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Collections in Ansible Core
Gonéri Le Bouder
Senior Software Engineer, Ansible Core
COLLECTIONS
● A new means to distribute Ansible content currently in TECH
PREVIOUS
○ An artifact format for consistent content structure
○ Contains 1-N of roles, modules, plugins and module utilities
○ Enables versioning of external content
○ Enables consistent delivery independent of Ansible distributions
○ Installable as system, user or project resources
● Immediate use of the content found within the artifact
● Namespacing support built into the collection
● Difficult distribution of non-role content
● Plugin/role name collisions
● Difficult code-sharing for most plugins
What problems do collections solve?
● Multiple roles with deps? Good luck.
● Roles already distribute plugins- done?
○ Requires role to be "entered" (see also ansible-wtf)
○ Plugins are not "first-class citizens"
○ Versioning/maintenance issues
Problem 1: Content Distribution
● Collection may contain 1-N:
○ Roles/Modules/Plugins
○ Playbooks (future/TBD)
● Collection is the unit of distribution and versioning
● Installable:
○ globally
○ per-user
○ content-adjacent (ie per-project)
Content Distribution with Collections
● Default paths (searched in this order, configurable)
○ (current playbook)/collections
○ ~/.ansible/collections
○ /usr/share/ansible/collections
● Mazer/ansible-galaxy
Installing collections content
● Ansible has a global(ish) flat plugin namespace
● Role1 and Role2 both distribute my_module
○ Which one will get used? (ha!)
○ Can I use them both in the same run? (no)
○ What if core later includes a my_module? (screwed)
○ What if the project has in library/ ?
○ What if the user has in ~/.ansible/?
○ What if the system has in /usr/share/ansible ?
○ Issue exists for roles and all modules/plugins
Problem 2: Name Collisions
● Collections have a namespace and name
○ For distribution, namespace == Galaxy user/org
● Content in collections is accessed by namespace
○ mynamespace.mycollection.my_module
○ f5.bigip.provisioning_role
● Built-in collections
○ ansible.builtin
○ ansible.legacy
Namespacing with Collections
- hosts: somehosts
tasks:
- myns.mycollection.athing:
- ansible.builtin.ping: # use only the ping packaged in core
- ansible.legacy.ping: # use core or library(etc)/ping.py
when: thing | myns.mycollection.filter == 42
- ping: # still works, == ansible.legacy.ping:
Sample playbook
That's awfully verbose...
- hosts: somehosts
collections:
- ansible.builtin
- myns.mycollection
- otherns.othercollection
tasks:
- mymodule: # first found in the list of collections
- otherns.othercollection.mymodule: # fully-qualified is fine
Enter the collections keyword
● module_utils only works for modules
○ unless you're "in the box"
○ perverse incentives
● eg, Azure/AWS want to share utility code between
○ modules/actions/inventory/lookup plugins
● Just use pip!
Problem 3: Code sharing
● Entire collection is a Python namespace package
● All installed collection content is accessible
○ even across collections!
○ ansible_collections root Python namespace
○ ansible_collections.mynamespace.mycollection
● PEP302 loader magic
○ collection is the smallest unit of distributed namespace
Code sharing in Collections
Demo
● VirtLightning: a solution to deploy VM
● Python code base, no Ansible module (yet!)
● Does not fit in the $role/library model
○ The module should be usable everywhere
○ The Inventory plugin won’t work
● Not ready for a core inclusion
○ Not mature yet
● Good candidate for a collection!
Demo
Recording
https://asciinema.org/a/241619
Repository
https://github.com/virt-lightning/ansible-collection-virt-lightning
Demo
● Experimental in 2.8
● https://github.com/ansible/ansible/pull/52194
● Basics are working (see PR for docs/known issues)
● Playbooks-in-collections not implemented in 2.8
● Galaxy/Mazer/Tower support?
● Molecule, etc?
Collections-in-core project status
● IRC #ansible and #ansible-devel
● Mailing list: Ansible-Project
● https://www.ansible.com/community
Feedback wanted
Questions?

