Managing VMware vSphere guests with Ansible Tower

March 2, 2015 by Mark Phillips

There are lots of ways to enable self-service VMs within an organisation - what some might call 'a private cloud'. However, these usually require layers and layers of complex software. What if you could leverage your existing hypervisor and 15 lines of code to do the same? And what if those 15 lines became an even simpler single click?

Ansible Core contains a module for managing virtual machines in VMware vSphere environments called vsphere_guest. Using this one module we can talk to an existing vSphere instance to create new VMs, clone VM templates, and control and delete VMs. Couple up a simple playbook with Ansible Tower and we can do some pretty amazing things with very little effort.

Here's our playbook to create a new virtual machine from a template in vSphere:


The really important bit that's doing the work is the 15 lines associated with the 'Create VM from template' task. Note the extensive use of variables in this play to give us lots of flexibility. We'll make use of this in Tower in just a moment.

Tower 2.1 introduced 'Surveys', which are a great way to create interactive forms for a given play. The form can prompt for variable information to make running a flexible play simpler:


Setting up multiple choice questions is also really easy:


Here's a short video of the Job Templates in action:



There are many more ways to extend this simple functionality - Tower's job scheduler could automatically run a play to 'scavenge' unused VMs, for example (put a fact on the host to say it's done with, and you protect against automatically killing a VM still in use).

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Topics: ansible tower

AnsibleFest NYC 2015

February 23, 2015 by Dan London


We are in the planning stages of our next stop in the AnsibleFest 2015 tour. We had a our biggest turnout ever at AnsibleFest London and know that our New York event will be even bigger and better!

AnsibleFest NYC is currently scheduled for late May/early June in NYC.

Details are being finalized now and tickets will go on sale soon.

If you are interested in speaking please email

If you are interested in sponsoring please email 


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Topics: ansiblefest

Interview with Ansible CEO

February 16, 2015 by Dan London


Ansible CEO Saïd Ziouani recently sat down for an interview with Adrian Bridgwater of to talk about the past, present and future of Ansible. 

Tools AdvisorAnsible Tower is an opportunity for less technical users to get involved with IT automation by virtue of its role-based access control and dashboard functionality being core extras over and above the command line version of the open source product. Just exactly how 'non-technical' a user do you think should be involved here?
Saïd Ziouani: We strongly believe that IT Automation should be a dull task; your IP competency should be your priority and the main focus for your software developers. Managing your infrastructure must be simple to a point that it's almost boring. Tower takes the simplicity model of Ansible to a new level, allowing easy push button automation at scale, and team role delegation.

Read the full interview here.

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Topics: ansible

AnsibleFest London Recaps

February 13, 2015 by Dan London

We posted our recap of AnsibleFest last week which has all of the links to the presentations, but we also wanted to provide you with a few recaps by AnsibleFest attendees.

elsaticsearch: Highlights from configuration management camp & Ansiblefest London

DevOpsGuys: #ANSIBLEFEST2015

Silpion: #ANSIBLEFEST London 2015

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Topics: ansiblefest

AnsibleFest London Presentations

February 9, 2015 by Dan London


We had our biggest and best AnsibleFest last week in London! This was our 1st Ansible event outside of the United States and due to the amazing turnout and great crowd we will definitely include at least one stop overseas in 2016.

If you were not able to attend, or just wanted to see the presentations, we’ve compiled all of them here:

How to automate Big Data with Ansible - Marius Boeru, BigStep

Ansible and Vagrant - Sebastian Göttschkes,

The Devs Are Opsing (And It Isn’t Painful) - Ali Asad Lotia, Blue Newt

Ansible, Windows, and Powershell - Jon Hawkesworth, M Modal

How Rackspace Is Deploying OpenStack With Ansible - Walter Bentley, Rackspace

What's New in V2 - James Cammarata, Ansible

Ansible Internals - Brian Coca, Ansible

We’ll be announcing the next stop in the AnsibleFest tour soon (hint: It is New York City) so follow us on Twitter to find out all of the details first!

View our Ansible Tower Video here to learn all about the great features available in Ansible Tower.

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