Use Docker for Ansible playbook work out

Sigfox Infrastructure team deploy most of things with Ansible.

In our way to full DevOps, we delegate Ansible deployment playbook creation to software development teams.


That is why we use Docker.

Docker image versionning can be done in two ways:

The second one is my favorite because git is a loooot more powerfull and reliable than docker versionning. Using sinmple text files matches more with Unix philosophy and culture of low we have at Sigfox (Marketing say Power of Low).

DockerFile repository

We put all our DockerFile in a git repository.

Some images for development purpose, some other one are copies of production configuration.

To illustrate this, suppose that we have ubuntu server 14.04 in production.

This is Docker image I will use :

FROM ubuntu:14.04
MAINTAINER Xavier Raffin <>

RUN apt-get update && apt-get install -y openssh-server
RUN mkdir /var/run/sshd
RUN echo 'root:secretpassword' | chpasswd
RUN sed -i 's/PermitRootLogin without-password/PermitRootLogin yes/' /etc/ssh/sshd_config
RUN sed -i 's/#PasswordAuthentication yes/PasswordAuthentication yes/' /etc/ssh/sshd_config

# SSH login fix. Otherwise user is kicked off after login
RUN sed 's@session\s*required\s* optional' -i /etc/pam.d/sshd

ENV NOTVISIBLE "in users profile"
RUN echo "export VISIBLE=now" >> /etc/profile

CMD ["/usr/sbin/sshd", "-D"]

This docker file is based on ubuntu 14.04 official image and add ssh access for root with password “secretpassword”.

How to use DockerFile

First build docker image. Here I name it “mapserver”

docker build -t mapserver /path/of/your/dockerfile/dir

Then create a container (I call it ‘map1’) and launch it:

docker run -d --name map1 mapserver

Or with a data directory and port forwarding:

docker run -d -v /host/directory/to/map/:/container/mountpoint -p80:80  --name map1 mapserver

Then, you need to get container IP address:

docker inspect map1 | grep IPAddress

Then connect (login/pass = root/secretpassword) to check access

ssh root@ 

If something goes wrong and you need a terminal on the container do:

docker exec -it map1 bash

Then if you want ssh keys instead of password do:

cat ~/.ssh/ | ssh root@ "mkdir -p ~/.ssh && cat >>  ~/.ssh/authorized_keys"

Then you have a good base to play with Ansible


Now you have a container similar to production servers and you can tune youre Ansible playbooks.

Just basic reminder : you need to add container in your ansible host list In /etc/ansible/hosts you will have something like this :

[docker] server_name=map1

Then check connection

ansible all -m ping -u root

When done you can start working with your playbook

ansible-playbook -u root deploy.yml

Now you can impress sysadmins with your always working playbooks ;-)