Setting the remote environment

New in version 1.1.

You can use the environment keyword at the play, block, or task level to set an environment variable for an action on a remote host. With this keyword, you can enable using a proxy for a task that does http requests, set the required environment variables for language-specific version managers, and more.

When you set a value with environment: at the play or block level, it is available only to tasks within the play or block that are executed by the same user. The environment: keyword does not affect Ansible itself, Ansible configuration settings, the environment for other users, or the execution of other plugins like lookups and filters. Variables set with environment: do not automatically become Ansible facts, even when you set them at the play level. You must include an explicit gather_facts task in your playbook and set the environment keyword on that task to turn these values into Ansible facts.

Setting the remote environment in a task

You can set the environment directly at the task level:

- hosts: all
  remote_user: root

  tasks:

    - name: Install cobbler
      package:
        name: cobbler
        state: present
      environment:
        http_proxy: http://proxy.example.com:8080

You can re-use environment settings by defining them as variables in your play and accessing them in a task as you would access any stored Ansible variable:

- hosts: all
  remote_user: root

  # create a variable named "proxy_env" that is a dictionary
  vars:
    proxy_env:
      http_proxy: http://proxy.example.com:8080

  tasks:

    - name: Install cobbler
      package:
        name: cobbler
        state: present
      environment: "{{ proxy_env }}"

You can store environment settings for re-use in multiple playbooks by defining them in a group_vars file:

---
# file: group_vars/boston

ntp_server: ntp.bos.example.com
backup: bak.bos.example.com
proxy_env:
  http_proxy: http://proxy.bos.example.com:8080
  https_proxy: http://proxy.bos.example.com:8080

You can set the remote environment at the play level:

- hosts: testing

  roles:
     - php
     - nginx

  environment:
    http_proxy: http://proxy.example.com:8080

These examples show proxy settings, but you can provide any number of settings this way.

Working with language-specific version managers

Some language-specific version managers (such as rbenv and nvm) require you to set environment variables while these tools are in use. When using these tools manually, you usually source some environment variables from a script or from lines added to your shell configuration file. In Ansible, you can do this with the environment keyword at the play level:

---
### A playbook demonstrating a common npm workflow:
# - Check for package.json in the application directory
# - If package.json exists:
#   * Run npm prune
#   * Run npm install

- hosts: application
  become: false

  vars:
    node_app_dir: /var/local/my_node_app

  environment:
    NVM_DIR: /var/local/nvm
    PATH: /var/local/nvm/versions/node/v4.2.1/bin:{{ ansible_env.PATH }}

  tasks:
  - name: check for package.json
    stat:
      path: '{{ node_app_dir }}/package.json'
    register: packagejson

  - name: npm prune
    command: npm prune
    args:
      chdir: '{{ node_app_dir }}'
    when: packagejson.stat.exists

  - name: npm install
    npm:
      path: '{{ node_app_dir }}'
    when: packagejson.stat.exists

Note

The example above uses ansible_env as part of the PATH. Basing variables on ansible_env is risky. Ansible populates ansible_env values by gathering facts, so the value of the variables depends on the remote_user or become_user Ansible used when gathering those facts. If you change remote_user/become_user the values in ansible-env may not be the ones you expect.

Warning

Environment variables are normally passed in clear text (shell plugin dependent) so they are not a recommended way of passing secrets to the module being executed.

You can also specify the environment at the task level:

---
- name: install ruby 2.3.1
  command: rbenv install {{ rbenv_ruby_version }}
  args:
    creates: '{{ rbenv_root }}/versions/{{ rbenv_ruby_version }}/bin/ruby'
  vars:
    rbenv_root: /usr/local/rbenv
    rbenv_ruby_version: 2.3.1
  environment:
    CONFIGURE_OPTS: '--disable-install-doc'
    RBENV_ROOT: '{{ rbenv_root }}'
    PATH: '{{ rbenv_root }}/bin:{{ rbenv_root }}/shims:{{ rbenv_plugins }}/ruby-build/bin:{{ ansible_env.PATH }}'

See also

Intro to Playbooks
An introduction to playbooks
User Mailing List
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