Tales of an Ansible Newb: Ch0.1 – What are these blog posts?

Last time I wrote about my first baby steps with Ansible, using it for ad hoc commands on multiple machines. When I first started working on Ansible three months ago, that was what 90% of my Ansible knowledge consisted of.

At work we were using Ansible to replace puppet as our configuration management system in Fedora Infrastructure but somehow I never understood the bigger picture of how it all fit together. Host_vars and group_vars and roles and inventory and playbooks that were included in other playbooks and playbooks that worked in conjunction with RHEL kickstart files to create a new host and playbooks that configured the hosts once they were created. And roles… where did roles fit into all of this?

Basically, the system at work was large and I had a hard time finding small enough pieces to master one at a time.

Now that I’m working on Ansible, I have an even larger need to understand how to use it. Code doesn’t exist in a vacuum; I need to know how people might use the code in order to better write the behaviours that they may want. So, on the theory that the best way to learn is by doing and having learned from the mistake of trying to understand too much all at once, I’ve started writing playbooks for my home network. Now, I’m not yet ambitious enough to try to replicate the production-quality or production goals that we had in an infrastructure like Fedora. I’m not (yet?) interested in tearing down my home network and provisioning it from scratch with Ansible. At the moment my ambition is simply to automate some repetitive tasks. As time goes on we’ll see what else happens 🙂

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