Build Ansible Tower Container

After creating my Jenkins container I thought it would be fun to run Ansible Tower in a container so I created a simple Dockerfile. First you need find out the latest Ansible Tower version: and update the version variable in the Dockerfile.

Here is my Dockerfile:


The passwords can be changed in the inventory file:


Let’s start by building the container:

git clone && cd ansible-tower-docker/
docker build -t berndonline/ansible-tower .

The docker build will take a few minutes, just wait and look out for errors you might have in the build:

[email protected]:~$ git clone
Cloning into 'ansible-tower-docker'...
remote: Enumerating objects: 17, done.
remote: Counting objects: 100% (17/17), done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (11/11), done.
remote: Total 17 (delta 4), reused 14 (delta 4), pack-reused 0
Unpacking objects: 100% (17/17), done.
[email protected]:~$ cd ansible-tower-docker/
[email protected]:~/ansible-tower-docker$ docker build -t berndonline/ansible-tower .
Sending build context to Docker daemon  87.04kB
Step 1/31 : FROM ubuntu:16.04
16.04: Pulling from library/ubuntu
7b8b6451c85f: Pull complete
ab4d1096d9ba: Pull complete
e6797d1788ac: Pull complete
e25c5c290bde: Pull complete
Digest: sha256:e547ecaba7d078800c358082088e6cc710c3affd1b975601792ec701c80cdd39
Status: Downloaded newer image for ubuntu:16.04
 ---> a51debf7e1eb
Step 2/31 : USER root
 ---> Running in cf5d606130cc
Removing intermediate container cf5d606130cc
 ---> d5b11ed84885
Step 3/31 : WORKDIR /opt
 ---> Running in 1e6703cec6db
Removing intermediate container 1e6703cec6db
 ---> 045cf04ebc1d
Step 4/31 : ARG ANSIBLE_TOWER_VER=3.3.1-1
 ---> Running in 6d65bfe370d4
Removing intermediate container 6d65bfe370d4
 ---> d75c246c3a5c
Step 5/31 : ARG PG_DATA=/var/lib/postgresql/9.6/main
 ---> Running in e8856051aa92
Removing intermediate container e8856051aa92
 ---> 02e6d7593df8


PLAY [Install Tower isolated node(s)] ******************************************
skipping: no hosts matched

PLAY RECAP *********************************************************************
localhost                  : ok=125  changed=64   unreachable=0    failed=0

The setup process completed successfully.
Setup log saved to /var/log/tower/setup-2018-11-21-20:21:37.log
Removing intermediate container ad6401292444
 ---> 8f1eb28f16cb
Step 27/31 : ADD /
 ---> 8503e666ce9c
Step 28/31 : RUN chmod +x /
 ---> Running in 8b5ca24a320a
Removing intermediate container 8b5ca24a320a
 ---> 60810dc2a4e3
Step 29/31 : VOLUME ["${PG_DATA}", "${AWX_PROJECTS}","/certs"]
 ---> Running in d836e5455bd5
Removing intermediate container d836e5455bd5
 ---> 3968430a1814
Step 30/31 : EXPOSE 80
 ---> Running in 9a72815e365b
Removing intermediate container 9a72815e365b
 ---> 3613ced2a80c
Step 31/31 : ENTRYPOINT ["/", "ansible-tower"]
 ---> Running in 4611a90aff1a
Removing intermediate container 4611a90aff1a
 ---> ce89ea0753d4
Successfully built ce89ea0753d4
Successfully tagged berndonline/ansible-tower:latest

Continue to create a Docker Volume container to store the Postgres database:

sudo docker create -v /var/lib/postgresql/9.6/main --name tower-data berndonline/ansible-tower /bin/true

Start the Ansible Tower Docker container:

sudo docker run -d -p 32456:80 --volumes-from tower-data --name ansible-tower --privileged --restart berndonline/ansible-tower

Afterwards you can connect to http://<your-ip-address>:32456/ and import your Tower license. Ansible provides a free 10 node license which you can request here:

The Ansible Tower playbook installs an Nginx reverse proxy and you can enable SSL by setting the variable nginx_disable_https to false in the inventory file, and publish the container via 443 instead of 80.

Please share your feedback and leave a comment.

Build Jenkins Container with Terraform and Ansible

I thought it might be interesting to show how to build a Docker container running Jenkins and tools like Terraform and Ansible. I am planning to use a Jenkins pipeline to deploy my OpenShift 3.11 example on AWS using Terraform and Ansible but more about this in the next post.

