Custom Ansible Playbooks

Kayobe supports running custom Ansible playbooks located outside of the kayobe project. This provides a flexible mechanism for customising a control plane. Access to the kayobe variables is possible, ensuring configuration does not need to be repeated.

Kayobe Custom Playbook API

Explicitly allowing users to run custom playbooks with access to the kayobe variables elevates the variable namespace and inventory to become an interface. This raises questions about the stability of this interface, and the guarantees it provides.

The following guidelines apply to the custom playbook API:

  • Only variables defined in the kayobe configuration files under etc/kayobe are supported.

  • The groups defined in etc/kayobe/inventory/groups are supported.

  • Any change to a supported variable (rename, schema change, default value change, or removal) or supported group (rename or removal) will follow a deprecation period of one release cycle.

  • Kayobe’s internal roles may not be used.

Note that these are guidelines, and exceptions may be made where appropriate.

Running Custom Ansible Playbooks

Run one or more custom ansible playbooks:

(kayobe) $ kayobe playbook run <playbook>[, <playbook>...]

Playbooks do not by default have access to the Kayobe playbook group variables, filter plugins, and test plugins, since these are relative to the current playbook’s directory. This can be worked around by creating symbolic links to the Kayobe repository from the Kayobe configuration.

Packaging Custom Playbooks With Configuration

The kayobe project encourages its users to manage configuration for a cloud using version control, based on the kayobe-config repository. Storing custom Ansible playbooks in this repository makes a lot of sense, and kayobe has special support for this.

It is recommended to store custom playbooks in $KAYOBE_CONFIG_PATH/ansible/. Roles located in $KAYOBE_CONFIG_PATH/ansible/roles/ will be automatically available to playbooks in this directory.

With this directory layout, the following commands could be used to create symlinks that allow access to Kayobe’s filter plugins, group variables and test plugins:

cd ${KAYOBE_CONFIG_PATH}/ansible/
ln -s ../../../../kayobe/ansible/filter_plugins/ filter_plugins
ln -s ../../../../kayobe/ansible/group_vars/ group_vars
ln -s ../../../../kayobe/ansible/test_plugins/ test_plugins

These symlinks can even be committed to the kayobe-config Git repository.


These symlinks rely on having a kayobe source checkout at the same level as the kayobe-config repository checkout, as described in Installation from source.

Ansible Galaxy

Ansible Galaxy provides a means for sharing Ansible roles. Kayobe configuration may provide a Galaxy requirements file that defines roles to be installed from Galaxy. These roles may then be used by custom playbooks.

Galaxy role dependencies may be defined in $KAYOBE_CONFIG_PATH/ansible/requirements.yml. These roles will be installed in $KAYOBE_CONFIG_PATH/ansible/roles/ when bootstrapping the Ansible control host:

(kayobe) $ kayobe control host bootstrap

And updated when upgrading the Ansible control host:

(kayobe) $ kayobe control host upgrade


The following example adds a foo.yml playbook to a set of kayobe configuration. The playbook uses a Galaxy role, bar.baz.

Here is the kayobe configuration repository structure:


Here is the playbook, ansible/foo.yml:

- hosts: controllers
    - name: bar.baz

Here is the Galaxy requirements file, ansible/requirements.yml:

- bar.baz

We should first install the Galaxy role dependencies, to download the bar.baz role:

(kayobe) $ kayobe control host bootstrap

Then, to run the foo.yml playbook:

(kayobe) $ kayobe playbook run $KAYOBE_CONFIG_PATH/ansible/foo.yml