Rancher Ansible

Using Ansible to run Rancher platform and register hosts
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This playbook will install Rancher platform (latest version) and register hosts automatically with Rancher, this playbook can be used to automatically create hosts on AWS using cloudformation or to install Rancher and register hosts on already created hosts using static inventory file.

The playbook can be used to set up Rancher environment without manually registering each host with Rancher server.


This setup consists of 3 main roles:

  • Docker Role

The Docker role will be responsible of installing Docker on the host, the role support installation on Debian/RHEL systems, and also you can specify the desired version to be installed through the vars files for each OS type.

  • Rancher Role

The Rancher role is responsible of running th Rancher server container with the specific rancher server version.

  • rancher_reg Role

This role will run the fetch the registration command from the Rancher server and run the rancher agent container.


To use the AWS playbook, you have to first configure the aws variable file, located in providers/aws/vars/aws_vars.yml:


aws_stack_name: "rancher-stack"
aws_region: "eu-central-1"
aws_az: "eu-central-1b"
aws_rancher_ami: "ami-3f1bd150"
aws_rancher_instance_type: "t2.small"
aws_vpc_id: "xxxxxxx"
aws_key_pair: "hussein"
aws_agent_count: "2"
aws_max_agent_count: "3"
aws_agent_ami: "ami-3f1bd150"
aws_agent_instance_type: "t2.micro"
aws_subnet_id: "xxxxxxxxx"

rancher_server: "{{ hostvars[groups['tag_InventoryName_<aws_stack_name>_rancher_server'][0]]['ansible_ssh_host'] }}"
rancher_version: v1.5.3
rancher_port: 8080
rancher_server_user: ubuntu
rancher_agents_user: ubuntu

Input variables

  • aws_stack_name

This will be used as the cloudformation stack name, you should set this name also in rancher_server variable.

  • aws_region

The region where the cloudformation stack will be deployed.

  • aws_az

The availability zone name

  • aws_rancher_ami

The AMI that will be used for the Rancher server, this is also related to the rancher_server_user variable, you should set the right user to be used by Ansible to ssh to the Rancher server host, for example for RedHat AMI you should set the user to ec2-user.

  • aws_rancher_instance_type

The EC2 instance type that will be used for the Rancher server.

  • aws_vpc_id

The VPC where the cloudformation stack will be deployed, note that the playbook doesn't currently create a custom vpc however you can choose the vpc using this variable.

  • aws_key_pair

The EC2 key pair that will be set on all of the hosts.

  • aws_agent_count

The number of agent instances that will be created and registered to the Rancher server.

  • aws_max_agent_count

The max agent count for the Autoscaling group for Rancher agents.

  • aws_agent_ami

The AMI that will be used for the Rancher agents, this is also related to the rancher_agents_user variable, you should set the right user to be used by Ansible to ssh to the Rancher server host, for example for RedHat AMI you should set the user to ec2-user.

  • aws_agent_instance_type

The EC2 instance type that will be used for the Rancher agents.

  • aws_subnet_id

The subnet where that will be used to deploy the rancher agents and server.

  • rancher_server

The Rancher server endpoint, this variable by default uses the magic ansible variables to point to the Rancher server host, where it searches for a Ansible group tag_InventoryName_<aws_stack_name>_rancher_server this tag is added by default in the cloudformation template.

  • rancher_version

The Rancher server version.

  • rancher_port

The Rancher server port that will be exposed on the host.


The AWS playbook uses the AWS dynamic inventory, so before using the playbook you should set the right credentials to be used with inventory:


Then you should execute the following command to run the playbook:

$ ansible-playbook -i providers/aws/inventory/ec2.py aws.yml

Static Deployment

If you prefer to just run the roles on existing hosts, you can choose the other.yml file to run.


  • Add the connection information for the Rancher server under the [rancher] group:
rancher ansible_ssh_port=22 ansible_ssh_host=x.x.x.x
  • Add all the nodes that will be registered with Rancher under the [Agents] group:
agent1 ansible_ssh_port=22 ansible_ssh_host=y.y.y.y
agent2 ansible_ssh_port=22 ansible_ssh_host=z.z.z.z
  • Run the ansible-playbook command to setup the environment:
# ansible-playbook -u user -i providers/other/inventory/hosts rancher.yml
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