I am using the source Dockerfile from Jenkins and modified it, and added Ansible and Terraform: Below you see a few variables you might need to change depending on the version you are trying to use or where to place the volume mount. Have a look here for the latest Jenkins version:

Here is my Dockerfile:

ARG JENKINS_HOME=/var/jenkins_home
ARG JENKINS_SHA=a4335cc626c1f64da61a20174af654283d171b255a928bbacb6402a315e213d7

Let’s start and clone my Jenkins Docker repository  and run docker build:

git clone && cd ./jenkins-docker/
docker build -t berndonline/jenkins .

The docker build will take a few minutes, just wait and look out for error you might have with the build:

[email protected]:~/jenkins-docker$ docker build -t berndonline/jenkins .
Sending build context to Docker daemon  141.3kB
Step 1/51 : FROM openjdk:8-jdk
8-jdk: Pulling from library/openjdk
54f7e8ac135a: Pull complete
d6341e30912f: Pull complete
087a57faf949: Pull complete
5d71636fb824: Pull complete
9da6b28682cf: Pull complete
203f1094a1e2: Pull complete
ee38d9f85cf6: Pull complete
7f692fae02b6: Pull complete
eaa976dc543c: Pull complete
Digest: sha256:94bbc3357f995dd37986d8da0f079a9cd4b99969a3c729bad90f92782853dea7
Status: Downloaded newer image for openjdk:8-jdk
 ---> c14ba9d23b3a
Step 2/51 : USER root
 ---> Running in c78f75ca3d5a
Removing intermediate container c78f75ca3d5a
 ---> f2c6bb7538ea
Step 3/51 : RUN apt-get update && apt-get install -y git curl && rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/*
 ---> Running in 4cc857e12f50
Ign:1 stretch InRelease
Get:2 stretch/updates InRelease [94.3 kB]
Get:3 stretch-updates InRelease [91.0 kB]
Get:4 stretch Release [118 kB]
Get:5 stretch/updates/main amd64 Packages [459 kB]
Get:6 stretch Release.gpg [2434 B]
Get:7 stretch-updates/main amd64 Packages [5152 B]
Get:8 stretch/main amd64 Packages [7089 kB]
Fetched 7859 kB in 1s (5540 kB/s)
Reading package lists...
Reading package lists...
Building dependency tree...


Step 49/51 : ENTRYPOINT ["/sbin/tini", "--", "/usr/local/bin/"]
 ---> Running in 28da7c4bf90a
Removing intermediate container 28da7c4bf90a
 ---> f380f1a6f06f
Step 50/51 : COPY /usr/local/bin/
 ---> 82871f0df0dc
Step 51/51 : COPY /usr/local/bin/
 ---> feea9853af70
Successfully built feea9853af70
Successfully tagged berndonline/jenkins:latest
[email protected]b:~/jenkins-docker$

The Docker container is successfully build:

[email protected]:~/jenkins-docker$ docker images
REPOSITORY                  TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
berndonline/jenkins         latest              cd1742c317fa        6 days ago          1.28GB

Let’s start the Docker container:

docker run -d -v /var/jenkins_home:/var/jenkins_home -p 32771:8080 -p 32770:50000 berndonline/jenkins

Quick check that the container is successfully created:

[email protected]:~/jenkins-docker$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                 COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                                               NAMES
7073fa9c0cd4        berndonline/jenkins   "/sbin/tini -- /usr/…"   5 days ago          Up 7 seconds>8080/tcp,>50000/tcp   jenkins

Afterwards you can connect to http://<your-ip-address>:32771/ and do the initial Jenkins configuration, like changing admin password and install needed plugins. I recommend putting an Nginx reverse proxy with SSL infront to secure Jenkins properly.

So what about updates or changing the configuration? – Pretty easy; because we are using a Docker bind mount to /var/jenkins_home/, all the Jenkins related data is stored on the local file system of your server and you can re-create or re-build the container at anytime.

I hope you like this article about how to create your down Jenkins Docker container. In my next post I will create a very simple Jenkins pipeline to deploy OpenShift 3.11 on AWS using Terraform.

Please share your feedback and leave a comment.

Automate Ansible AWX configuration using Tower-CLI

Some time has gone by since my article about Getting started with Ansible AWX (Open Source Tower version) , and I wanted to continue focusing on AWX and show how to automate the configuration of an AWX Tower server.

Before we configure AWX we should install the tower-cli. You can find more information about the Tower CLI here: I also recommend having a look at the tower-cli documentation:

sudo pip install ansible-tower-cli

The tower-cli is very useful when you want to monitor the running jobs. The web console is not that great when it comes to large playbook and is pretty slow at showing the running job state. See below the basic configuration before you start using the tower-cli:

[email protected]:~$ tower-cli config host
Configuration updated successfully.
[email protected]:~$ tower-cli login admin
 "id": 1,
 "type": "o_auth2_access_token",
 "url": "/api/v2/tokens/1/",
 "created": "2018-09-15T17:41:23.942572Z",
 "modified": "2018-09-15T17:41:23.955795Z",
 "description": "Tower CLI",
 "user": 1,
 "refresh_token": null,
 "application": null,
 "expires": "3018-01-16T17:41:23.937872Z",
 "scope": "write"
Configuration updated successfully.
[email protected]:~$ 

But now let’s continue and show how we can use the tower-cli to configure and monitor Ansible AWX Tower.

