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Ansible: Up and Running, 2nd Edition by Rene Moser, Lorin Hochstein

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Preface to the Second Edition

In the time since the first edition of the book was written (back in 2014), there have been big changes in the world of Ansible. The Ansible project completed a major release, hitting 2.0. Big changes happened outside the project as well: Ansible, Inc., the company that backs the Ansible project, was acquired by Red Hat. Red Hat’s acquisition hasn’t slowed the Ansible project at all: it’s still in active development and gaining users.

We’ve made multiple changes in this edition. The most significant change is the addition of five new chapters. The book now covers callback plugins, Windows hosts, network hardware, and Ansible Tower. We added so much content to the “Complex Playbooks” chapter that we expanded to a second chapter called “Customizing Hosts, Runs and Handlers.” We also rewrote the “Docker” chapter to cover the new Docker modules.

We’ve updated all of the example code for compatibility with Ansible 2.3. In particular, the deprecated sudo clause has been replaced everywhere with become. We also removed references to deprecated modules such as docker, ec2_vpc, and ec2_ami_search and replaced them with examples that use newer modules. The “Vagrant” chapter now covers the Ansible local provisioner, the “Amazon EC2” chapter now covers the Packer Ansible remote provisioner, the “Making Ansible Go Even Faster” chapter now covers asynchronous tasks, and the “Debugging Ansible Playbooks” chapter now covers the debugger that was introduced in version 2.1.

There are also minor changes. For example, OpenSSH switched from using hexadecimal-encoded MD5 fingerprints to base64-encoded SHA256 fingerprints, and we updated examples accordingly. Finally, we fixed errata submitted by readers.

A Note About Language

The first edition of the book had a single author, and often used the first-person singular I. Since this edition has two authors, the use of first-person singular might seem odd in some places. However, we decided to keep it because it is typically used to express the opinion of one of the authors.

Acknowledgments

From Lorin

Thanks to Jan-Piet Mens, Matt Jaynes, and John Jarvis for reviewing drafts of the book and providing feedback. Thanks to Isaac Saldana and Mike Rowan at SendGrid for being so supportive of this endeavor. Thanks to Michael DeHaan for creating Ansible and shepherding the community that sprang up around it, as well as for providing feedback on the book, including an explanation of why he chose to use the name Ansible. Thanks to my editor, Brian Anderson, for his endless patience in working with me.

Thanks to Mom and Dad for their unfailing support; my brother Eric, the actual writer in the family; and my two sons, Benjamin and Julian. Finally, thanks to my wife, Stacy, for everything.

From René

Thanks to my family, my wife Simone for the support and love, my three children, Gil, Sarina and Léanne, for the joy they brought into my life; to all those people contributing to Ansible, thank you for your work; and a special thanks to Matthias Blaser who introduced Ansible to me.

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