Introduction to ARA
ARA  is an open source tool which is able to log your Ansible playbook runs, save them into a database and display them in an intuitive web interface. It integrates with Ansible using Ansible's callback plugin  in order to log your playbook run.
ARA can be deployed anywhere, and record Ansible playbook runs from multiple sources.
In this blog post we'll discuss in how to quickstart ARA and add it as part of your Ansible flow.
ARA as part of your stack
ARA is production tested and is a big part of OpenStack upstream CI initiative.
One of the downsides of Ansible is that all of your Ansible executions are only logged to output. There is no native way to keep a record of an Ansible run.
Compared to Ansible Tower, ARA aims to solve a single issue, provide an interface to log and view Ansible playbook runs and doesn't require any additional complex deployments or maintenance.
For a more in-depth guide on installing ARA, refer to its documentation .
Install ARA via pip(make sure Ansible is installed):
pip install ara
Configure Ansible To Use Ara
ARA integrates with Ansible using callback plugins, which can be defined via configuration file(ansible.cfg ) or via environment variables.
Retrieve the needed environment variables:
# View environment variables python -m ara.setup.env export ANSIBLE_CALLBACK_PLUGINS=/tmp/PY2/lib/python2.7/site-packages/ara/plugins/callbacks export ANSIBLE_ACTION_PLUGINS=/tmp/PY2/lib/python2.7/site-packages/ara/plugins/actions export PYTHONPATH=/tmp/PY2/lib/python2.7/site-packages:/tmp/PY/lib/python2.7/site-packages # Source environment variables eval $(python -m ara.setup.env)
Start The ARA Standalone Server
By default, ARA web interface will be started on 127.0.0.1 due to ARA_HOST envrionment variable's default
In order to change the bind, assign a new value to ARA_HOST
A web interface is a part of ARA, it can be launched using the
ara-manage runserver &
Browse the server at
Run A Demo Playbook
Create the following demo
--- - hosts: localhost tasks: - name: Print Message debug: msg: "This is a demo for ARA" - name: Log ARA Key ara_record: key: 'ara_test' value: 'Value' - name: Retrieve ARA Key ara_read: key: 'ara_test'
Exploring ARA Records
After each Ansible playbook run, the record is saved into a database.
We'll focus on the web interface, CLI exploration is out of scope and can be viewed in ARA's documentation .
A web interface representing all the records is available:
You can view the playbook's content by clicking its name:
Viewing Ansible Variables
All Ansible variables are logged and can be viewed by clicking on
Viewing Ansible Hosts
All Ansible hosts that were used in the run can be viewed by clicking on
View Ansible Plays
All Ansible plays that were performed in the run can be viewed by clicking
View Ansible Playbook Files
All the files that are part of the playbook can be viewed by clicking
View Ansible Tasks
All tasks which were performed in the run can be viewed by clicking
The result of an individual task can be viewed by clicking an its entry in the
View ARA Records
ARA records are special variables that can be registered and accessed during run. Those records are logged and displayed as part of an Ansible run record.
ARA is a great addition to your Ansible flow, it's easy to setup, scalable and decentrailized.
A small self-hosted ARA enhances troubleshooting and logging capabilities of Ansible.