Create a project:

tower-cli project create --name "My Project" --description "My project description" --organization "Default" --scm-type "git" --scm-url ""

Create an inventory:

tower-cli inventory create --name "My Inventory" --organization "Default"

Add hosts to an inventory:

tower-cli host create --name "localhost" --inventory "My Inventory" --variables "ansible_connection: local"

Create credentials:

tower-cli credential create --name "My Credential" --credential-type "Machine" --user "admin"

Create a Project Job Template:

tower-cli job_template create --name "My Job Template" --project "My Project" --inventory "My Inventory" --job-type "run" --credential "My Credential" --playbook "hello_world.yml" --verbosity "default"

After we successfully created everything let’s now run the job template and monitor the output via the tower-cli:

tower-cli job launch --job-template "My Job Template"
tower-cli job monitor <ID>

Command line output:

[email protected]:~$ tower-cli job launch --job-template "My Job Template"
Resource changed.
== ============ =========================== ======= =======
id job_template           created           status  elapsed
== ============ =========================== ======= =======
26           15 2018-10-12T12:22:48.599748Z pending 0.0
== ============ =========================== ======= =======
[email protected]:~$ tower-cli job monitor 26
------Starting Standard Out Stream------

PLAY [Hello World Sample] ******************************************************

TASK [Gathering Facts] *********************************************************
ok: [localhost]

TASK [Hello Message] ***********************************************************
ok: [localhost] => {
    "msg": "Hello World!"

PLAY RECAP *********************************************************************
localhost                  : ok=2    changed=0    unreachable=0    failed=0

------End of Standard Out Stream--------
Resource changed.
== ============ =========================== ========== =======
id job_template           created             status   elapsed
== ============ =========================== ========== =======
26           15 2018-10-12T12:22:48.599748Z successful 8.861
== ============ =========================== ========== =======
[email protected]:~$

With the tower-cli commands we can write a simple playbook using the Ansible Shell module.

Playbook site.yml:

- hosts: localhost
  gather_facts: 'no'

    - name: Add tower project
      shell: |
        tower-cli project create \
        --name "My Project" \
        --description "My project description" \
        --organization "Default" \
        --scm-type "git" \
        --scm-url ""

    - name: Add tower inventory
      shell: |
        tower-cli inventory create \
        --name "My Inventory" \
        --organization "Default"

    - name: Add host to inventory
      shell: |
        tower-cli host create \
        --name "localhost" \
        --inventory "My Inventory" \
        --variables "ansible_connection: local"
    - name: Add credential
      shell: |
        tower-cli credential create \
        --name "My Credential" \
        --credential-type "Machine" \
        --user "admin"
    - name: wait 15 seconds to pull project SCM content
      wait_for: timeout=15
      delegate_to: localhost
    - name: Add job template
      shell: |
        tower-cli job_template create \
        --name "My Job Template" \
        --project "My Project" \
        --inventory "My Inventory" \
        --job-type "run" \
        --credential "My Credential" \
        --playbook "hello_world.yml" \
        --verbosity "default"

Let’s run the playbook:

[email protected]:~/awx-provision$ ansible-playbook site.yml

PLAY [localhost] **************************************************************************************************************************************************

TASK [Add tower project] ******************************************************************************************************************************************
changed: [localhost]

TASK [Add tower inventory] ****************************************************************************************************************************************
changed: [localhost]

TASK [Add host to inventory] **************************************************************************************************************************************
changed: [localhost]

TASK [Add credential] *********************************************************************************************************************************************
changed: [localhost]

TASK [wait 15 seconds to pull project SCM content] ****************************************************************************************************************
ok: [localhost -> localhost]

TASK [Add job template] *******************************************************************************************************************************************
changed: [localhost]

PLAY RECAP ********************************************************************************************************************************************************
localhost : ok=6 changed=5 unreachable=0 failed=0

[email protected]:~/awx-provision$

If you like this article, please share your feedback and leave a comment.

NetBox Open Source DCIM and IPAM tool

I wanted to share some information about an open source tool I have found some time ago which helps you to keep track of your infrastructure assets and configuration items. The name is NetBox which is an DCIM (Datacenter infrastructure management) and IPAM (IP address management) tool. NetBox was started by the network engineering team from DigitalOcean, specifically to address the needs of network and infrastructure engineers.

