Worst Practice Lab VM Automation

Worst Practice Lab VM Automation

I’ve started the process of switching my lab over from unmanaged to ansible. I’ve used Puppet and Salt quite extensively through work, but after a handful of false starts with the lab, I think ansible is the way to go.g his is a series of what
many (including myself) would consider “worst practices”, but are more along the lines of “rapid iteration”. The goal here
is to get something working in a short period of time, without spending hours, days, or weeks researching best practices.
This is instead something someone can put together on a Sunday afternoon, in between chasing after a 3 year old.

These are a handful of manual steps, each of which could be easily automated once you determine your “starting point”.

Background: When I clone a VM in proxmox, it comes up with the hostname “xenial-template”. I should be able to do something like I do with cloud-init under kvm, but I haven’t gotten that far under the proxmox setup. Additionally, these hosts are not in dns until they are entered into the freeipa server. Joining a client to IPA will automatically create the entry. So the first thing I need to do to any VM is to set the hostname, fqdn, and then register it with IPA. My template
has a user called “yourtech”, which I can use to login and configure the VM.

First, create an ansible vault password file: echo secret> ~/.vault_pass.txt. Next, create an and inventory directory and setup an encrypted group_vars/all.

mkdir -p inventory/group_vars
touch inventory/group_vars/all

Add some common variables to all:

ansible_ssh_user: yourtech
ansible_ssh_pass: secret
ansible_sudo_pass: secret
freeipaclient_server: dc01.lab.ytnoc.net
freeipaclient_domain: lab.ytnoc.net
freeipaclient_enroll_user: admin
freeipaclient_enroll_pass: supersecret

Then encrypt it: ansible-vault --vault-password-file=~/.vault_pass.txt encrypt inventory/group_vars/all

Generate inventory files.

With the following script, I can run ./add-new.sh example If ansible failes, then I need to
troubleshoot. A better approach would be to add these entries into a singular inventory file, or better yet,
a database, providing a constantly updated and dynamic inventory. Put that on the later pile.

#!/usr/bin/env bash

LINE="${FQDN} ansible_host=${IP}"


echo ${LINE} > ${FILENAME}

echo "Removing any prior host keys"
ssh-keygen -R ${NEWNAME}
ssh-keygen -R ${FQDN}
ssh-keygen -R ${IP}

echo "${FILENAME} created, testing"
ansible --vault-password-file ${ANSIBLE_VAULT_PASSFILE} -i ${FILENAME} ${FQDN} -m ping -vvvv

Let’s go to work.

At this point, I should have a working inventory file for a single host and I’ve validated that ansible can
connect. Granted, I haven’t tested sudo, but in my situation, I’m pretty sure that will work. But I haven’t
actually done anything with the VM. It’s still just this default template.


Ansible provides a module to set the hostname, but does not modify /etc/hosts to get the FQDN resolving. As with
many things, I’m not the first to encounter this, so I found a premade role holms/ansible-fqdn.

mkdir roles
cd roles
git clone https://github.com/holms/ansible-fqdn.git fqdn

This role will read inventory_hostname for fqdn, and inventory_hostname_short for hostname. You can override
this, but these are perfect defaults based on my script above.


Once again, we’re saved by the Internet. alvaroaleman/ansible-freeipa-client is an already designed role that installs the necessary freeipa packages and runs the
ipa-join commands.

# assuming still in roles
git clone https://github.com/alvaroaleman/ansible-freeipa-client.git freeipa

The values this module needs just happens to perfectly match the freeipa_* variables I put in my all file earlier. I
think that’s just amazing luck.

Make a playbook.

I call mine bootstrap.yml.

- hosts: all
become: yes
- fqdn
- freeipa


Let’s run our playbook against host “pgdb02”

ansible-playbook -i inventory/pgdb02 --vault-password-file=~/.vault_pass.txt bootstrap.yml


[email protected]:~/projects/ytlab$ ansible-playbook -i inventory/pgdb02 --vault-password-file=~/.vault_pass.txt base.yml

PLAY ***************************************************************************

TASK [setup] *******************************************************************
ok: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [fqdn : fqdn | Configure Debian] ******************************************

TASK [fqdn : fqdn | Configure Redhat] ******************************************
skipping: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [fqdn : fqdn | Configure Linux] *******************************************
included: /home/ytjohn/projects/ytlab/roles/fqdn/tasks/linux.yml for pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net

TASK [fqdn : Set Hostname with hostname command] *******************************
changed: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [fqdn : Re-gather facts] **************************************************
ok: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [fqdn : Build hosts file (backups will be made)] **************************
changed: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [fqdn : restart hostname] *************************************************
ok: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [fqdn : fqdn | Configure Windows] *****************************************
skipping: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [freeipa : Assert supported distribution] *********************************
ok: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [freeipa : Assert required variables] *************************************
ok: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [freeipa : Import variables] **********************************************
ok: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [freeipa : Set DNS server] ************************************************
skipping: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [freeipa : Update apt cache] **********************************************
ok: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [freeipa : Install required packages] *************************************
changed: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net] => (item=[u'freeipa-client', u'dnsutils'])

TASK [freeipa : Check if host is enrolled] *************************************
ok: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [freeipa : Enroll host in domain] *****************************************
changed: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [freeipa : Include Ubuntu specific tasks] *********************************
included: /home/ytjohn/projects/ytlab/roles/freeipa/tasks/ubuntu.yml for pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net

TASK [freeipa : Enable mkhomedir] **********************************************
changed: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

TASK [freeipa : Enable sssd sudo functionality] ********************************
changed: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

RUNNING HANDLER [freeipa : restart sssd] ***************************************
changed: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

RUNNING HANDLER [freeipa : restart ssh] ****************************************
changed: [pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net]

PLAY RECAP *********************************************************************
pgdb02.lab.ytnoc.net : ok=18 changed=8 unreachable=0 failed=0


Essentially, we created a rather basic inventory generator script, we encrypted some
credentials into a variables file using ansible-vault, and we downloaded some roles
“off the shelf” and executed them both with a single “bootstrap” playbook.

If I was doing this for work, I would first create at least one Vagrant VM and work through
an entire development cycle. I would probably rewrite these roles I downloaded to make them
more flexible and variable driven.

In case you got lost where these files go:

├── add-new.sh
├── bootstrap.yml
├── inventory
│   ├── group_vars
│   │   ├── all
│   ├── pgdb01
│   ├── pgdb02
│   └── sstorm01
└── roles
├── fqdn
└── freeipa