Ansible Automation Workshop Provisioner

The contains an Ansible Playbook provision_lab.yml, which is an automated lab setup for Ansible training on AWS (Amazon Web Services). Set the workshop_type variable below to provision the corresponding workshop.

Workshop Workshop Type Var
Ansible for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workshop workshop_type: rhel
Ansible for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workshop - 90 minutes workshop_type: rhel_90
Ansible Network Automation Workshop workshop_type: network
Ansible F5 Workshop workshop_type: f5
Ansible Security Automation workshop_type: security
Ansible Windows Automation workshop_type: windows
Ansible Demo Mode workshop_type: demo
Smart Management Workshop workshop_type: smart_mgmt
Automated Satellite Workshop workshop_type: auto_satellite

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents


Lab Setup

One Time Setup

For One Time Setup - click here


If you are going to use ansible-navigator and the workshop execution environment there are two (2) differences from ansible-playbook method used previously:

1. AWS Creds for Execution Environments

You need to set your AWS credentials as environment variables. This is because the execution environment will not have access to your ~/.aws/credentials file. This is preferred anyway because it matches the behavior in Automation controller.

export AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY=zh6gFREbvblahblahblahfXIC5nZr51OgdKECaSIMBi9Kc

To make environment variables permanent and persistent you can set this to your ~/.bash_rc. See Red Hat Knowledge Base article:

2. Running Ansible-Navigator from the project root

You must run from the project root rather than the /provisioner folder. This is so all the files in the Git project are mounted, not just the provisioner folder. This is also best practice because it matches the behavior in Automation controller.

For example:

ansible-navigator run provisioner/provision_lab.yml -e @provisioner/extra_vars.yml

Setup (per workshop)

# region where the nodes will live
ec2_region: us-east-1

# name prefix for all the VMs
ec2_name_prefix: TESTWORKSHOP

# creates student_total of workbenches for the workshop
student_total: 2

# Set the right workshop type, like network, rhel or f5 (see above)
workshop_type: rhel

# Generate offline token to authenticate the calls to Red Hat's APIs
# Can be accessed at
offline_token: "eyQ.60y_ezoosYst_FJlZfVsud9qGbDt7QRly6nhprqVEREi......XYZ"

# Required for podman authentication to
redhat_username: <redhat_username>
redhat_password: <redhat_password>


# turn DNS on for control nodes, and set to type in valid_dns_type
dns_type: aws

# password for Ansible control node
admin_password: your_password123

# Sets the Route53 DNS zone to use for Amazon Web Services

# automatically installs Tower to control node
controllerinstall: true

# forces ansible.workshops collection to install latest edits every time
developer_mode: true

# SHA value of targeted AAP bundle setup files.
provided_sha_value: ea2843fae672274cb1b32447c9a54c627aa5bdf5577d9a6c7f957efe68be8c01

# Automation controller install setup command. Default: "./ -e gpgcheck=0" if undefined or empty
controller_install_command: './ -e gpgcheck=0'

# default vars for ec2 AMIs (ec2_info) are located in provisioner/roles/manage_ec2_instances/defaults/main/main.yml
# select ec2_info AMI vars can be overwritten via ec2_xtra vars, e.g.:
    owners: 012345678910
    filter: Satellite*
    username: ec2-user
    os_type: linux
    size: r5b.2xlarge

# Registry name to download execution environments

# List of execution environments to download during controller installation:
   - "/ansible-automation-platform-21/ee-29-rhel8:latest"
   - "/ee-supported-rhel8:latest"
   - "/ansible-automation-platform-21/ee-minimal-rhel8:latest"

# "Default execution environment" for controller
ee_default_image: "/ee-supported-rhel8:latest"

# By default pre_build is set to true, this allows people with access to specific AMIs 
# built by the Red Hat Ansible Team to be shared with AWS organizations/accounts to speed up
# provisioning and reduce errors
pre_build: false

Automation controller license

In order to use Automation controller (i.e. controllerinstall: true), which is the default behavior (as seen in group_vars/all.yml) you need to have a valid subscription via a file. To retrieve your file you need to download it from

How do you use the with the workshop?

