April 10, 2018 by Kylie Liang


The Ansible 2.5 release includes an additional 13 Azure modules for automators to use in their hybrid cloud journey. We have a goal of making automation as accessible as possible. As part of this goal, we are working with technology partners to bring additional automation know-how to the Ansible blog.

Special thanks to Kylie Liang from the Microsoft Azure DevEx team for giving us a closer look at one of the new Azure module features.


Launch an Azure Container Instance 

For this blog entry, we wanted to share a step by step guide to using the Azure Container Instance module that has been included in Ansible 2.5.

The Container Instance service is a PaaS offering on Azure that is designed to let users run containers without managing any of the underlying infrastructure. The Ansible Azure Container Instance module allows users to create, update and delete an Azure Container Instance.

Getting Started

For the purposes of this blog, we’ll assume that you are new to Azure and Ansible and want to automate the Container Instance service. This tutorial will guide you through automating the following steps:

  • Install Ansible and Docker
  • Set up credentials for your Azure modules
  • Create an Azure Container Instance with the image from the Azure Container Registry

*Note: This tutorial was created running  CentOS 7.4

Install Ansible:

## Install prerequisite packages
sudo yum check-update; sudo yum install -y gcc libffi-devel python-devel openssl-devel epel-release
sudo yum install -y python-pip python-wheel

## Install Ansible and Azure SDKs via pip
sudo pip install ansible[azure]

Install Docker:

#install docker and start it
curl -fsSL | sh
sudo systemctl start docker

#manage Docker as a non-root user
sudo usermod -aG docker $USER

Log out and log back in so that your group membership is re-evaluated.

Visit Docker Docs for more information. 

#install docker python SDK
sudo pip install docker-py

*Note: You don’t need to set up Docker in your environment if you just need to create, update or delete an Azure resource (e.g. Azure Container Instance). Here we setting up Docker for sample, below, which will push a Docker image to Azure Container Registry. 

Set up Credential for Azure Modules

Create a service principal on your host computer or cloud shell.
az ad sp create-for-rbac --query '{"client_id": appId, "secret": password, "tenant": tenant}'

An example of the output from the preceding commands is as follows:
"client_id": "eec5624a-90f8-4386-8a87-02730b5410d5",
"secret": "531dcffa-3aff-4488-99bb-4816c395ea3f",
"tenant": "72f988bf-86f1-41af-91ab-2d7cd011db47"

To authenticate to Azure, you also need to obtain your Azure subscription ID.
az account show --query "{ subscription_id: id }"

Now create a create a credentials file for Ansible on your host computer as follows:
mkdir ~/.azure
vi ~/.azure/credentials

Enter your own values as follows:

Visit Microsoft Azure Docs for more information.

Create your Container Instance on Azure

Checkout the sample code, below, and you are ready to go.

git clone:

cd ansible-playbooks
ansible-playbook ACIcreatewithACR.yml

Output from example Ansible Playbook - ACIcreatewithACR.yml:


Note: You may need to run “sudo pip install azure-mgmt-containerinstance==0.3.1” to downgrade container instance API version if you meet error when creating Azure Container Instance.

Azure Portal displays the running container instance:



Navigate to the endpoint of the container instance. Confirm the container is running:


Congratulations! You have successfully automated the creation of a container instance in Azure. You can now modify the sample playbook, or write your own playbook leveraging the Container Instance module.

Additional Resources

For general information about using Ansible modules in Azure, visit Ansible Docs. 

For additional information around installing Ansible in Azure, visit Azure Docs.

If you want to see more Ansible resources in Azure, consider filing a request or contributing to Ansible GitHub.

The Azure Team is proud to be the largest contributor of Ansible Azure content in the 2.5 release. We want to hear from you. Please try the new 2.5 modules and give us feedback and contact us at:


Containers, Azure


Kylie Liang

Kylie is Senior PM at Cloud + Enterprise Group of Microsoft. She focuses on DevOps with open source (e.g. Ansible, Kubernetes) and Java tooling on Microsoft Azure. She has dedicated herself to Open Source areas and has been promoting collaboration with Open Source communities for years. Now she is the board director of FreeBSD Foundation.

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