Cloud-init is a software developed to setup automatically a cloud virtual machine using metadata ingested and applied at the first boot or at a chosen frequency. All the magic happens through a #cloud-config YAML file.

#cloud-config already supports Ansible execution since ages

Yes, true ! But only through cc_runcmd module as follows

#cloud-config

packages:
  - git
  - ansible

runcmd:
  - [ git, clone, <some magic repo URL> ]
  - [ ansible-playbook, <magic playbook> ]

Alternatively, you can install Ansible through Python package manager (aka. pip)

#cloud-config

packages: 
  - git
  - ansible

runcmd:
  - [ python3, -m, pip, install, ansible ]
  - [ git, clone, <some magic repo URL> ]
  - [ ansible-playbook, <magic playbook> ]

Both methods work perfectly fine 🙂

New #cloud-config Ansible module: cc_ansible

Native cloud-init Ansible support offers not only better readability for our YAML file but also a huge operative advantage. As we can now execute, test, validate the execution of the Ansible playbooks in an isolated manner by executing the Ansible playbook as a standalone module:

[[email protected] ~]# cloud-init single --name cc_ansible
Cloud-init v. 22.4.2 running 'single' at Wed, 07 Dec 2022 20:48:32 +0000. Up 2457.30 seconds.
Starting Ansible Pull at 2022-12-07 21:48:35
/usr/bin/ansible-pull --url=https://oauth2:<GitHub access token>@github.com/jewdba/Ansible_OpenVPN-server.git playbooks/cloud-init_openvpn-server_setup.yml

PLAY [OpenVPN setup] ********************

TASK [Gathering Facts] *********************************************************
ok: [localhost]

TASK [Install eady-rsa package] ************************************************
changed: [localhost]
...

Indeed, the cc_ansible module is now available since the release 22.3.x and it goes even beyond a simple Ansible playbook execution.

Please refer to the documentation for details

https://cloudinit.readthedocs.io/en/latest/topics/modules.html#module-cloudinit.config.cc_ansib

#cloud-config an Ansible Control node

# cloud-config

ansible:
  install_method: pip
  package_name: ansible
  run_user: ansible
  setup_controller:
    repositories:
      - path: /home/ansible/
       source: <some magic repo URL>
    run_ansible:
      - playbook_dir: /home/ansible/<magit Ansible project>
        playbook_name: <magic playbook>

Looks promising isn’t it?

Hint: Checkout the documentation as you might misinterpret some parameters like run_user which works only in case Ansible has been installed with pip (install_method).

#cloud-config an Ansible managed node (ansible-pull)

This paragraph is probably the most interesting as you may want to cloud-init a machine with ansible-pull.

Let’s cloud-init an OpenVPN Rocky Linux 8 server:

#cloud-config

users:
  - name: ansible
    homedir: /home/ansible
    shell: /bin/bash
    sudo: 'ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD:ALL'
    ssh_authorized_keys:
      - <SSH plubic key to connect from your laptop>

packages:
  - unzip
  - epel-release
  - git

runcmd:
# fail2ban part of epel-release repo.
  - [/usr/bin/dnf, -y, install, fail2ban]
  - [/usr/bin/dnf, -y, update, google-osconfig-agent]
  - [/usr/bin/dnf, -y, update, google-guest-agent]
  - [/usr/bin/systemctl, restart, fail2ban]

write_files:
  - path: /etc/fail2ban/jail.d/sshd.conf
    permissions: '0640'
    owner: root
    content: |
      [sshd]
      enabled=true
      # don't block localhost, local machines
      ignoreip=127.0.0.1/8 192.168.0.1/16

ansible:
  install_method: distro
  package_name: ansible.noarch
  pull:
   #accept_host_key: true
    url: "https://oauth2:<GitHub access token>@github.com/jewdba/Ansible_OpenVPN-server.git"
    playbook_name: "playbooks/cloud-init_openvpn-server_setup.yml"

Quite clear isn’t it?

Almost the perfect combo

It’s definitively worth to invest some time of debugging in order to get everything done by cloud-init and the new cc_ansible module 🙂

Hereby some learnings which may help you to gain/save time:

  • RTFM ! Read the manual at least twice ! Especially, for the run_user parameter
    (only taken in account if install_method is set to pip)

  • Don’t trust the documentation examples 🙂 You need to set install_method and package_name whatever the chosen installation method.
    Hereby, the proof (snippet of cc_ansible python module)
  • Pay attention to the Ansible installation method (parameter install_method) and the tools you want to install (package_name) ! Depending, on your needs the ansible-core package may not be enough.

  • Use the exact package name while using native package manager of distrubution (install_method: distro) !

  • Last one but not least, run_user parameter does only apply to ansible command lines tools.
    The git repo checkout/clone is executed as root

Have fun with #Ansible and #cloud-init


Of course, the Ansible playbooks must be production grade upfront any cloud-init trials