Karan Sharma

Ansible FAQ

2 minutes (610 words)


Tags are opt-in. If you’ve an Ansible Playbook, the task will always run. To ensure it only runs if a tag is given and never otherwise, use the never tag.

- never
- my_custom_tag

If a task is defined with above tags, then only if my_custom_tag is there, the task will run.

To make this simple, the playbook run command should have a list of tags that are to be executed. --tags='abc,def' is the way to supply these tags on the command-line.

!!! tip Use Makefiles whenever possible.

If you add a tag to a playbook, then the tag is appended to the role.

    - name: clickhouse
	  tags: [check_me_out]

You can see this check_me_out tag is appended to each task in the role.

ansible-playbook -i inventory playbook.yml --list-tasks

playbook: playbook.yml

  play #1 (clickhouse): clickhouse      TAGS: []
      clickhouse : Install multiple packages    TAGS: [check_me_out, clickhouse_install]
      clickhouse : Add the APT Key for ClickHouse.      TAGS: [check_me_out, clickhouse_install]
      clickhouse : Add ClickHouse APT sources   TAGS: [check_me_out, clickhouse_install]
      clickhouse : Install ClickHouse   TAGS: [check_me_out, clickhouse_install]
      clickhouse : Config | Set ClickHouse configuration file   TAGS: [check_me_out, clickhouse_configure]
      clickhouse : Config | Set users configuration file        TAGS: [check_me_out, clickhouse_configure]

Hence, the best way is to have a Makefile with different tags supplied on the CLI:

	ansible-playbook -i inventory playbook.yml --tags "clickhouse_install"

	ansible-playbook -i inventory playbook.yml --tags "clickhouse_configure"

πŸ”—Naming Strategy

Since Ansible Tags use OR (and not AND) as the joining condition, it becomes tricky to have a role with tasks like:

- clickhouse
- install

- clickhouse
- configure

In a case where you want to only run configure, you just have to pass configure. If you pass clickhouse,configure, even the install.yml will be run. This is important to note as it can cause issues when running playbooks.

The workaround then is to have a tag called clickhouse_configure and clickhouse_install and only pass that.

It’s possible to preview the list of tasks which will be executed with:

ansible-playbook example.yml --tags "configuration,packages" --list-tasks


!!! tip Always ensure you fetch the remote roles again if you made any changes to them.



Aliases are helpful in cases where the ansible_host is same (bastion host), but the target host is defined with ansible_ssh_extra_args. In such cases, Ansible is unable to differentiate between two hostnames and it thinks both the hosts are same.

bastion-host ansible_ssh_port=22 ansible_ssh_user=ubuntu ansible_ssh_extra_args="-o 'Hostname'"
bastion-host ansible_ssh_port=22 ansible_ssh_user=ubuntu ansible_ssh_extra_args="-o 'Hostname'"

The fix to this is to use an Inventory Alias.

app_1 ansible_host=bastion-host ansible_ssh_port=22 ansible_ssh_user=ubuntu ansible_ssh_extra_args="-o 'Hostname'"
app_2 ansible_host=bastion-host ansible_ssh_port=22 ansible_ssh_user=ubuntu ansible_ssh_extra_args="-o 'Hostname'"

So with the alias app_1 and app_2, Ansible is able to differentiate b/w two hostnames.

Tags: #Ansible