We all know that documentation is something no one wants to do, and no one has time for. What makes NetBox interesting is that not only does it focus on infrastructure documentation with a clean web console, it also comes with a API to push changes via the API , or use NetBox as dynamic inventory for Ansible.

Here a few screenshots showing the look and feel from NetBox:

The rack overview:

The IPAM module:

Here is an example how to add a device via the REST API, very useful if you use ZTP (zero touch provisioning) and add your switches or servers automatically to NetBox or in your automation scripts when you deploy configurations:

[email protected]:~$ curl -X POST -H "Authorization: Token fde02a67ca0c248bf5695bbf5cd56975add33655" -H "Content-Type: application/json" -H "Accept: application/json; indent=4" http://localhost:80/api/dcim/devices/ --data '{ "nae": "server-9", "display_name": "server-9", "device_type": 5, "device_role": 8 , "site": 1 }'
    "id": 21,
    "name": "server-9",
    "device_type": 5,
    "device_role": 8,
    "tenant": null,
    "platform": null,
    "serial": "",
    "asset_tag": null,
    "site": 1,
    "rack": null,
    "position": null,
    "face": null,
    "status": 1,
    "primary_ip4": null,
    "primary_ip6": null,
    "cluster": null,
    "virtual_chassis": null,
    "vc_position": null,
    "vc_priority": null,
    "comments": "",
    "created": "2018-04-16",
    "last_updated": "2018-04-16T14:40:47.787862Z"
[email protected]:~$

In the web console you see the device I have just added via the REST API:

On the main NetBox Github repository page you find links for a Ansible Role or Vagrant environment.

You can use NetBox as Ansible dynamic inventory and pull out hosts information dynamically when running playbooks. Check out the Github repository I have found.

sudo apt-get install python-setuptools ansible -y
git clone
cd ./netbox-as-ansible-inventory/
pip install -r ./requirements.txt
sudo python install

Usage with Ansible playbook

ansible-playbook -i ./site.yml

Please share your feedback and leave a comment.

Getting started with Ansible AWX (Open Source Tower version)

Ansible released AWX a few weeks ago, an open source (community supported) version of their commercial Ansible Tower product. This is a web-based graphical interface to manage Ansible playbooks, inventories, and schedule jobs to run playbooks.

The Github repository you find here:

Let’s start with the installation of Ansible AWX, very easy because everything is dockerized and see the install guide for more information.

Modify the inventory file under the installer folder and change the Postgres data folder which is otherwise located under /tmp, also change Postgres DB username and password if needed. I would recommend binding AWX to localhost and put an Nginx reverse proxy in front with SSL encryption.

Changes in the inventory file:


Start the build of the Docker container:

ansible-playbook -i inventory install.yml

After the Ansible Playbook run completes, you see the following Docker container:

[email protected]:~/awx/installer$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                     COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                                NAMES
26a73c91cb04        ansible/awx_task:latest   "/tini -- /bin/sh ..."   2 days ago          Up 24 hours         8052/tcp                             awx_task
07774696a7f2        ansible/awx_web:latest    "/tini -- /bin/sh ..."   2 days ago          Up 24 hours>8052/tcp             awx_web
981f4f02c759        memcached:alpine          "docker-entrypoint..."   2 days ago          Up 24 hours         11211/tcp                            memcached
4f4a3141b54d        rabbitmq:3                "docker-entrypoint..."   2 days ago          Up 24 hours         4369/tcp, 5671-5672/tcp, 25672/tcp   rabbitmq
faf07f7b4682        postgres:9.6              "docker-entrypoint..."   2 days ago          Up 24 hours         5432/tcp                             postgres
[email protected]:~/awx/installer$

Install Nginx:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nginx
sudo rm /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default

Create Nginx vhosts configuration:

sudo vi /etc/nginx/sites-available/awx
server {
    listen 443 ssl;

    ssl on;
    ssl_certificate /etc/nginx/ssl/;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/nginx/ssl/;

    location / {
        proxy_set_header Host $host;
        proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;

Create symlink in sites enable to point to awx config:

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/awx /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/awx

Reload Nginx to apply configuration:

sudo systemctl reload nginx

Afterwards you are able to login with username “admin” and password “password”:

I created a simple job for testing with AWX, you first start to create a project, credentials and inventories. The project points to your Git repository:

Under the job you configure which project, credentials and inventories to use:

Once saved you can manually trigger the job, it first pulls the latest playbook from your version control repository and afterwards executes the configured Ansible playbook:

The job details look very similar if you run an playbook on the CLI:

Ansible AWX is a very useful tool if you need to manage different Ansible playbooks and do job scheduling if you are not already using other tools like Jenkins or Gitlab-CI. But even then it is a good addition to use AWX to run ad-hoc playbooks.

Check out my new articles about Automate Ansible AWX configuration using Tower-CLI and Build Ansible Tower Container.

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