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: https://github.com/ansible/tower-cli. I also recommend having a look at the tower-cli documentation: https://tower-cli.readthedocs.io/en/latest/

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 94.130.51.22
Configuration updated successfully.
[email protected]:~$ tower-cli login admin
Password:
{
 "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 "https://github.com/ansible/ansible-tower-samples"

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'

  tasks:
    - name: Add tower project
      shell: |
        tower-cli project create \
        --name "My Project" \
        --description "My project description" \
        --organization "Default" \
        --scm-type "git" \
        --scm-url "https://github.com/ansible/ansible-tower-samples"

    - 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$

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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: https://github.com/ansible/awx

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:

postgres_data_dir=/var/lib/postgresql/data/
host_port=127.0.0.1:8052

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         127.0.0.1:8052->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;
    server_name awx.domain.com;

    ssl on;
    ssl_certificate /etc/nginx/ssl/awx.domain.com-cert.pem;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/nginx/ssl/awx.domain.com-key.pem;

    location / {
        proxy_pass http://127.0.0.1:8052;
        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 article about Automate Ansible AWX configuration using Tower-CLI

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