ini – Uses an Ansible INI file as inventory source

New in version 2.4.


  • INI file based inventory, sections are groups or group related with special :modifiers.

  • Entries in sections [group_1] are hosts, members of the group.

  • Hosts can have variables defined inline as key/value pairs separated by =.

  • The children modifier indicates that the section contains groups.

  • The vars modifier indicates that the section contains variables assigned to members of the group.

  • Anything found outside a section is considered an ‘ungrouped’ host.

  • Values passed in the INI format using the key=value syntax are interpreted differently depending on where they are declared within your inventory.

  • When declared inline with the host, INI values are processed by Python’s ast.literal_eval function ( and interpreted as Python literal structures (strings, numbers, tuples, lists, dicts, booleans, None). Host lines accept multiple key=value parameters per line. Therefore they need a way to indicate that a space is part of a value rather than a separator.

  • When declared in a :vars section, INI values are interpreted as strings. For example var=FALSE would create a string equal to FALSE. Unlike host lines, :vars sections accept only a single entry per line, so everything after the = must be the value for the entry.

  • Do not rely on types set during definition, always make sure you specify type with a filter when needed when consuming the variable.

  • See the Examples for proper quoting to prevent changes to variable type.



  • Whitelisted in configuration by default.

  • Consider switching to YAML format for inventory sources to avoid confusion on the actual type of a variable. The YAML inventory plugin processes variable values consistently and correctly.


example1: |
    # example cfg file
    host2 ansible_port=222 # defined inline, interpreted as an integer

    http_port=8080 # all members of 'web' will inherit these
    myvar=23 # defined in a :vars section, interpreted as a string

    [web:children] # child groups will automatically add their hosts to parent group

    tomcat2 myvar=34 # host specific vars override group vars
    tomcat3 mysecret="'03#pa33w0rd'" # proper quoting to prevent value changes


    has_java = True # vars in child groups override same in parent

    has_java = False # 'all' is 'top' parent

example2: |
    # other example config
    host1 # this is 'ungrouped'

    # both hosts have same IP but diff ports, also 'ungrouped'
    host2 ansible_host= ansible_port=44
    host3 ansible_host= ansible_port=45


    host4 # same host as above, but member of 2 groups, will inherit vars from both
          # inventory hostnames are unique





If you notice any issues in this documentation, you can edit this document to improve it.


Configuration entries for each entry type have a low to high priority order. For example, a variable that is lower in the list will override a variable that is higher up.