Beyond the Basics

This page introduces some concepts that help you manage your Ansible workflow: roles, directory structure, and source control. Like the Basic Concepts at the beginning of this guide, these intermediate concepts are common to all uses of Ansible. This page also offers resources for learning more.

Beyond Playbooks: Moving Tasks and Variables into Roles

Roles are sets of Ansible defaults, files, tasks, templates, variables, and other Ansible components that work together. As you saw on the Working with Playbooks page, moving from a command to a playbook makes it easy to run multiple tasks and repeat the same tasks in the same order. Moving from a playbook to a role makes it even easier to reuse and share your ordered tasks. For more details, see the documentation on roles. You can also look at Ansible Galaxy, which lets you share your roles and use others’ roles, either directly or as inspiration.

A Typical Ansible Filetree

Ansible expects to find certain files in certain places. As you expand your inventory and create and run more network playbooks, keep your files organized in your working Ansible project directory like this:

├── backup
│   ├── [email protected]:10:15
│   ├── [email protected]:22:41
├── first_playbook.yml
├── inventory
├── group_vars
│   ├── vyos.yml
│   └── eos.yml
├── roles
│   ├── static_route
│   └── system
├── second_playbook.yml
└── third_playbook.yml

The backup directory and the files in it get created when you run modules like vyos_config with the backup: yes parameter.

Tracking Changes to Inventory and Playbooks: Source Control with Git

As you expand your inventory, roles and playbooks, you should place your Ansible projects under source control. We recommend git for source control. git provides an audit trail, letting you you track changes, roll back mistakes, view history and share the workload of managing, maintaining and expanding your Ansible ecosystem. There are plenty of tutorials and guides to using git available.

Resources and Next Steps


Read more about Ansible for Network Automation:

Events (on Video and in Person)

All sessions at Ansible events are recorded and include many Network-related topics (use Filter by Category to view only Network topics). You can also join us for future events in your area. See:

GitHub Repos

Ansible hosts module code, examples, demonstrations, and other content on GitHub. Anyone with a GitHub account is able to create Pull Requests (PRs) or issues on these repos:

  • Network-Automation is an open community for all things network automation. Have an idea, some playbooks, or roles to share? Email and we will add you as a contributor to the repository.
  • Ansible is the main codebase, including code for network modules


Join us on Freenode IRC:

  • #ansible-network Freenode channel