Book Image

Mastering Ansible, 4th Edition - Fourth Edition

By : James Freeman, Jesse Keating
Book Image

Mastering Ansible, 4th Edition - Fourth Edition

By: James Freeman, Jesse Keating

Overview of this book

Ansible is a modern, YAML-based automation tool (built on top of Python, one of the world’s most popular programming languages) with a massive and ever-growing user base. Its popularity and Python underpinnings make it essential learning for all in the DevOps space. This fourth edition of Mastering Ansible provides complete coverage of Ansible automation, from the design and architecture of the tool and basic automation with playbooks to writing and debugging your own Python-based extensions. You'll learn how to build automation workflows with Ansible’s extensive built-in library of collections, modules, and plugins. You'll then look at extending the modules and plugins with Python-based code and even build your own collections — ultimately learning how to give back to the Ansible community. By the end of this Ansible book, you'll be confident in all aspects of Ansible automation, from the fundamentals of playbook design to getting under the hood and extending and adapting Ansible to solve new automation challenges.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Section 1: Ansible Overview and Fundamentals
Section 2: Writing and Troubleshooting Ansible Playbooks
Section 3: Orchestration with Ansible

Accessing external data

Data for role variables, play variables, and task variables can also come from external sources. Ansible provides a mechanism in which to access and evaluate data from the control machine (that is, the machine running ansible-playbook). The mechanism is called a lookup plugin, and a number of them come with Ansible. These plugins can be used to look up or access data by reading files, generate and locally store passwords on the Ansible host for later reuse, evaluate environment variables, pipe data in from executables or CSV files, access data in the Redis or etcd systems, render data from template files, query dnstxt records, and more. The syntax is as follows:

lookup('<plugin_name>', 'plugin_argument') 

For example, to use the mastery value from etcd in an ansible.builtin.debug task, execute the following command:

- name: show data from etcd 
    msg: "{{ lookup('etcd', 'mastery') }}" 

Lookups are evaluated when the task referencing them is executed, which allows for dynamic data discovery. To reuse a particular lookup in multiple tasks and reevaluate it each time, a playbook variable can be defined with a lookup value. Each time the playbook variable is referenced, the lookup will be executed, potentially providing different values over time.