Run Ansible during provisioning

Run an Ansible Playbook during VM provisioning

With the integration of Ansible into CloudForms, we want to make it easier for customers and partners to modify out of the box behavior and make it easy to integrate with third party solutions.

In this part of the lab, we want to run an Ansible Playbook during VM provisioning to show how to modify the State Machine and how we can use Ansible Playbooks.

Create a new Automate Domain

Since the Automate Domains shipped with CloudForms are read only, we have to create our own Domain first.

Navigate to Automation -> Automate

Navigate to Automate

Click on Configuration -> Add a new Domain

add new automate domain

Enter the following details:

Name: Lab

Description: Lab Domain

Enabled: Check

add new lab domain

Click Add

Copy VM Provisioning State Machine

To be able to make changes to the State Machine, we have to copy it to our writeable Domain first.

Navigate to the VM Provisioning State Machine:

ManageIQ -> Infrastructure -> VM -> Provisioning -> StateMachines -> VMProvision_VM -> Provision VM from Template (template)

navigate to provision from template

Click on Configuration -> Copy this Instance

copy provision from template instance

Make sure you highlight the “Provision VM from Template (template)” instance when initiating the copy!

Accept the defaults when confirming the copy

copy prevision from

Click Copy to confirm

After the copy was completed, you should see a confirmation page

confirmation of copy

Copy CheckProvisioned Method

The out of the box code of CloudForms will assume a VM was properly created, when it was successfully copied. Since we want to run an Ansible Playbook inside the deployed Virtual Machine, we have to add an additional check. The State Machine should only continue if the VM has an IP address assigned.

We also need a copy of the CheckProvisioned method, to do that, navigate to ManageIQ -> Infrastructure -> VM -> Provisioning -> StateMachines -> Methods -> CheckProvisioned (check_provisioned)

navigate to check provisioned

Click on Configuration -> Copy this Method

copy checkprovisioned Method

Keep the settings unmodified and click on Copy

copy checkprovisioned Method details

After the copy was created, you should see a confirmation message

copy checkprovisioned confirmation

Click on Configuration -> Edit this Method

edit check provisioned method

Add the end of the code, add the following snippet:

    vm = task.vm
    $evm.log("info","Current IP Addresses: #{vm.ipaddresses}") unless vm.nil?
    $evm.log("info", "VM is still nil") if vm.nil?

    if not vm.nil?
      if task.destination.ipaddresses.empty?
        $evm.root['ae_result']         = 'retry'
        $evm.root['ae_retry_interval'] = '1.minute'

This code will go into an additional retry, if the Virtual Machine does not have an IP address (yet).

The method should look like this now.

updated check provisioned method

Click on Validate to perform a basic syntax check and Save if no errors were found.

Create the Ansible Playbook Method

Starting with CloudForms 4.6 we can create Methods of type “Playbook” which, instead of running Ruby code, execute an Ansible Playbook.

Click on the Methods Class and then the Methods tab in the right part of the window

navigate to methods class

Create a new Method to run an Ansible Playbook. Click on Configuration -> Add a new Method

add new Ansible method

Switch the Method Type to “Playbook”

select playbook method type

Use the following details to fill out the form.

Name: install_package

Display Name: Install Package

Repository: GitLab

Playbook: playbooks/InstallPackage.yml

Machine Credentials: Virtual Machine Credentials

Hosts: Specify host values and enter the following string into the text field:


Pay attention to the special characters or the Playbook will not be executed on the correct Virtual Machine! The expression will configure CloudForms to use the first IP addresses of the provisioned Virtual Machine as the limit parameter when executing the Playbook.

Max TTL (mins): 30

Enter the following Input Parameters:

Input Name: package_name

Default Value: httpd

Don’t forget to click on the blue plus (+) icon to save the Input Parameter

Click Add to create the Ansible Playbook Method

create ansible playbook method

create ansible playbook method

To be able to call the Method from a StateMachine, we need an associated Instance. Click on the Instances tab and Configuration -> Add a new Instance

add new playbook instance

Enter the following details into the Dialog:

Name: install_package

Display Name: Install Package

Fields: In the table search the row “execute” and put “install_package” into the “value” field

add execute value

Click Add to save the Instance

Modify the Schema

To run the Ansible Playbook during Virtual Machine Provisioning, we have to add an additional state to the State Machine.

Click on the VMProvision_VM class

click on VMProvision_VM class

Switch to the Schema tab of the page

edit provision class schema

Click on Configuration -> Edit selected Schema

edit selected schema

Add a new row with the following details:

Name: InstallPackage

Type: State

Data Type: String

Default Value: /Infrastructure/VM/Provisioning/StateMachines/Methods/install_package

Click the little plus symbol at the beginning of the row to apply the change

Click Save to save the new Schema

After the change was applied, the updated Schema should look like this:

after updating schema

There is a new line “InstallPackage” at the bottom of the table

Do not try to continue with the next step, if you do not see the new “InstallPackage” line.

Change Schema Sequence

To execute this new state after the Virtual Machine was created, we have to change the sequence.

Click on Configuration -> Edit Sequence

edit sequence of VM provisioning

Use the arrow buttons to move the line “InstallPackage” between “CheckProvisioned” and “PostProvision”.

modify InstallPackage state in sequence

Click Save to apply the Schema sequence change

Test the updated Virtual Machine Provisioning State Machine

We want to verify the applied changed by deploying a Virtual Machine and check if httpd was actually installed properly.

Navigate to Compute -> Infrastructure -> Virtual Machines

navigate to infrastructure virtual machines

Click on Lifecycle -> Provision VMs

provision VMs

Select the “RHEL7” template

select rhel7 template

On the Requests tab the email address is the only required field. Enter your email address and optionally enter some data into the other fields as well

provisioning details

Switch to the Catalog tab and specify a VM name

Make sure to not use an existing name or provisioning will fail. You can use “changeme” and CloudForms will automatically assign a name to the Virtual Machine.

provisioning catalog

Switch to the Environment tab and check the following fields:

Choose Automatically: not selected

Datacenter: Default

Cluster: Default

Host: rhvh1

Datastore: data

provisioning environment

Click Submit to place your request

You will be redirected to the Requests page. You can use the Refresh button on the top of the page, since it does not automatically reload, to watch your request progressing.

In this lab environment, the Virtual Machine is not accessible directly from the internet. Choose one or more of the following options to verify the Playbook did execute

Open a remote Console: Navigate to the Virtual Machine you just ordered and click on Access -> VM Access

If you do this the first time, your Web Browser might block the Popup Window!

Perform Smart State Analysis: Navigate to the Virtual Machine you just ordered and click on Configuration -> Perform SmartState Analysis. The action can take a few minutes to complete. After it finished, you should see the list of installed packages and can verify httpd is on the list

Check the log files: First you will have to SSH into the workstation and from there you can log into CloudForms. You should find the hostnames in the RHPDS details. The Ansible logs can be found in /var/lib/awx/job_status.