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debugging ansible

March 14th, 2016 Posted in geeky stuff

I’ve been playing with Ansible recently, and enjoying automating my server installs, after years of relying on home-made scripts (or worse).

From time to time I need to find out why Ansible isn’t doing what I think it should be, and after using -vvvv verbose flag, my next step is running the generated ansible installation script manually on the server. I didn’t find this explained anywhere, so I’m documenting it here for future reference.

First, run your ansible-playbook command on your local machine, setting the ANSIBLE_KEEP_REMOTE_FILES variable :

$ ANSIBLE_KEEP_REMOTE_FILES=1 ansible-playbook playbook.yml --ask-sudo-pass -vvvv

Make a note of the name of the file ansible copied to your server (it should be in your home directory, in .ansible/tmp/ansible-tmp-XXXXXXXXXXXX/ ) , then on the target machine (you should be doing this in your test environment or in a vagrant virtual machine), run the command using the python debugger :

$ pdb ~/.ansible/tmp/ansible-tmp-XXXXXXXXXXXX/command

You can step through the command file to see what Ansible is really doing. First step is to break at main() :

(Pdb) b main

then step through the code until it breaks

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