details.

Cover Image by unDraw

Windows OpenSSH Guides

These guides should help in setting up Windows Server 2019 with OpenSSH. Make sure you copy over the same ssh key used by Ansible in this demo. If you're following these guides in context of this demo you'll need to allow public RDP access to the Windows instance in order to enable OpenSSH.

Personal Scratchpad

This section contains a bunch of commands I used for completing the operations listed in the demo. They were written and used on macOS 10.15.7, so they are not guaranteed to work on other platforms.

main_vm_public_ip=<insert main host ip here>

# create a local .ssh folder
mkdir .ssh

# generate an empty passphrase ssh key in the local folder
ssh-keygen -q -m PEM -t rsa -b 4096 -N '' -f ./.ssh/id_rsa <<<y 2>&1 >/dev/null

# copy the contents of the key file into the clipboard; use this key when creating the VMs in Azure Portal
pbcopy < ./.ssh/id_rsa.pub

# copy over the physical keys for ansible main-main and main-worker connections
scp -i ./.ssh/id_rsa -r ./.ssh/ azureuser@"$main_vm_public_ip":~/

# copy over the src files for the demo
scp -i ./.ssh/id_rsa -r ./src/ azureuser@"$main_vm_public_ip":~/

# ssh into main
ssh -i ./.ssh/id_rsa azureuser@"$main_vm_public_ip"

# install ansible
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ansible/ansible
sudo apt update
sudo apt install ansible

# run the ansible-playbooks
ansible-playbook -i ./src/inventory.ini ./src/hello-world-playbook.yml
ansible-playbook -i ./src/inventory.ini ./src/fact-playbook.yml
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