Mastering Ansible: Step-by-Step Guide to Create Customized Files with Real-Life Examples

Table of content

  1. Introduction
  2. Getting Started with Ansible
  3. Ansible Playbooks: A Basic Overview
  4. Variables and Facts in Ansible
  5. Working with Modules in Ansible
  6. Real-Life Examples of Ansible in Action
  7. Creating Customized Files with Ansible
  8. Best Practices for Using Ansible Effectively


Ansible is an open-source automation tool that simplifies the configuration management and deployment of IT infrastructure. It is designed to be simple, lightweight, and scalable, making it an ideal tool for managing large and complex systems. With Ansible, you can automate the deployment of applications, manage networks, and perform various other IT-related tasks with ease.

In this guide, we will walk you through the basics of Ansible and teach you how to create customized files with real-life examples. Our step-by-step approach will help you understand the core concepts of Ansible and how it can be used to automate your IT infrastructure. We will cover everything from setting up Ansible to creating playbooks and deploying applications.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced IT professional, this guide will help you master Ansible and take your IT automation skills to the next level. By the end of this guide, you will be able to create customized files, automate deployments, and manage your IT infrastructure with ease using Ansible. So, let's get started!

Getting Started with Ansible

Ansible is an open-source automation tool that simplifies the task of configuring and deploying software applications. It is designed to be easy to use, providing users with an intuitive interface that makes even complex operations relatively straightforward. In this section, we'll go over some of the basics of working with Ansible, including installation and setup, as well as some common use cases.

Installing Ansible

Before you can start using Ansible, you'll need to install it on your computer or server. Fortunately, this is a relatively simple process that can be completed quickly and easily. Here's how to install Ansible:

  1. Check your system requirements: Ansible requires Python 2 version 2.7 or later or Python 3 version 3.5 or later, as well as a Linux, UNIX, or Mac OS X system.

  2. Install Ansible: Ansible can be installed using various methods such as package manager or pip.

  3. Verify installation: Once you have installed Ansible, you can verify it by running the "ansible –version" command in your terminal.

Configuring Ansible

After installing Ansible, you'll need to configure it to work with your infrastructure. To do this, you will need to create an inventory file that lists all the servers and devices in your infrastructure that you want Ansible to manage. Here are the steps to configure Ansible:

  1. Create an inventory file: The inventory file can be a simple text file that lists the servers you want Ansible to manage. You can also define groups of servers in your inventory file.

  2. Configure SSH access: Ansible uses SSH to connect to your servers, so you'll need to configure SSH access for your users.

Common Use Cases

Ansible can be used for a wide range of tasks, from simple server administration to complex application deployments. Some common use cases for Ansible include:

  • Configuration management
  • Server administration
  • Application deployment
  • Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD)
  • Cloud provisioning

In summary, Ansible is a powerful tool that can help you automate your infrastructure, saving you time and effort. Once you have it installed and configured, you can use it to manage your servers and applications in a much more efficient way, allowing you to focus on more important tasks.

Ansible Playbooks: A Basic Overview

Ansible is a powerful configuration management tool that enables IT professionals to automate a broad range of infrastructure tasks. Ansible Playbooks are a key feature of the tool, allowing users to define how tasks should be accomplished and in what order.

Here are a few characteristics of Ansible Playbooks:

  • Playbooks are written in YAML format, allowing users to write code in a human-readable format.
  • Playbooks consist of a series of tasks and steps that are executed in order.
  • Playbooks can be used to perform a wide variety of tasks, such as software deployment, server configuration, and application installation.
  • Playbooks can be customized to meet specific needs, making them highly flexible and adaptable.

Some common components of Ansible Playbooks include:

  • Tasks: a series of steps that need to be executed in order to accomplish a specific goal.
  • Handlers: a set of tasks that are only executed when a specific event occurs, such as a system reboot.
  • Variables: a way to store and reuse data across different tasks in the playbook.
  • Roles: a set of tasks and variables that can be reused across different playbooks, allowing for greater modularity and scalability.

Overall, Ansible Playbooks are an essential tool for IT professionals looking to automate their infrastructure management tasks. With their ease of use and flexibility, they enable users to create highly customized and efficient workflows that can save time and minimize errors.

Variables and Facts in Ansible

Variables and facts are two important concepts in Ansible that allow users to customize the execution of playbooks and roles.


