Adding Ansible to VRA + BluePrint + Playbook

Adding Ansible to VRA is again a pretty simple task if you have the Enterprise Edition, there are a couple of prerequisites that need to be addressed which can be done in a few different ways but as I am running this in a lab environment so I will do the easy and less secure path. as always go and check out the official documentation for production platforms.


  • Create a password file that contains the password VRA will use to connect to Ansible
  • Update the Ansible.cfg file with the vault file location and setting host key checking to false

Ok so lets create the password file

mkdir /VRAPassword
echo 'Mypassword' > /VRAPassword/Password.txt

When you create the file check the permissions do not have execute on them otherwise this will not work, if they do run the chmod 644 <filename> to set them to rw as per above.

Edit the Ansible.cfg

vi /etc/ansible/ansible.cfg

Search for the correct lines using / and then the string you want to fine e.g. “host_key_checking = False” this will take to to the location below, remove the #

Search again / vault_password_file uncomment the line and add in the correct path, in my case /VRAPassword/password.txt

Login to VRA Portal

To add Ansoble go to Infrastucture > Connections > Integrations and click add
Fill in the details as per the below, at this point it would be a good idea to have create a user on the Ansible server for the user integration, this is my lab so root it is!

Note the Inventory path as per my other post (link) and then click validate to make sure you have things setup correctly

Machine generated alternative text:
& New Integration 
Name * 
Ansible Credentials 
Hostname * 
SSH port 
Inventory file path * 
username * 
Use sudo commands for this user 
O Password C) Private Key 
Credentials validated successfully

if it’s not setup right you might see an error message like below, just need to go back and check your config and paths settings, this one was the password vault file set wrong.

Ok we now have Ansible connected, what next, lets use it ! To do this i will be using playbooks in Ansible. Playbook are created in yaml format and can be used to run multiple tasks on a server or a hosts set.

We first need to setup the VRA base infrastructure configuration e.g. Flavor, Image, Networks, Compute the the below assumes this has already been done and is not covered in this post. I’m using a CentOS 7 VM template that I have a few settings pre configured like DNS, SSH….

We need to add in a couple extra settings into the ansible.cfg file

ssh_args = -o UserKnownHostsFile=/dev/null
inventory= /etc/ansible/hosts
log_path = /var/log/ansible.log

so lets create a simple playbook which again installs a web server on the CentOS. i’ve created a folder under the /etc/ansible folder called “Playbook”

mkdir /etc/ansible/Playbooks

when in the new directory create a file called Webserver.yml

vi Webserver.yml

The yaml: I’m just targeting the “Labservers” section in my ansible hosts file as before in my other post, as this is yaml it’s very sensitive to indentation and if incorrect can kick out some strange errors.

 - hosts: LabServers
   user: root
    - name: Install httpd
       name: httpd
       state: present

    - name: allow all access to tcp port 80
       port: 80/tcp
       zone: public
       state: enabled

    - name: allow all access to tcp port 443
       port: 443/tcp
       zone: public
       state: enabled

    - name: Start httpd
       name: httpd
       state: started

you can test that this playbook works by running the below commands from your Ansible server.

###See which hosts it will run against 
ansible-playbook Webserver.yml --list-hosts 

###Execute the Playbook
ansible-playbook Webserver.yml


Ok so now over to VRA create a new blueprint Cloud Assembly > Design > New. Add a Name and a Project and click create

I’m focusing on a vSphere deployment for this one so I drag onto the design canvas a vSphere:Machine object a vSphere:Network and lastly a Configuration:Ansible object. you should now have the below

join the network to the virtual machine object by hovering over the network pulling the little o to the virtual machine object

Join the Cloud_ansible Object to the VM and edit the JSON, I’ve added the playbook that I want to use under the Playbooks section and added the path to the file e.g. /etc/ansible/Platbooks/Webserver.yaml, also added user and password. In a production environment you would not place a clear text password here but use a different method to secure the credentials.

  type: Cloud.Ansible
   host: '${resource.Cloud_vSphere_Machine_1.*}'
   osType: linux
   account: Ansible
   username: root
   password: <password>
     - /etc/ansible/Playbooks/Webserver.yml

Once completed you should have a blueprint that looks like this

The full JSON: this also contains a networks selection which is driven by tags

formatVersion: 1
  type: string
    - title: Core
      const: 'network:Core01'
    - title: VRA Network
      const: 'network:VRA'
    - title: Mangement
      const: 'network:MGMT'
  title: Network Select
  type: Cloud.Ansible
    host: '${resource.Cloud_vSphere_Machine_1.*}'
    osType: linux
    account: Ansible
    username: root
    password: &lt;password>
        - /etc/ansible/Playbooks/Webserver.yml
  type: Cloud.vSphere.Machine
    image: vSphere-Linux-CentOS7
    flavor: vSphere-Small
    osType: Linux
    serverType: Web
      - tag: 'platform:vsphere'
    customizationSpec: Linux-CentOS
      - network: '${}'
    assignment: static
 type: Cloud.vSphere.Network
  name: Networks
   - tag: '${input.Network}'