ARA Records Ansible

ARA Records Ansible and makes it easier to understand and troubleshoot.

logo

It’s another recursive acronym and features simplicity as a core principle.

About ara

ara provides Ansible reporting by recording ansible and ansible-playbook commands wherever and however they are run:

getting-started

In addition to the built-in CLI, the data is made available through an included reporting interface as well as a REST API.

ui-web-demo

Note: open the above gifs in a new tab (or window) if the resolution is too small

How it works

ara records results to sqlite, mysql and postgresql databases with a standard Ansible callback plugin.

The callback plugin leverages built-in python API clients to send data to a REST API server:

recording-workflow

Getting started

Requirements

For RHEL 7 and CentOS 7 it is recommended to run the API server in a container due to missing or outdated dependencies. See this issue for more information.

Recording playbooks without an API server

It is not necessary to run an API server when recording data to a local sqlite database but the API server dependencies must be installed:

# Install Ansible and ARA (with API server dependencies) for the current user
python3 -m pip install --user ansible "ara[server]"

# Configure Ansible to use the ARA callback plugin
export ANSIBLE_CALLBACK_PLUGINS="$(python3 -m ara.setup.callback_plugins)"

# Run an Ansible playbook as usual
ansible-playbook hello-world.yml

# Use the CLI to see recorded playbooks
ara playbook list

# Start the built-in development server to browse recorded results
ara-manage runserver

Recording playbooks with an API server

An API server can be deployed using the ara Ansible collection or container images from DockerHub and quay.io:

# Create a directory for a volume to store settings and a sqlite database
mkdir -p ~/.ara/server

# Start an API server with docker from the image on DockerHub:
docker run --name api-server --detach --tty \
  --volume ~/.ara/server:/opt/ara:z -p 8000:8000 \
  docker.io/recordsansible/ara-api:latest

# or with podman from the image on quay.io:
podman run --name api-server --detach --tty \
  --volume ~/.ara/server:/opt/ara:z -p 8000:8000 \
  quay.io/recordsansible/ara-api:latest

Once the server is running, ara’s Ansible callback plugin must be installed and configured to send data to it:

# Install Ansible and ARA (without API server dependencies) for the current user
python3 -m pip install --user ansible ara

# Configure Ansible to use the ARA callback plugin
export ANSIBLE_CALLBACK_PLUGINS="$(python3 -m ara.setup.callback_plugins)"

# Set up the ARA callback to know where the API server is located
export ARA_API_CLIENT="http"
export ARA_API_SERVER="http://127.0.0.1:8000"

# Run an Ansible playbook as usual
ansible-playbook playbook.yaml

# Use the CLI to see recorded playbooks
ara playbook list

# Browse http://127.0.0.1:8000 to view the reporting interface

Data will be available on the API server in real time as the playbook progresses and completes.

You can read more about how container images are built and how to run them in the documentation.

Live demo

A live demo is deployed with the ara Ansible collection from Ansible Galaxy.

It is available at https://demo.recordsansible.org.

Documentation and changelog

Documentation for installing, configuring, running and using ARA is available on ara.readthedocs.io.

Common issues may be resolved by reading the troubleshooting guide.

Changelog and release notes are available within the repository’s git tags as well as the documentation.