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Montreal ansible meetup april 17th, 2019

  • 1. Collections in Ansible Core Gonéri Le Bouder Senior Software Engineer, Ansible Core
  • 2. COLLECTIONS ● A new means to distribute Ansible content currently in TECH PREVIOUS ○ An artifact format for consistent content structure ○ Contains 1-N of roles, modules, plugins and module utilities ○ Enables versioning of external content ○ Enables consistent delivery independent of Ansible distributions ○ Installable as system, user or project resources ● Immediate use of the content found within the artifact ● Namespacing support built into the collection
  • 3. ● Difficult distribution of non-role content ● Plugin/role name collisions ● Difficult code-sharing for most plugins What problems do collections solve?
  • 4. ● Multiple roles with deps? Good luck. ● Roles already distribute plugins- done? ○ Requires role to be "entered" (see also ansible-wtf) ○ Plugins are not "first-class citizens" ○ Versioning/maintenance issues Problem 1: Content Distribution
  • 5. ● Collection may contain 1-N: ○ Roles/Modules/Plugins ○ Playbooks (future/TBD) ● Collection is the unit of distribution and versioning ● Installable: ○ globally ○ per-user ○ content-adjacent (ie per-project) Content Distribution with Collections
  • 6. ● Default paths (searched in this order, configurable) ○ (current playbook)/collections ○ ~/.ansible/collections ○ /usr/share/ansible/collections ● Mazer/ansible-galaxy Installing collections content
  • 7. ● Ansible has a global(ish) flat plugin namespace ● Role1 and Role2 both distribute my_module ○ Which one will get used? (ha!) ○ Can I use them both in the same run? (no) ○ What if core later includes a my_module? (screwed) ○ What if the project has in library/ ? ○ What if the user has in ~/.ansible/? ○ What if the system has in /usr/share/ansible ? ○ Issue exists for roles and all modules/plugins Problem 2: Name Collisions
  • 8. ● Collections have a namespace and name ○ For distribution, namespace == Galaxy user/org ● Content in collections is accessed by namespace ○ mynamespace.mycollection.my_module ○ f5.bigip.provisioning_role ● Built-in collections ○ ansible.builtin ○ ansible.legacy Namespacing with Collections
  • 9. - hosts: somehosts tasks: - myns.mycollection.athing: - ansible.builtin.ping: # use only the ping packaged in core - ansible.legacy.ping: # use core or library(etc)/ping.py when: thing | myns.mycollection.filter == 42 - ping: # still works, == ansible.legacy.ping: Sample playbook
  • 11. - hosts: somehosts collections: - ansible.builtin - myns.mycollection - otherns.othercollection tasks: - mymodule: # first found in the list of collections - otherns.othercollection.mymodule: # fully-qualified is fine Enter the collections keyword
  • 12. ● module_utils only works for modules ○ unless you're "in the box" ○ perverse incentives ● eg, Azure/AWS want to share utility code between ○ modules/actions/inventory/lookup plugins ● Just use pip! Problem 3: Code sharing
  • 13. ● Entire collection is a Python namespace package ● All installed collection content is accessible ○ even across collections! ○ ansible_collections root Python namespace ○ ansible_collections.mynamespace.mycollection ● PEP302 loader magic ○ collection is the smallest unit of distributed namespace Code sharing in Collections
  • 14. Demo
  • 15. ● VirtLightning: a solution to deploy VM ● Python code base, no Ansible module (yet!) ● Does not fit in the $role/library model ○ The module should be usable everywhere ○ The Inventory plugin won’t work ● Not ready for a core inclusion ○ Not mature yet ● Good candidate for a collection! Demo
  • 17. ● Experimental in 2.8 ● https://github.com/ansible/ansible/pull/52194 ● Basics are working (see PR for docs/known issues) ● Playbooks-in-collections not implemented in 2.8 ● Galaxy/Mazer/Tower support? ● Molecule, etc? Collections-in-core project status
  • 18. ● IRC #ansible and #ansible-devel ● Mailing list: Ansible-Project ● https://www.ansible.com/community Feedback wanted