These are the ways to integrate your license file with the workshop:

  1. Put the file into provisioner folder

The first way is to make sure your license/manifest has the exact name and put it into the same folder as the provision_lab.yml playbook (e.g.) <your-path>/workshops/provisioner/

  1. Turn the into a variable

The second way is to turn the into a base64 variable.

This allows the to be treated like an Ansible variable so that it can work with CI systems like Github Actions or Zuul. This also makes it easier to work with Automation controller, in case you are spinning up a workshop using Automation controller itself.

To do this use the base64 command to encode the manifest:

  base64 > base64_platform_manifest.txt

Take the output of this command and set it to a variable base64_manifest in your extra_vars file.


  base64_manifest: 2342387234872dfsdlkjf23148723847dkjfskjfksdfj


The is substantially larger than the tower.license file, so the base64_manifest base64 might be several hundred lines long if you have text wrapping in your editor.


base64 is not encryption, if you require encryption you need to work within your CI system or Automation controller to encrypt the base64 encoded

  1. Download the from a URL

If you specify the following variables, the provisioner will download the from an authenticated URL:

  manifest_download_user: username
  manifest_download_password: password

Automating the download of aap.tar.gz

If you have the aap.tar.gz tarball in a secure URL, you can automate the downloading of it by specifying the following variables. Note that the tarball specified in the URL must match the SHA value defined in provided_sha_value

  aap_download_user: username
  aap_download_password: password

Additional examples

For more extra_vars examples, look at the following:

ansible-playbook provision_lab.yml -e @extra_vars.yml

Accessing student documentation and slides

Accessing instructor inventory


The provisioner currently supports creating DNS records per control node with valid SSL certs using Lets Encrypt. Right now DNS is only supported via AWS Route 53, however we are building it in a way that this can be more pluggable and take advantage of other public clouds.

This means that each student workbench will get an individual DNS entry. For example a DNS name will look like this:

Smart Management

The Smart Management Lab relies on a prebuilt AMI for Red Hat Satellite Server. An example for building this AMI can be found here.

The Smart Management Lab also requires AWS DNS to be enabled. See sample vars for required configuration.

Automated Satellite

The Automated Satellite Lab relies on a prebuilt AMI for Red Hat Satellite Server. An example for building this AMI can be found here.

The Automated Satellite Lab also requires AWS DNS to be enabled. See sample vars for required configuration.


For convenience, a devcontainer has been configured for use within this project. This setup allows workshop developers to run the workspace along with provisioner within a Docker container. The devcontainer has support for docker-in-docker so that ansible-navigator can run against the workshop execution environment to provision workshops.

See the devcontainer.json in the .devcontainer directory at the top level of this repository. For more information regarding devcontainers, see here.

Developer Mode and understanding collections

The Ansible Workshops are actually a collection. Every role is called using the FQCN (fully qualified collection name). For example to setup the control node (e.g. install Automation controller) we call the role

- include_role:
    name: ansible.workshops.control_node

This installs locally from Git (versus from Galaxy or Automation Hub). If the galaxy.yml version matches your installed version, it will skip the install (speed up provisioning). Using developer_mode: true if your extra_vars will force installation every time. This is super common when you are editing a role and want to immediately see changes without publishing the collection.

If you want to contribute to the workshops, check out the contribution guide.

Lab Teardown

The teardown_lab.yml playbook deletes all the training instances as well as local inventory files.

To destroy all the EC2 instances after training is complete:

ansible-playbook teardown_lab.yml -e @extra_vars.yml
ansible-playbook teardown_lab.yml -e @extra_vars.yml -e debug_teardown=true

Note: Replace ansible-playbook with ansible-navigator run if using ansible-navigator.


There is a variable you can pass in within your extra_vars named demo. When this keyword is defined it will install the specified demo from the Github repository

For example you can put:

demo: all

Which will install all demos onto the Ansible Tower instance. Not all demos will work on any workshop_type. Please refer to the Demo repository list.


For frequently asked questions see the FAQ

More info on what is happening

The provision_lab.yml playbook creates a work bench for each student, configures them for password authentication, and creates an inventory file for each user with their IPs and credentials. An instructor inventory file is also created in the current directory which will let the instructor access the nodes of any student. This file will be called instructor_inventory.txt

What does the AWS provisioner take care of automatically?

Getting Help

Please file issues on Github. Please fill out all required information. Your issue will be closed if you skip required information in the Github issues template.