Difficulty: Beginner
Estimated Time: 10 minutes

What is Ansible?

Ansible is a radically simple IT automation engine that automates cloud provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, intra-service orchestration, and many other IT needs.

What will I learn in this tutorial?

You will learn how to use Ansible to configure a Linux host.

Hint: You can click on many of the commands to run them directly

Well done! 🎉

You've taken your first steps with Ansible. Look out for new tutorials here on Katacoda.

Read the docs to find out how to run Ansible on your own machine!

Feel free to send any feedback on this tutorial to @jonatanblue.


Step 1 of 6

Tasks and hosts

Ansible runs tasks on hosts, and all you need is SSH. In other words, Ansible runs in one place (your laptop, or a deploy box like Rundeck or Tower, or somewhere else), opens up SSH connections to your remote hosts and then runs commands directly on them.

What is a task?

A task can be anything from creating a bucket in AWS S3, to launching an instance in Azure, installing pip on a server, updating a config file, or simply checking the time on a remote host. In this tutorial we focus on tasks to configure a remote Ubuntu host.

For example, this task installs pip on Ubuntu:

- name: ensure pip is installed
      name: python-pip
      state: installed

Every task uses a module. Here we use the apt module, a wrapper for the apt package manager, letting you specify what to do in YAML syntax. There are hundreds of different modules included in Ansible.

What is a host?

The host is where the tasks get run. It can be any number of remote hosts that you have SSH access to, or localhost.

Your hosts respective IP addresses or hostnames need to be stored in an inventory file for Ansible to be aware of them. Later when you run Ansible, you will specify one or more hosts, or groups of hosts, defined in the inventory file.