Configuring Ansible Tower

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There are a number of constructs in the Ansible Tower UI that enable multi-tenancy, notifications, scheduling, etc. However, we are only going to focus on a few of the key constructs that are required for this workshop today.

Logging into Tower

Your Ansible Tower instance url and credentials were supplied to you on the page created for this workshop.

Your Ansible Tower license has already been applied for you, so after logging in you should now see the Dashboard.

Creating a Machine Credential

Credentials are utilized by Tower for authentication when launching jobs against machines, synchronizing with inventory sources, and importing project content from a version control system.

There are many types of credentials including machine, network, and various cloud providers. In this workshop, we are using a machine credential.

Step 1:

Select CREDENTIALS from the left hand panel under resources

Cred

Step 2:

Click the Add icon and add new credential

Step 3:

Complete the form using the following entries:

Key Value  
Name Student Account  
Organization Default  
Type Machine  
Username student# Replace # with your student number
Password ***** Replace with your student password

Add Machine Credential

Step 4:

Select SAVE Save

Create an SCM Credential

Our first credential was to access our Windows machines. We need another to access our source code repository. Repeat the process as above, but with the following details:

Key Value  
Name Git Credential  
Description SCM credential for playbook sync  
Organization Default  
Type Source Control  
Username student# Replace # with your student number
Password *** Replace *** with your student password

Select SAVE Save

Add SCM Credential

Creating a Project

A Project is a logical collection of Ansible playbooks, represented in Tower. You can manage playbooks and playbook directories by either placing them manually under the Project Base Path on your Tower server, or by placing your playbooks into a source code management (SCM) system supported by Tower, including Git, Subversion, and Mercurial.

Step 1:

A Project is a logical collection of Ansible playbooks, represented in Tower.

You can manage playbooks and playbook directories by either placing them manually on your Tower server, or by placing your playbooks into a source code management (SCM) system supported by Tower, including Git, Subversion, Mercurial, and Red Hat Insights.

In this environment, playbooks are stored in a git repository available on the workshop GitLab instance. Before a Project can be created in Ansible Tower, the git URL for the repository is needed. In order to obtain the URL to your project, login to the GitLab instance, select your workshop project and copy the https url presented after clicking the “Clone” button.

Proj Clone

The repo url will be used in Step 3

Step 2:

Click Projects on the left hand panel.

Proj

Click the Add icon and add new project

Step 3:

Complete the form using the following entries (using your student number in SCM URL)

Key Value  
Name Ansible Workshop Project  
Description Workshop playbooks  
Organization Default  
SCM Type Git  
SCM URL https://gitlab.WORKSHOP.rhdemo.io/student#/workshop_project.git URL obtained from Step 1
SCM BRANCH   Intentionally blank
SCM CREDENTIAL Git Credential  

SCM UPDATE OPTIONS

Defining a Project

Step 4:

Select SAVE Save

Step 5:

Scroll down and validate that project has been successfully synchronized against the source control repo upon saving. You should see a green icon next to the project name in the list view at the bottom of the page.

Succesfull Sync

Inventories

An inventory is a collection of hosts against which jobs may be launched. Inventories are divided into groups and these groups contain the actual hosts. Inventories may be sourced manually, by entering host names into Tower, or from one of Ansible Tower’s supported cloud providers.

A static Inventory has already been created for you today. We will now take a look at this inventory to show case the various features.

Step 1:

Click Inventories from the left hand panel. You will see the preconfigured Inventory listed. Click the Inventories’ name Workshop Inventory or the Edit button. Edit

Step 2:

You will now be viewing the Inventory. From here you can add Hosts, Groups, or even add Variables specific to this Inventory.

Edit Inventory

We will be viewing the hosts, so click the HOSTS button.

Step 3:

In the Hosts view, we can see every host associated with this inventory. You will also see which groups a host is associated with. Hosts can be associated with multiple groups. These groups can later then be used to narrow down to the exact hosts we will later run our playbooks on.

Hosts View

Step 4:

If you click the GROUPS button and then select the Windows group, you can inspect variables set at the group level that will apply to all hosts in that group.

Group Edit

Today, we have already defined a handful of variables to tell Ansible how to connect to hosts in this group. You do not have to define these variables as a Group variable here, they could also be Host variables or reside directly in your Template or Playbook. However, because these variables will be the same for ALL windows hosts in our environment, we defined them for the entire windows group.

By default, Ansible will attempt to use SSH to connect to any Host, so for Windows we need to tell it utilize a different connection method, in this case, WinRM.

ansible_connection: winrm

We also instruct Ansible to connect to the WinRM SSL port 5986 (the non-SSL port runs on 5985 but is unencrypted).

ansible_port: 5986

We also tell Ansible to ignore the WinRM cert, since our lab doesn’t have a proper certificate store setup.

ansible_winrm_server_cert_validation: ignore

Windows also has various authentication methods that we can utilize to connect. Here we tell Ansible to use the CredSSP Transport Method to authenticate to our Windows host:

ansible_winrm_transport: credssp

If you click the HOSTS button, you can view the hosts belonging to the windows group. If you click the link for the host on this page, you can view the host specific variables that have been defined.

Host Edit

ansible_host

This is the IP address of this particular server

ansible_password

This is the password needed to connect to this server

ansible_user

This is the username that Ansible will use along with the password to connect to this server

These variables are very host specific thus have been defined at the host level instead of at the group level.

You can find more information about these and other settings in our Windows Guides. The authentication settings are particularly important and you will need to review them and decide which method is best for your needs.



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