Easily provision Windows instances in AWS with Ansible

September 11, 2015 by Matt Davis

Untitled_designMYTH: using Ansible to do fully-automated provisioning of Windows instances in AWS is difficult, because WinRM is not enabled by default on Amazon’s Windows AMIs, and the admin password is not known at startup.

I’d like to bust this myth once and for all. As an Ansible Solutions Architect, I often see users going to great lengths to solve both of these problems. The solutions I’ve encountered in the field have ranged from “minor maintenance hassle” to “major code-smell”, and are usually completely unnecessary; an obscure EC2 feature called User Data can replace them all. In a post on my personal blog, I demonstrate a basic use of this feature to manually provision Windows instances that are Ansible-ready on first boot, using unmodified Amazon-provided AMIs. A follow-up post expands that technique into a fully-automated provisioning sample. Try it yourself to see how easy it is to quickly spin up and configure Windows instances for any need, using only Ansible!
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Matt Davis

Matt is a Principal Software Engineer for Ansible Core, focused on Ansible's Windows support. He has over 20 years experience in software engineering, architecture, and operations at companies large and small. An avid musician, maker, and home hacker, Matt lives with his wife and daughter in Beaverton, Oregon.


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