Alibaba Cloud Compute Services Guide


Ansible contains several modules for controlling and managing Alibaba Cloud Compute Services (Alicloud). This guide explains how to use the Alicloud Ansible modules together.

All Alicloud modules require footmark - install it on your control machine with pip install footmark.

Cloud modules, including Alicloud modules, execute on your local machine (the control machine) with connection: local, rather than on remote machines defined in your hosts.

Normally, you’ll use the following pattern for plays that provision Alicloud resources:

- hosts: localhost
  connection: local
    - ...
    - ...


You can specify your Alicloud authentication credentials (access key and secret key) by passing them as environment variables or by storing them in a vars file.

To pass authentication credentials as environment variables:

export ALICLOUD_ACCESS_KEY='Alicloud123'
export ALICLOUD_SECRET_KEY='AlicloudSecret123'

To store authentication credentials in a vars_files, encrypt them with Ansible Vault to keep them secure, then list them:

alicloud_access_key: "--REMOVED--"
alicloud_secret_key: "--REMOVED--"

Note that if you store your credentials in a vars_files, you need to refer to them in each Alicloud module. For example:

- ali_instance:
    alicloud_access_key: "{{alicloud_access_key}}"
    alicloud_secret_key: "{{alicloud_secret_key}}"
    image_id: "..."


Alicloud modules create Alicloud ECS instances, disks, virtual private clouds, virtual switches, security groups and other resources.

You can use the count parameter to control the number of resources you create or terminate. For example, if you want exactly 5 instances tagged NewECS, set the count of instances to 5 and the count_tag to NewECS, as shown in the last task of the example playbook below. If there are no instances with the tag NewECS, the task creates 5 new instances. If there are 2 instances with that tag, the task creates 3 more. If there are 8 instances with that tag, the task terminates 3 of those instances.

If you do not specify a count_tag, the task creates the number of instances you specify in count with the instance_name you provide.

# alicloud_setup.yml

- hosts: localhost
  connection: local


    - name: Create VPC
        cidr_block: '{{ cidr_block }}'
        vpc_name: new_vpc
      register: created_vpc

    - name: Create VSwitch
        alicloud_zone: '{{ alicloud_zone }}'
        cidr_block: '{{ vsw_cidr }}'
        vswitch_name: new_vswitch
        vpc_id: '{{ }}'
      register: created_vsw

    - name: Create security group
        name: new_group
        vpc_id: '{{ }}'
          - proto: tcp
            port_range: 22/22
            priority: 1
          - proto: tcp
            port_range: 80/80
            priority: 1
      register: created_group

    - name: Create a set of instances
         security_groups: '{{ created_group.group_id }}'
         instance_type: ecs.n4.small
         image_id: "{{ ami_id }}"
         instance_name: "My-new-instance"
             Name: NewECS
             Version: 0.0.1
         count: 5
             Name: NewECS
         allocate_public_ip: true
         max_bandwidth_out: 50
         vswitch_id: '{{}}'
      register: create_instance

In the example playbook above, data about the vpc, vswitch, group, and instances created by this playbook are saved in the variables defined by the “register” keyword in each task.

Each Alicloud module offers a variety of parameter options. Not all options are demonstrated in the above example. See each individual module for further details and examples.