Step-by-Step Guide to Using Ansible on Windows

Step-by-Step Guide to Using Ansible on Windows

In the realm of automation and configuration management, Ansible stands tall as an open-source tool that simplifies the process of managing and deploying software applications. While traditionally associated with Linux environments, Ansible has evolved to be cross-platform, including robust support for Windows. In this step-by-step guide, we will delve into the intricacies of using Ansible on a Windows environment, empowering users to harness the full potential of this powerful automation tool.

  1. Setting up Ansible on Windows:

    Before embarking on the automation journey, the first step is to install Ansible on your Windows machine. Ansible can be installed using the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) or through a native Windows installation.

    # Install Ansible using WSL
    wsl sudo apt-get update
    wsl sudo apt-get install ansible
    # Install Ansible on Windows
    pip install ansible
  2. Configuring Ansible:

    Once installed, Ansible needs to be configured to recognize your Windows hosts. The configuration file, usually located at /etc/ansible/ansible.cfg or C:\ProgramDatansiblensible.cfg, can be customized to suit your environment.

    inventory = C:\Path o\your\inventory ile
  3. Creating an Ansible Inventory:

    Ansible uses an inventory file to keep track of the hosts it manages. Create a simple inventory file listing the Windows hosts you want to manage.

  4. Testing the Connection:

    Before diving into automation tasks, ensure that Ansible can connect to your Windows hosts. The ansible command with the -m flag for the win_ping module can be used for a quick connectivity test.

    ansible windows_hosts -m win_ping


  • Running Basic Commands:

    Now that your setup is complete, let's explore some basic Ansible commands for Windows.

    # Run a command on Windows machines
    ansible windows_hosts -m win_shell -a "Get-Service"

    # Install a software package
    ansible windows_hosts -m win_chocolatey -a "name=firefox state=present"

    # Execute PowerShell script
    ansible windows_hosts -m win_shell -a "script.ps1"
  • Managing Windows Services:

    Ansible simplifies service management on Windows. For instance, starting and stopping services becomes a breeze.

    # Start a service
    ansible windows_hosts -m win_service -a "name=serviceName state=started"

    # Stop a service
    ansible windows_hosts -m win_service -a "name=serviceName state=stopped"

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Install Ansible on Windows:

    • Choose between WSL or native installation.
    • Follow the provided commands for installation.
  2. Configure Ansible:

    • Edit the configuration file to point to your inventory.
  3. Create an Ansible Inventory:

    • List your Windows hosts in an inventory file.
  4. Test the Connection:

    • Ensure connectivity using the win_ping module.
  5. Run Basic Commands:

    • Execute commands, install software, and run PowerShell scripts.
  6. Manage Windows Services:

    • Start and stop services effortlessly.

More Examples:

  1. Deploying Applications:

    Ansible excels in application deployment. Consider the following example of deploying a web application on Windows hosts.

    - name: Deploy Web App
    hosts: windows_hosts
    - name: Copy files
    src: /path/to/webapp
    dest: C:\WebApp

    - name: Start IIS
    name: W3SVC
    state: started
  2. Configuring Windows Firewall:

    Ansible can manage Windows Firewall settings efficiently.

    - name: Allow Port 80
    hosts: windows_hosts
    - name: Allow Inbound Port 80
    name: AllowPort80
    direction: in
    protocol: tcp
    localport: 80
    action: allow

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