Variables are used to store data that is required by Ansible during playbook execution. Variables can be defined at different levels, such as:

  • Global variables: These variables are defined in the inventory file or the command line when executing a playbook. They are accessible from any host and can be used to customize the behavior of tasks or roles.
  • Play-level variables: These variables are defined at the beginning of a playbook and are accessible only within that play. They can be used to customize the behavior of tasks within that play.
  • Task-level variables: These variables are defined at the task level and are accessible only within that task. They are used to customize the behavior of that specific task.

Variables can be defined in Ansible in different ways:

  • Inline variables: These variables are defined within the task itself using curly braces "{{ }}" around the variable name. For example: debug: msg="{{ my_var }}".
  • Variable files: These are separate files containing variables that are used by playbooks or roles. They are defined in YAML format and can be referenced using the "vars_files" keyword in the playbook or role.
  • Inventory variables: Variables can also be defined in the inventory file using the "host_vars" or "group_vars" directories. These variables are specific to a host or a group of hosts.


Facts are similar to variables, but they are automatically collected by Ansible during playbook execution. Facts represent information about the system being managed, such as network interfaces, operating system, architecture, and more.

Facts can be accessed using the "{{ }}" syntax, and are automatically populated by Ansible. For example, "{{ ansible_distribution }}" would show the name of the distribution being used on the target host.

Using playbooks and roles allows for a high degree of customization and flexibility. By defining variables and using facts, users can ensure that their playbooks and roles are easily reusable across different hosts and environments.

Working with Modules in Ansible

One of the key features of Ansible is the large number of built-in modules that it offers. These modules are like pre-packaged units of code that allow you to execute various tasks on remote systems. Here are a few things to keep in mind when :

Understanding Modules

Modules in Ansible are written in Python and can be used to perform a wide range of tasks, from creating and managing users to installing software packages and configuring network settings. There are already over 1,400 modules that have been contributed to Ansible by the community, with many more being added all the time.

Using Modules

Using a module in Ansible is as simple as specifying the name of the module in your playbook, along with any options or parameters that you want to pass to it. For example, to install the Apache web server on a remote system, you could use the yum module as follows:

- name: Install Apache web server
    name: httpd
    state: present

In this example, the yum module is used to install the httpd package on the remote system, and the state option is set to present to ensure that the package is installed if it is not already present.

Creating Custom Modules

While Ansible provides a large number of built-in modules, you may find that you need to create your own custom modules for certain tasks. Fortunately, Ansible makes this process relatively easy. Custom modules can be written in any language that can read and write JSON, but Python is the most commonly used language for this purpose. Once created, custom modules can be distributed and used just like any of the built-in modules.

is a powerful way to automate tasks and manage systems at scale. By taking advantage of the wide range of modules that are available and by creating your own custom modules when needed, you can streamline your operations and free up more time for other tasks.

Real-Life Examples of Ansible in Action

Ansible is a powerful automation tool that can streamline complex tasks and reduce the time and effort required for system administration. Here are some :

  • Infrastructure provisioning: Ansible can be used to provision cloud infrastructure, such as virtual machines and containers, on platforms like AWS and Docker. This can be done at scale and with minimal effort, allowing teams to more easily deploy and manage their infrastructure.

  • Application deployment: Ansible can automate the deployment of applications and their dependencies, ensuring consistency and reliability across different environments. This can help to reduce the risk of errors and downtime, and can enable faster deployment of updates and new features.

  • Configuration management: Ansible can manage the configuration of servers, applications, and other components of a system. This can include tasks such as setting up firewall rules, installing software packages, and configuring network settings.

  • Security management: Ansible can automate security-related tasks, such as updating SSL certificates, managing user accounts and access control, and generating security reports. This can help to ensure that systems are secure and compliant with relevant regulations.

  • DevOps toolchain integration: Ansible can be integrated with other DevOps tools, such as Jenkins and Git, to provide a seamless, end-to-end automation workflow. This can help teams to streamline their development and deployment processes, and to more easily manage their entire toolchain.

Overall, Ansible is a versatile tool that can be used in a variety of ways to help organizations automate their IT operations. By providing a step-by-step guide to creating customized files and real-life examples, this book can help readers to get up and running with Ansible quickly and effectively.

