Exercise 2 - First Ansible Playbook

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Table of Contents

Objective

Use Ansible to update the configuration of routers. This exercise will not create an Ansible Playbook, but use an existing one that has been provided.

This exercise will cover:

Guide

Step 1 - Examine Ansible Playbook

Navigate to the network-workshop directory if you are not already there.

[student1@ansible ~]$ cd ~/network-workshop/
[student1@ansible network-workshop]$
[student1@ansible network-workshop]$ pwd
/home/student1/network-workshop

Examine the provided Ansible Playbook named playbook.yml. Either open the file in Visual Studio Code or cat the file:

---
- name: snmp ro/rw string configuration
  hosts: cisco
  gather_facts: no

  tasks:

    - name: ensure that the desired snmp strings are present
      cisco.ios.config:
        commands:
          - snmp-server community ansible-public RO
          - snmp-server community ansible-private RW

We will explore in detail the components of an Ansible Playbook in the next exercise. It is suffice for now to see that this playbook will run two Cisco IOS-XE commands

snmp-server community ansible-public RO
snmp-server community ansible-private RW

Step 2 - Execute Ansible Playbook

Run the playbook using the ansible-navigator command. The full command is: ansible-navigator run playbook.yml --mode stdout

[student1@ansible-1 network-workshop]$ ansible-navigator run playbook.yml --mode stdout

PLAY [snmp ro/rw string configuration] *****************************************

TASK [ensure that the desired snmp strings are present] ************************
changed: [rtr1]

PLAY RECAP *********************************************************************
rtr1                       : ok=1    changed=1    unreachable=0    failed=0    skipped=0    rescued=0    ignored=0   

[student1@ansible-1 network-workshop]$

Step 3 - Verify configuration on router

Verify that the Ansible Playbook worked. Login to rtr1 and check the running configuration on the Cisco IOS-XE device.

[student1@ansible network-workshop]$ ssh rtr1

rtr1#show run | i snmp
snmp-server community ansible-public RO
snmp-server community ansible-private RW

Step 4 - Validate idempotency

The cisco.ios.config module is idempotent. This means, a configuration change is pushed to the device if and only if that configuration does not exist on the end hosts.

Need help with Ansible Automation terminology?

Check out the glossary here for more information on terms like idempotency.

To validate the concept of idempotency, re-run the playbook:

[student1@ansible-1 network-workshop]$ ansible-navigator run playbook.yml --mode stdout

PLAY [snmp ro/rw string configuration] *****************************************

TASK [ensure that the desired snmp strings are present] ************************
ok: [rtr1]

PLAY RECAP *********************************************************************
rtr1                       : ok=1    changed=0    unreachable=0    failed=0    skipped=0    rescued=0    ignored=0

Note:

See that the changed parameter in the PLAY RECAP indicates 0 changes.

Re-running the Ansible Playbook multiple times will result in the same exact output, with ok=1 and change=0. Unless another operator or process removes or modifies the existing configuration on rtr1, this Ansible Playbook will just keep reporting ok=1 indicating that the configuration already exists and is configured correctly on the network device.

Step 5 - Modify Ansible Playbook

Now update the task to add one more SNMP RO community string named ansible-test.

snmp-server community ansible-test RO

Use Visual Studio Code to open the playbook.yml file to add the command:

The Ansible Playbook will now look like this:

---
- name: snmp ro/rw string configuration
  hosts: cisco
  gather_facts: no

  tasks:

    - name: ensure that the desired snmp strings are present
      cisco.ios.config:
        commands:
          - snmp-server community ansible-public RO
          - snmp-server community ansible-private RW
          - snmp-server community ansible-test RO

Make sure to save the playbook.yml with the change.

Step 6 - Use check mode

This time however, instead of running the playbook to push the change to the device, execute it using the --check flag in combination with the -v or verbose mode flag:

[student1@ansible-1 network-workshop]$ ansible-navigator run playbook.yml --mode stdout --check -v
Using /etc/ansible/ansible.cfg as config file

PLAY [snmp ro/rw string configuration] *****************************************

TASK [ensure that the desired snmp strings are present] ************************
changed: [rtr1] => {"ansible_facts": {"discovered_interpreter_python": "/usr/bin/python"}, "banners": {}, "changed": true, "commands": ["snmp-server community ansible-test RO"], "updates": ["snmp-server community ansible-test RO"], "warnings": ["To ensure idempotency and correct diff the input configuration lines should be similar to how they appear if present in the running configuration on device"]}

PLAY RECAP *********************************************************************
rtr1                       : ok=1    changed=1    unreachable=0    failed=0    skipped=0    rescued=0    ignored=0

The --check mode in combination with the --verbose flag will display the exact changes that will be deployed to the end device without actually pushing the change. This is a great technique to validate the changes you are about to push to a device before pushing it.

Step 7 - Verify configuration is not present

Verify that the Ansible Playbook did not apply the ansible-test community. Login to rtr1 and check the running configuration on the Cisco IOS-XE device.

[student1@ansible network-workshop]$ ssh rtr1

rtr1#show run | i snmp
snmp-server community ansible-public RO
snmp-server community ansible-private RW

Step 8 - Re-run the Ansible Playbook

Finally re-run this playbook again without the -v or --check flag to push the changes.

[student1@ansible-1 network-workshop]$ ansible-navigator run playbook.yml --mode stdout

PLAY [snmp ro/rw string configuration] *****************************************

TASK [ensure that the desired snmp strings are present] ************************
changed: [rtr1]

PLAY RECAP *********************************************************************
rtr1                       : ok=1    changed=1    unreachable=0    failed=0    skipped=0    rescued=0    ignored=0

Step 9 - Verify configuration is applied

Verify that the Ansible Playbook applied ansible-test community. Login to rtr1 and check the running configuration on the Cisco IOS-XE device.

[student1@ansible network-workshop]$ ssh rtr1

rtr1#sh run | i snmp
snmp-server community ansible-public RO
snmp-server community ansible-private RW
snmp-server community ansible-test RO

Takeaways

Solution

The finished Ansible Playbook is provided here for an answer key: playbook.yml.

Complete

You have completed lab exercise 2


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