I’m learning Ansible at the moment. In order to play around with it with in nice safe disposable environment, I’ve created an “Ansible playground” with Vagrant.

This assumes you already have Vagrant and Ansible installed.

Vagrant has an Ansible provisioner which can automatically run ansible when you vagrant up, but we’re not going to use that (for now); we’re just going to use vagrant to give us a VM we can play on.


First, create a project directory. Inside that directory, run:

$ vagrant init ubuntu/trusty64
$ vagrant up
$ mkdir ansible
$ mkdir ansible/roles
$ mkdir ansible/playbooks

In the vagrant output, notice the following lines:

==> default: Booting VM...
==> default: Waiting for machine to boot. This may take a few minutes...
    default: SSH address:
    default: SSH username: vagrant
    default: SSH auth method: private key

The SSH address is important - remember that IP and port; we’ll need them in a moment. Now create a file called ansible/hosts:

vagrant ansible_ssh_host= ansible_ssh_port=2222


This is an Ansible inventory file which tells Ansible how to connect to our vagrant VM. The ansible_ssh_port must be the port number from our vagrant up command, and ansible_ssh_host is the IP.

One more file to create. By default, Ansible goes looking for configuration in /etc/ansible. We want it to use our local inventory file, though, so create ./ansible.cfg:

host_key_checking = False
hostfile = ./ansible/hosts
roles_path = ./ansible/roles

This tells Ansible to use our custom hosts file (and to look for roles in the custom “roles” folder - we’ll get to that in a minute.) Now you should be able to run Ansible ad-hoc commands on your vagrant machine:

$ ansible all -m ping
vagrrant | success >> {
    "changed": false,
    "ping": "pong"

$ ansible all -a "/bin/echo hello"
vagrant | success | rc=0 >>

Running a Playbook

Now let’s use Ansible to install docker on our vagrant VM. We’ll use Paul Durivage’s Docker role for this. First, we install the role in ./ansible/roles:

$ ansible-galaxy install -p ./ansible/roles angstwad.docker_ubuntu

Now we need to create a playbook which uses this role. Create ./ansible/playbooks/docker.yml:

- name: Install pycurl
  hosts: all
  sudo: yes
    apt: pkg=python-pycurl update_cache=yes cache_valid_time=600

- name: Install Docker
  hosts: all
  sudo: yes
    - angstwad.docker_ubuntu

Run the playbook with:

$ ansible-playbook ./ansible/playbooks/docker.yml

This will take a few minutes, but when it’s done, let’s see if it worked!

$ vagrant ssh
vagrant$ sudo docker pull ubuntu:12.04
Pulling repository ubuntu

vagrant$ sudo docker run ubuntu:12.04 echo "Hello world"
Hello world

Vagrant Provisioner

Now let’s get Vagrant to provision our VM for us. First, we need to modify our vagrant file to look like this:


Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.box = "ubuntu/trusty64"

  config.vm.provision "ansible" do |ansible|
    ansible.playbook = "ansible/playbooks/docker.yml"

Vagrant will create an inventory file for you in .vagrant/provisioners/ansible/inventory/vagrant_ansible_inventory, so update ansible.cfg too look like:

host_key_checking = False
hostfile = .vagrant/provisioners/ansible/inventory/vagrant_ansible_inventory
roles_path = ./ansible/roles

Now run:

$ vagrant provision

And vagrant will converge your VM with Ansible.