Creating Customized Files with Ansible

Ansible is a powerful tool that can help automate IT tasks such as provisioning, configuration management, and application deployment. Once you have mastered the basics of Ansible, you can use it to create customized files to suit your specific needs. In this section, we will explore how to create customized files with Ansible using real-life examples.

Variables and Templates

Variables and templates are two important components used to create customized files with Ansible.

Variables are a way to store data that can be used in Ansible playbooks. They can be defined in a variety of ways, including as a list, a dictionary, or a string. Variables can be defined globally or locally, and can be accessed throughout the playbook.

Templates are files that contain placeholders for variables. They are used to generate customized files based on predefined templates. When a template is processed, the placeholders are replaced with the corresponding variable values.

Creating Customized Files with Templates

To create a customized file using a template, follow these steps:

  1. Define your variables: Define the variables you want to use in your playbook. You can define variables at the playbook level or in a separate file.

  2. Create a template: Create a template file that contains placeholders for your variables. You can use Jinja2 syntax to define these placeholders.

  3. Generate the customized file: Use the template module to generate the customized file. The module takes two parameters: the path to the template file and the path to the output file. The placeholders in the template file are replaced with the corresponding variable values.

Real-Life Example

Let's consider an example of how to create a customized file using Ansible templates. Suppose you want to generate an Nginx configuration file that specifies the server name and location for your website. Here are the steps to do this:

  1. Define your variables: Define the server_name and document_root variables in your playbook.
  document_root: /var/www/example
  1. Create a template file: Create a template file that contains placeholders for your variables.
server {
  listen 80;
  server_name {{ server_name }};

  location / {
    root {{ document_root }};
    index index.html index.htm;
  1. Generate the customized file: Use the template module to generate the customized file.
- name: Generate Nginx Configuration
    src: nginx.conf.j2
    dest: /etc/nginx/sites-available/

This will generate an Nginx configuration file with the server name and document root specified in the variables. You can then use this file to configure your Nginx server.

In conclusion, is a powerful way to automate IT tasks and save time. With variables and templates, you can tailor your files to your specific needs and generate them automatically using Ansible playbooks.

Best Practices for Using Ansible Effectively

When it comes to using Ansible, there are certain best practices that you should keep in mind to make the most of this powerful automation tool. Here are a few key tips to help you use Ansible effectively:

1. Use playbooks for better organization:

Playbooks are essential to organizing your Ansible tasks into logical groups. When creating a playbook, define what tasks need to be performed and in what order. Remember that Ansible executes tasks in the order they are listed, so make sure they are in a logical order.

2. Use variables to make your code more flexible:

Variables in Ansible allow you to make your code more flexible by storing values that can be reused throughout your playbook. For example, you can define variables for the IP addresses of your servers or the version of software you are using. This makes it easier to update your playbook without rewriting your code.

3. Use roles to share code:

Roles are a way to package reusable code in Ansible. When creating a role, define specific tasks that can be executed on a host, such as installing packages or creating user accounts. Roles can then be shared and reused across different playbooks, making your code more modular and easier to maintain.

4. Use tags to perform targeted actions:

Ansible supports the use of tags to perform targeted actions on specific hosts or groups. Tags allow you to run specific tasks on specific hosts without having to run the entire playbook. This can be useful when making small changes to a specific group of hosts.

5. Use Ansible Galaxy for pre-built roles:

Ansible Galaxy is a repository of pre-built roles that can be downloaded and used in your own playbooks. These roles are designed to be reusable and can help you get started with Ansible quickly. Be sure to review the role carefully to make sure it meets your specific needs.

By keeping these best practices in mind, you can make the most of Ansible and increase your productivity as a developer. Remember that Ansible is a powerful automation tool that can simplify many of the repetitive tasks involved in managing infrastructure. By using Ansible effectively, you can save time and focus on the tasks that matter most.

Cloud Computing and DevOps Engineering have always been my driving passions, energizing me with enthusiasm and a desire to stay at the forefront of technological innovation. I take great pleasure in innovating and devising workarounds for complex problems. Drawing on over 8 years of professional experience in the IT industry, with a focus on Cloud Computing and DevOps Engineering, I have a track record of success in designing and implementing complex infrastructure projects from diverse perspectives, and devising strategies that have significantly increased revenue. I am currently seeking a challenging position where I can leverage my competencies in a professional manner that maximizes productivity and exceeds expectations.
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