Creating Custom Ansible Roles Using GPT

Updated on July 05, 2024

Lucas Carlson Cloved by Lucas Carlson and ChatGPT 4o
Creating Custom Ansible Roles Using GPT

As DevOps practices continue to evolve, the ability to automate configurations and deploy applications quickly has never been more important. Ansible, known for its simplicity and power, is a top choice for automation tasks in many organizations.

However, creating custom roles and playbooks can sometimes be a complex and time-consuming process. By combining human creativity and intuition with the processing capabilities of AI, particularly GPT, you can streamline your workflow. This post will guide you through incorporating GPT to create custom Ansible roles more efficiently and effectively.

Understanding Cloving

Cloving involves leveraging human creativity and intuition alongside AI’s computational strengths to achieve goals faster and more effectively. In the context of Ansible roles, cloving can simplify and enhance the process of creating, testing, and documenting roles, enabling you to focus on higher-level tasks.

1. Role Structure Generation

Creating the directory structure for an Ansible role manually can be tedious. GPT can assist in generating a well-structured scaffold for your role, ensuring all necessary files are in place.

Suppose you want to create a custom Ansible role for installing and configuring Nginx. You can prompt GPT:

Create the directory structure and default files for an Ansible role named 'nginx_setup'.

GPT might respond with:

├── defaults/
│   └── main.yml
├── handlers/
│   └── main.yml
├── tasks/
│   └── main.yml
├── templates/
│   └── nginx.conf.j2
├── files/
├── vars/
│   └── main.yml
└── meta/
    └── main.yml

This scaffold provides a solid foundation, ensuring all necessary components are included from the start.

2. Writing Tasks

Writing tasks for an Ansible role can be intricate, especially when dealing with complex configurations. GPT can help by generating task definitions based on your requirements.

If you need to install Nginx and ensure it starts on boot, you can ask GPT:

Write Ansible tasks to install Nginx and ensure it is enabled and started on a Debian-based system.

GPT can generate the necessary tasks for you:

# tasks/main.yml
- name: Install Nginx
    name: nginx
    state: present
    update_cache: yes

- name: Ensure Nginx is enabled and started
    name: nginx
    state: started
    enabled: true

This immediate output saves time and helps avoid common errors.

3. Template Generation

Creating templates for configuration files is another task where GPT can assist. You can describe the requirements and let GPT handle the initial templating.

If you need to create an nginx.conf.j2 template for your Nginx setup, you can prompt GPT:

Create an Nginx configuration template for a basic web server with a server block that listens on port 80.

GPT could provide a basic template like:

# templates/nginx.conf.j2
server {
    listen 80;
    server_name {{ server_name }};
    location / {
        root {{ doc_root }};
        index index.html index.htm;

This template can be further customized as needed, reducing the initial setup time.

4. Generating Documentation

Proper documentation is crucial for maintaining and sharing your Ansible roles. GPT can help generate clear and concise documentation.

After creating your role, you can ask GPT to generate a README:

Generate a README for the 'nginx_setup' Ansible role. Include installation instructions and example usage.

GPT might create:

# nginx_setup Ansible Role

This role installs and configures Nginx on Debian-based systems.

## Requirements

No specific requirements.

## Role Variables

Available variables are listed below, along with default values (see `defaults/main.yml`):

server_name: '_'
doc_root: '/var/www/html'

## Dependencies

No dependencies.

## Example Playbook

- hosts: webservers
    - role: nginx_setup
      server_name: 'your_domain_or_IP'
      doc_root: '/path/to/docroot'

5. Testing and Validation

Testing your Ansible roles is crucial for ensuring they work as expected. GPT can assist in generating test cases to validate your role.

Suppose you want to create Molecule tests for your Nginx role. You can ask GPT:

Generate Molecule tests to verify Nginx installation and service status for the 'nginx_setup' role.

GPT might respond with:

# molecule/default/molecule.yml
  name: galaxy
  name: docker
  - name: instance
    image: 'geerlingguy/docker-debian10-ansible:latest'
  name: ansible
  name: testinfra

# molecule/default/converge.yml
- name: Converge
  hosts: all
    - role: nginx_setup

# molecule/default/tests/
def test_nginx_is_installed(host):
    nginx = host.package("nginx")
    assert nginx.is_installed

def test_nginx_running_and_enabled(host):
    nginx = host.service("nginx")
    assert nginx.is_running
    assert nginx.is_enabled

These tests confirm that Nginx is installed and running, providing confidence in your role’s functionality.

6. Continuous Integration and Deployment (CI/CD)

Incorporating CI/CD practices into your Ansible role creation process ensures your roles are tested and validated continuously, catching errors early and maintaining high-quality standards.

You can use GitHub Actions to automate the testing of your Ansible roles. Prompt GPT:

How can I configure GitHub Actions to automate testing of my Ansible roles?

GPT might provide a GitHub Actions workflow file like:

# .github/workflows/ci.yml
name: CI

on: [push, pull_request]

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest

    - name: Checkout code
      uses: actions/checkout@v2

    - name: Install dependencies
      run: |
        sudo apt-get update
        sudo apt-get install -y python3-pip
        pip3 install molecule docker

    - name: Lint Ansible roles
      run: |
        ansible-lint .

    - name: Test with Molecule
      run: |
        molecule test

By setting up this CI workflow, you ensure that every push or pull request to your repository triggers a series of automated tests, resulting in more reliable and maintainable roles.

7. Deploying and Running the Playbook with GPT

Once you’ve created and validated your Ansible roles, the next step is deployment. GPT can assist you in crafting and executing playbooks to deploy applications or configurations seamlessly.

How can I deploy and run my Ansible roles?

GPT might provide a response like:

To deploy the playbook using Ansible, follow these steps:

1. **Ensure Inventory and Configuration:**
   Ensure you have an inventory file that lists your web servers. For example, create a file named `inventory`:

   webserver1 ansible_host=
   webserver2 ansible_host=

2. **Run the Playbook:**

   Execute the playbook using the `ansible-playbook` command:

   ansible-playbook -i inventory playbook.yml

This command tells Ansible to apply the playbook.yml configuration to all hosts listed in your inventory file.


Creating custom Ansible roles using GPT exemplifies the power of cloving—integrating human creativity and intuition with AI’s analytical capabilities. By incorporating GPT into your daily workflow, you can enhance your productivity, reduce errors, and maintain high-quality standards in your automation tasks. Embrace cloving and experience how this synergistic approach can transform your DevOps practices.

Bonus Follow-Up Prompts

Here are some additional prompts to further refine your workflow with GPT:

How can I configure GitHub Actions to automate testing of my Ansible roles?
Generate a sample playbook to use with the 'nginx_setup' role.
What are some additional best practices for writing Ansible roles?

By leveraging these prompts, you can unlock even more potential, making your Ansible role creation process even more efficient and effective.

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