Introduction to Ansible prompts and runtime variables

This tutorial is part of a series we dedicated to Ansible. Previously we talked about the Ansible basics, then we focused on some Ansible modules we can use to perform some very common administration tasks, and we also talked about Ansible loops. In this article, instead, we learn how to create interactive prompts we can use to ask for user input and how to pass variables at runtime.

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Ansible tutorial for beginners on Linux

A system administrator, in the vast majority of cases, has to take care of more than one server, so he often has to perform repetitive tasks on all of them. In these cases automation is a must. Ansible is an open source software owned by Red Hat; it is written in the Python programming lanaguage, and it is a provisioning and configuration management software which help us in the aforementioned cases. In this tutorial we will see how to install it and the basic concepts behind its usage.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to install Ansible on the most used Linux distributions
  • How to configure Ansible
  • What is the Ansible inventory
  • What are the Ansible modules
  • How to run a module from the command line
  • How to create and run a playbook

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Image showing a Puppet sync error message

How to use Puppet environments in Linux to safely update an agent


Create and use puppet environments to test new configuration before updating a live production system.

Operating System and Software Versions

  • Operating System: Any major linux distribution e.g. Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS
  • Software: puppet and puppet-master


Privileged access to the puppet master server and the puppet client node.


  • # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
  • $ – given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user


Most Puppet installations begin life as a master server running a single branch. The master contains all the manifests and other configuration for all the Puppet agents that are synced to it. This is a fine place to begin but there will rapidly arrive a time when an update needs pushing that has the potential to break a production server. Hoping for the best is not the best way to proceed.

Puppet provides the tools to separate entire branches of configuration. These are called environments. A Puppet environment is a way to supply an isolated group of agent nodes with their own dedicated configuration. Each environment contains an entire Puppet configuration tree and can be considered as a separate Puppet master server.

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