Introduction to Ansible: A Beginner's Guide

Are you tired of manually configuring servers and applications? Do you want to automate your IT infrastructure and save time? If so, Ansible is the tool for you! In this beginner's guide, we'll introduce you to Ansible and show you how to get started with it.

What is Ansible?

Ansible is an open-source automation tool that simplifies IT infrastructure management. It allows you to automate repetitive tasks, such as server configuration, application deployment, and network management. Ansible uses a simple, human-readable language called YAML to define tasks and playbooks.

Why use Ansible?

Ansible offers several benefits over traditional IT infrastructure management methods:

Installing Ansible

Before you can start using Ansible, you need to install it on your machine. Ansible can be installed on Linux, macOS, and Windows. The installation process varies depending on your operating system.

Installing Ansible on Linux

To install Ansible on Linux, you can use your distribution's package manager. For example, on Ubuntu, you can run the following command:

sudo apt-get install ansible

Installing Ansible on macOS

To install Ansible on macOS, you can use Homebrew, a popular package manager for macOS. First, install Homebrew by running the following command:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

Then, install Ansible by running the following command:

brew install ansible

Installing Ansible on Windows

To install Ansible on Windows, you need to use a virtual machine or a container. Ansible is designed to run on Linux, so you need to install a Linux distribution on your machine first. You can use tools like VirtualBox or Docker to create a Linux environment on your Windows machine.

Ansible Concepts

Before we dive into Ansible playbooks, let's go over some basic concepts.


An inventory is a list of hosts that Ansible can manage. It can be a simple text file or a dynamic inventory script that generates the list of hosts on the fly. The inventory file is usually located at /etc/ansible/hosts, but you can specify a different location using the -i option.

Here's an example inventory file:



This inventory file defines two groups of hosts: web and db. The web group contains two hosts, and The db group contains two hosts, and


Modules are Ansible's building blocks. They are small pieces of code that perform a specific task, such as installing a package or copying a file. Ansible comes with a large number of built-in modules, and you can also write your own modules if you need to.

Here are some examples of Ansible modules:


Playbooks are Ansible's configuration files. They define a set of tasks to be executed on one or more hosts. Playbooks are written in YAML format and can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be.

Here's an example playbook:

- name: Install Apache
  hosts: web
  become: true

    - name: Install Apache
        name: apache2
        state: present

    - name: Start Apache
        name: apache2
        state: started

This playbook installs Apache on all hosts in the web group and starts the Apache service.

Ansible Playbooks

Now that you understand the basic concepts of Ansible, let's create a simple playbook.

Step 1: Create an Inventory File

First, create an inventory file that lists the hosts you want to manage. For this example, we'll use a simple inventory file that contains one host:

localhost ansible_connection=local

This inventory file defines one group, web, that contains one host, localhost. We also specify ansible_connection=local to tell Ansible to connect to the local machine.

Step 2: Create a Playbook

Next, create a playbook that defines the tasks you want to execute on the hosts. For this example, we'll create a playbook that installs the Apache web server:

- name: Install Apache
  hosts: web
  become: true

    - name: Install Apache
        name: apache2
        state: present

    - name: Start Apache
        name: apache2
        state: started

This playbook has three sections:

The become: true line tells Ansible to become the root user on the remote machine.

The first task installs the Apache package using the apt module. The name parameter specifies the name of the package, and the state parameter specifies whether to install or remove the package.

The second task starts the Apache service using the service module. The name parameter specifies the name of the service, and the state parameter specifies whether to start or stop the service.

Step 3: Run the Playbook

Finally, run the playbook using the ansible-playbook command:

ansible-playbook -i inventory.yml playbook.yml

This command tells Ansible to use the inventory.yml file as the inventory and the playbook.yml file as the playbook.

If everything goes well, you should see output similar to the following:

PLAY [Install Apache] *********************************************************

TASK [Gathering Facts] *********************************************************
ok: [localhost]

TASK [Install Apache] **********************************************************
changed: [localhost]

TASK [Start Apache] ************************************************************
changed: [localhost]

PLAY RECAP *********************************************************************
localhost                  : ok=3    changed=2    unreachable=0    failed=0

This output shows that Ansible executed three tasks on the localhost host: gathering facts, installing Apache, and starting Apache. The changed column indicates how many tasks changed the state of the system.


Congratulations! You've just created your first Ansible playbook. Ansible is a powerful tool that can help you automate your IT infrastructure and save time. We've only scratched the surface of what Ansible can do, but we hope this beginner's guide has given you a good introduction to Ansible.

If you want to learn more about Ansible, check out the official Ansible documentation and the Ansible Galaxy community. Happy automating!

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