AWS, Cloud Computing, Kubernetes

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Automating Infrastructure as Code using Ansible with AWS CloudFormation

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Infrastructure as code (IAC) has become an essential practice in modern cloud computing. Amazon Web Services (AWS) CloudFormation and Ansible are two popular tools used for IAC. This blog post will show how to use AWS CloudFormation to launch an EC2 instance and then use Ansible to configure a web server.

What is AWS CloudFormation?

AWS CloudFormation is a solution that assists you in modeling and configuring your Amazon Web Services resources so that you can spend more time concentrating on your applications and less time managing those resources. With CloudFormation, you create a template that describes the AWS resources you want to use, and CloudFormation provisions those resources in a safe, repeatable manner.

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What is Ansible?

Ansible is an automation tool that assists us in automating repetitive processes like configuration management, application deployment, and task automation. To define playbooks, which automate the tasks needed to configure and deploy software applications, Ansible uses YAML files.

Launching an EC2 instance using AWS CloudFormation

We will start by creating a CloudFormation stack that launches an EC2 instance. Here is an illustration of a CloudFormation script for EC2 instance setup:

The CloudFormation template creates an EC2 instance with the specified AMI, instance type, key pair, and security group.

Configuring a web server using Ansible

Once the EC2 instance is launched, we will use Ansible to configure the webserver on the instance. Here is an example of an Ansible playbook that installs and configures the Apache web server on the EC2 instance:

The above Ansible playbook installs the Apache web server using the yum package manager and configures it using a template. The template is stored in a file named httpd.conf.j2 in the templates directory. Once the configuration is complete, Ansible restarts the Apache web server.


In this blog post, we demonstrated how to use AWS CloudFormation to launch an EC2 instance and then use Ansible to configure a web server. This approach allows us to provision and configure our infrastructure safely and repeatedly easily. By using CloudFormation and Ansible together, we can create an efficient and reliable infrastructure that can quickly scale to meet the demands of our applications.

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Drop a query if you have any questions regarding AWS CloudFormation, Ansible and I will get back to you quickly.

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1. Why use AWS CloudFormation to launch an EC2 instance?

ANS: – AWS CloudFormation helps you create and manage AWS resources in a safe, repeatable, and automated manner. Using CloudFormation, you can quickly and easily launch an EC2 instance with the desired configuration, such as instance type, AMI, key pair, and security groups. You can also update or remove the resources in a controlled manner, reducing the risk of human error.

2. What is the benefit of using Ansible to configure the web server?

ANS: – Ansible is an open-source automation tool that helps automate repetitive tasks such as configuration management, application deployment, and task automation. You can automate configuring the web server on the EC2 instance using Ansible. This makes it easy to provision and configure your infrastructure safely and repeatedly.

3. Can I use other configuration management tools instead of Ansible?

ANS: – Yes, there are several other configuration management tools available that can be used to configure web servers, such as Puppet, Chef, and SaltStack. However, Ansible is a popular tool known for its simplicity and ease of use. It also has a large community of users who contribute to its development and provide support.

4. How can I test my CloudFormation template and Ansible playbook?

ANS: – You can use AWS CloudFormation StackSets and Ansible Playbook testing frameworks to test your CloudFormation templates and Ansible playbooks. You can also use AWS CloudFormation Change Sets to preview the changes that will be made to your resources before you apply them.

5. Can I use CloudFormation and Ansible to configure other types of servers?

ANS: – Yes, you can use CloudFormation and Ansible to configure other types of servers, such as database servers, application servers, and cache servers. You can create a CloudFormation stack that launches the desired server type and then use Ansible to configure it.

WRITTEN BY Vineet Negi

Vineet Negi is a Research Associate at CloudThat. He is part of the Kubernetes vertical and has worked on DevOps and many other Cloud Computing technologies. He is an enthusiastic individual who is passionate about exploring all the latest technologies from a learning perspective.



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