Ansible is a great tool for provisioning AWS environment. You can run Ansible commands from your mac, but I prefer setting up a VM on mac and running Ansible playbooks from there.

We will use CentOS 7 distribution of Linux for the VM. Vagrant should be installed on the mac. For installing vagrant click here.

Set Up VM, Install Ansible and boto

cd into your working directory and create the below files.

  • Vagrantfile for vm configuration
  • playbook.yml playbook for provisioning virtual machine
  • ansible folder for ansible playbooks for provisioning AWS
  • group_vars folder for variables
  • templates folder for virtual machine config files
$ mkdir ansible group_vars templates
$ touch Vagrantfile playbook.yml templates/boto.j2 group_vars/all

Copy the below lines into Vagrantfile. This configuration is to

  • set up a virtual environment that runs CentOS 7
  • create a sync folder between the host machine and the virtual machine
  • update packages
  • install ansible
  • install Python boto - Boto is a Python package that provides interfaces to Amazon Web Services. Read more about Boto here. It lists all the AWS Services that boto supports. x
Vagrant.configure(2) do |config| = "centos/7"
config.vm.synced_folder "./ansible", "/home/vagrant/ansible"
config.vm.provision "ansible" do |ansible|
# ansible.verbose = "v"
ansible.playbook = "playbook.yml"

Copy the below into playbook.yml

- hosts: all
become: true
- name: Upgrade all packages
yum: name=* state=latest

- name: Install EPEL repository
yum: name= state=present

- name: Install Ansible
yum: name=ansible

- name: Install python-pip
yum: name=python-pip

- name: pip install boto
pip: name=boto

- name: Setup boto config file
template: src=boto.j2

Copy the below into templates/boto.j2

aws_access_key_id = {{ AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID }}
aws_secret_access_key = {{ AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY }}

Copy the below into group_vars/all and update aws access key, secret access key

AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID: update-aws-access-key-id
AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY: update-aws-secret-access-key

Bring the vm box up:

$ vagrant up

The above statement creates virtual machine and provisions. Later if only provisioning is needed, we can just run

$ vagrant provision

Now we have a virtual machine that is fully configured to create and run Ansible Playbooks for configuring AWS.

Ssh into vm box:

$ vagrant ssh

Lets create a playbook to create EC2 key pair

$ cd ~/ansible

Create hosts file in current directory and update it:


Create playbook file keypair.yml in current directory and update with below lines

- hosts: localhost
  connection: local
  gather_facts: no
    region: us-west-2
    keyname: aws-key-pair-usoregon
    - name: create key pair
        region: "{{ region }}"
        name: "{{ keyname }}"
      register: mykey

    - debug: var=mykey

    - name: write to file
      copy: content="{{ mykey.key.private_key }}" dest="~/.ssh/{{ keyname }}.pem" mode=0600
      when: mykey.changed

Execute the playbook: $ ansible-playbook -i hosts keypair.yml

New key pair is created and the private key is saved to ~/.ssh/aws-key-pair-usoregon.pem