Mastering Ansible is a step-by-step journey of learning Ansible for configuration management and orchestration.
The course is designed as a journey through configuring a realistic application stack from the ground up. Instead of going page-by-page through the Ansible documentation, topics are ordered to align with the growing complexity of our application as we build it up and refactor it.
In addition to the core concepts of configuration with Ansible, we spend time on building tools to help us maintain and troubleshoot our application. The goal is to have a workflow where all of the configuration and troubleshooting is done through ansible playbooks that can be committed to a repository and improved over time.
The course is divided into 6 sections, starting with initial installation and foundational concepts. Starting in section 3, we build up a sample application environment layer-by-layer, learning a new concept in each lecture. After the application is up and running, we refactor our setup in section 4 with an emphasis on modularity and encapsulation. In section 5, we optimize our code and learn about techniques to reduce the playbook execution time. The course finishes with a final section on troubleshooting and testing.
For each lecture, we introduce a new Ansible concept and apply it to our playbooks. For most lectures, we execute the new concept in the demo environment so you can see what the output should look like. In the notes of each lecture, you'll find a link to the relevant documentation pages, along with a snapshot of the codebase at the end of that lecture.
This course was built with Ansible version 1.9.3, applied to a 3-tiered web application environment leveraging NGINX, Apache2, Python, and MySQL on Ubuntu Linux servers. We do not cover administering Windows servers in this course.
This course is designed as an introduction to Ansible, but also as a guide for engineers interested in configuration management, orchestration, infrastructure-as-code, and devops principles.
Welcome to Mastering Ansible!This lecture covers the course goals and format.The course is divided into 6 sections, starting with Environment Setup and Foundational Concepts.For the bulk of the course, we configure a realistic 3-tier web application, refactor it, and then optimize it.We finish the course with a section on testing and troubleshooting.Prior linux systems administration experience is expected.
Understand broad automation concepts: configuration management and orchestration.Configuration management is concerned with getting a single server into a desired state.Orchestration is focused on executing tasks in a specific order across one or many hosts.Throughout this course, we'll use Ansible to do both.
- Access to a control machine that can run Ansible
- Servers running Ubuntu Trusty (14.04) - 5 in total
- SSH keypair trusts from the control machine to all other nodes (so no password is required to login via ssh)
- Access via a user that has superuser (sudo) privileges on the end hosts
In the Appendix (Lecture 55), I provide details on the docker setup that I use throughout the course.In the materials below, is a Vagrantfile that can be used to create a similar vagrant setup.Rename "Vagrantfile.txt" to "Vagrantfile" and read the "README" comments inside of the file to get started.
- Install the Ansible tools using a package manager (apt-get for the Ubuntu-based demo environment)
- Test the installed binaries by checking the version on the command line
- The concept of the inventory file and how Ansible uses it
- The default Ansible inventory file format and location (/etc/ansible/hosts).
- Configure a local inventory file with hostnames and groups (dev)
- Configure a local config file to use the new inventory file by default (ansible.cfg)
- Use host patterns to target a subset of the full inventory: all, , <hostname>, <groupname>, :, !
- Learn about the basic building block of Ansible: the task.
- Understand the structure of tasks: modules and arguments.
- Execute ad-hoc tasks using the ansible command with the ping and command modules.
- Group tasks for a common set of hosts together into plays.
- Create our first playbook (hostname.yml) to encode the command task into an Ansible YAML file.
- Execute the hostname.yml playbook against hosts using the ansible-playbook command.
- Review the output of the ansible-playbook command.
- You should have a Linux or Mac OS X computer, or access to at lease one Linux virtual machine for installing Ansible.
- You'll need a code editor or IDE of your choice.
- You'll need a terminal and ssh client for running Ansible against target hosts.
- You should have access to 5 Linux servers (bare-metal or virtual machine) if you want to setup the course environment and follow along step-by-step.
- Execute ad-hoc commands against servers using Ansible
- Write Ansible configuration playbooks to deploy a 3-tier web application
- Configure Ansible roles with tasks, handlers, files, templates, and default variables
- Write operational playbooks to check cluster status and perform a cluster restart.
- Optimize Ansible playbooks to reduce playbook execution time.
- Test and troubleshoot Ansible playbook execution.
I am an IT professional with a decade of experience in network, datacenter, cloud and systems operations. My expertise is in applying software development practices to infrastructure operations.
In the early days of my IT career, I worked at a large networking company administering devices to support Service Providers in the US and Canada. After several years of doing test and validation for SP Core Networks, I worked a project on a recently announced Data Center compute product and got hooked on Data Center technology. I moved on to support Data Center Solutions and became an expert on the full Data Center stack: firewalls, load-balancers, compute, network, storage, and virtualization. The balance of my time at the company was spent building out a major hosted cloud effort based on OpenStack, integrating principles and tools from the emerging DevOps movement.
I left corporate life to co-found a small software company, focused on reducing the pain of being an operations engineer in Cloud and Data Center environments. I teach on Udemy to help transfer my own lessons learned to others who are faced with managing complex server and network environments, and to explore ways to integrate software practice and lean methodologies with IT operations.