Ansible Operator Advanced Options

This document shows the advanced options available to a developer of an ansible operator.

Runner Directory

The ansible runner will keep information about the ansible run in the container. This is located /tmp/ansible-operator/runner/<group>/<version>/<kind>/<namespace>/<name>. To learn more about the runner directory you can read the ansible-runner docs.

Owner Reference Injection

Owner references enable Kubernetes Garbage Collection to clean up after a CR is deleted. Owner references are injected by ansible operators by default by the proxy.

Owner references only apply to resources in the same namespace as the CR. Resources outside the namespace of the CR will automatically be annotated with operator-sdk/primary-resource and operator-sdk/primary-resource-type to track creation. These resources will not be automatically garbage collected. To handle deletion of these resources, use a finalizer.

You may want to manage what your operator watches and the owner references. This means that your operator will need to understand how to clean up after itself when your CR is deleted. To disable these features you will need to edit your Dockerfile to include the line below.

NOTE: That if you use this feature there will be a warning that dependent watches is turned off but there will be no error. WARNING: Once a CR is deployed without owner reference injection, there is no automatic way to add those references.

ENTRYPOINT ["/usr/local/bin/entrypoint", "--inject-owner-ref=false"]

If you have created resources without owner reference injection, it is possible to manually to update resources following this guide.

Max Concurrent Reconciles

Increasing the number of concurrent reconciles allows events to be processed concurrently, which can improve reconciliation performance.

The maximum number of concurrent reconciles can be set in two ways. Operator authors and admins can set the max concurrent reconciles default by including extra args to the operator container in config/manager/manager.yaml and the patch in config/default/auth_proxy_patch.yaml. (Otherwise, the default is the maximum number of logical CPUs available for the process obtained using runtime.NumCPU().)

NOTE: Admins using OLM should use the environment variable instead of the extra args.

- name: manager
  image: ""
  imagePullPolicy: "Always"
    - "--max-concurrent-reconciles"
    - "3"

Operator admins can override the value by setting an environment variable in the format MAX_CONCURRENT_RECONCILES_<kind>_<group>. This variable must be all uppercase, and periods (e.g. in the group name) are replaced with underscores.

For the memcached operator example, the component parts are retrieved with a GET on the operator:

$ kubectl get memcacheds example-memcached -o yaml

kind: Memcached
  name: example-memcached
  namespace: default

From this data, we can see that the environment variable will be MAX_CONCURRENT_RECONCILES_MEMCACHED_CACHE_EXAMPLE_COM, which we can then add to config/manager/manager.yaml and config/default/auth_proxy_patch.yaml:

- name: manager
  image: ""
  imagePullPolicy: "Always"
    # This default is overridden.
    - "--max-concurrent-reconciles"
    - "3"
    # This value is used
      value: "6"

Ansible Verbosity

Setting the verbosity at which ansible-runner is run controls how verbose the output of ansible-playbook will be. The normal rules for verbosity apply here, where higher values mean more output. Acceptable values range from 0 (only the most severe messages are output) to 7 (all debugging messages are output).

There are three ways to configure the verbosity argument to the ansible-runner command:

  1. Operator authors and admins can set the Ansible verbosity by including extra args to the operator container in the operator deployment.
  2. Operator admins can set Ansible verbosity by setting an environment variable in the format ANSIBLE_VERBOSITY_<kind>_<group>. This variable must be all uppercase and all periods (e.g. in the group name) are replaced with underscore.
  3. Operator users, authors, and admins can set the Ansible verbosity by setting the "" annotation on the Custom Resource.


For demonstration purposes, let us assume that we have a database operator that supports two Kinds – MongoDB and PostgreSQL – in the Group. We have only recently implemented the support for the MongoDB Kind so we want reconciles for this Kind to be more verbose. Our operator container’s spec in our config/manager/manager.yaml and config/default/auth_proxy_patch.yaml files might contain something like:

- name: manager
  image: ""
  imagePullPolicy: "Always"
    # This value applies to all GVKs specified in watches.yaml
    # that are not overridden by environment variables.
    - "--ansible-verbosity"
    - "1"
    # Override the verbosity for the MongoDB kind
      value: "4"

Once the Operator is deployed, the only way to change the verbosity is via the "" annotation. Continuing with our example, our CR may look like:

apiVersion: ""
kind: "PostgreSQL"
  name: "example-db"
    "": "5"
spec: {}

Custom Resources with OpenAPI Validation

Currently, SDK tool does not support and will not generate automatically the CRD’s using the OpenAPI spec to perform validations.

