31. Best Practices

31.1. Use Source Control

While automation controller supports playbooks stored directly on the server, best practice is to store your playbooks, roles, and any associated details in source control. This way you have an audit trail describing when and why you changed the rules that are automating your infrastructure. Plus, it allows for easy sharing of playbooks with other parts of your infrastructure or team.

31.2. Ansible file and directory structure

Please review the Ansible Tips and Tricks from the Ansible documentation. If creating a common set of roles to use across projects, these should be accessed via source control submodules, or a common location such as /opt. Projects should not expect to import roles or content from other projects.


Playbooks should not use the vars_prompt feature, as automation controller does not interactively allow for vars_prompt questions. If you must use vars_prompt, refer to and make use of the Surveys functionality.


Playbooks should not use the pause feature of Ansible without a timeout, as automation controller does not allow for interactively cancelling a pause. If you must use pause, ensure that you set a timeout.

Jobs run use the playbook directory as the current working directory, although jobs should be coded to use the playbook_dir variable rather than relying on this.

31.3. Use Dynamic Inventory Sources

If you have an external source of truth for your infrastructure, whether it is a cloud provider or a local CMDB, it is best to define an inventory sync process and use the support for dynamic inventory (including cloud inventory sources). This ensures your inventory is always up to date.


Edits and additions to Inventory host variables persist beyond an inventory sync as long as --overwrite_vars is not set.

31.4. Variable Management for Inventory

Keeping variable data along with the hosts and groups definitions (see the inventory editor) is encouraged, rather than using group_vars/ and host_vars/. If you use dynamic inventory sources, the controller can sync such variables with the database as long as the Overwrite Variables option is not set.

31.5. Autoscaling

Using the “callback” feature to allow newly booting instances to request configuration is very useful for auto-scaling scenarios or provisioning integration.

31.6. Larger Host Counts

Consider setting “forks” on a job template to larger values to increase parallelism of execution runs. For more information on tuning Ansible, see the Ansible blog.

31.7. Continuous integration / Continuous Deployment

For a Continuous Integration system, such as Jenkins, to spawn a job, it should make a curl request to a job template. The credentials to the job template should not require prompting for any particular passwords. Refer to the CLI documentation for configuration and usage instructions.