However, it can be done manually by adding its validations as you can check in the following example.


kind: CustomResourceDefinition
    kind: Memcached
    listKind: MemcachedList
    plural: memcacheds
    singular: memcached
  scope: Namespaced
    status: {}
      description: Memcached is the Schema for the memcacheds API
          description: 'APIVersion defines the versioned schema of this representation
            of an object. Servers should convert recognized schemas to the latest
            internal value, and may reject unrecognized values. More info:'
          type: string
          description: 'Kind is a string value representing the REST resource this
            object represents. Servers may infer this from the endpoint the client
            submits requests to. Cannot be updated. In CamelCase. More info:'
          type: string
          type: object
          description: MemcachedSpec defines the desired state of Memcached
              description: Size is the size of the memcached deployment
              format: int32
              type: integer
          - size
          type: object
          description: MemcachedStatus defines the observed state of Memcached
              description: Nodes are the names of the memcached pods
                type: string
              type: array
          - nodes
          type: object
      type: object
  - name: v1alpha1
    served: true
    storage: true

Passing Arbitrary Arguments to Ansible

You are able to use the flag --ansible-args to pass an arbitrary argument to the Ansible-based Operator. With this option we can, for example, allow a playbook to run a specific part of the configuration without running the whole playbook:

ansible-operator run --ansible-args='--tags "configuration,packages"'
ansible-operator run --ansible-args='--skip-tags "notification"'

Ansible-runner will perform the task relevant to the command specified by the user in the ---ansible-args flag.

Using Ansible-Vault

Ansible Vault allows you to keep sensitive data such as passwords or keys in encrypted files, rather than as plaintext in playbooks or roles. You can specify Ansible-Vault file via an arbitrary argument by using the --ansible-args flag. For example, let’s assume that a playbook reads in a file vars.yml which contains an encrypted text and stores it in a variable secret:

- name: Playbook to print debug messages
  hosts: localhost
    - name: Get the decrypted message variable
        file: vars.yml
        name: secret
    - debug:
        msg: The decrypted value is {{secret.the_secret}}

Now, let’s also assume that we have a password file, pwd.yml, that contains the password to decrypt the encrypted text. Then, by running the command ansible-operator run --ansible-args='--vault-password-file /absolute/path/to/pwd.yml' the operator will read in the encrypted text from the file and perform decryption using the password stored in the pwd.yml file:

--------------------------- Ansible Task StdOut -------------------------------

 TASK [debug] ******************************** 
ok: [localhost] => {
    "msg": "The decrypted value is DECRYPTED-TEST-VALUE"


Using Ansible Log Events

Using the --ansible-log-events CLI flag, you can determine to what degree the Ansible task logs will be outputted. The flag can take any of the following values:

  1. Nothing - No tasks or task-related logs will be outputted.
  2. Tasks - Only Ansible Tasks will be outputted.
  3. Everything - All info logs and all tasks will be outputted.

If you want more control over the logs that are outputted, consider using the Zap Logger and verbosity annotations in tandem with the --ansible-log-events CLI flag. Custom Resource Annotation

You can specify the reconcile period for an Ansible Operator by adding the key to the custom resource annotations. This feature specifies the maximum interval in which a cluster will get reconciled. If changes are detected in the desired state, the cluster may be reconciled sooner than the specified interval.

The reconcile period can be specified in the custom resource’s annotations in the following manner:

  name: memcached-sample
  annotations: 5s

The key only accepts a value in the h/m/s format, such as 1h2m4s, 3m0s, or 4s. Values such as 1x3m9s are invalid.

NOTE: Alternatively, you can specify the reconcile period for Ansible-based Operators in the following ways:

  • Using the --reconcile-period command-line flag
  • Using the ‘reconcilePeriod’ key in the watches.yaml file You should not use all three methods to specify a single reconcile period. If all three methods are used simultaneously, the order of precedence is as follows: Custom resource annotations > watches.yaml file > command-line flag.