Ansible for FreeBSD - use cases?

Victor Sudakov vas at
Sun Oct 6 07:21:29 UTC 2019

Ruben wrote:
> I've been using ansible in production for both Linux and FreeBSD for a 
> couple of years now. There are about 150 Linux servers and 50 FreeBSD 
> our team manages.
> Our main usecases for using ansible specifically on/for FreeBSD targets:
> - user management
> The user modules are running fine on FreeBSD.
> - pf management
> The blockinfile module together with jinja2 functionality really kicks ass.
> - setting up GELI/ZFS/NFS
> We use several modules to orchestrate zfs fileservers: blockinfile, 
> raw/shell , service,  etc

Thanks a lot for enumerating a few modules which can be useful for FreeBSD

> The only stuff that - in my experience - is cumbersome to orchestrate 
> with Ansible:
> - portstree  compiles (for which we (try) to use portmaster with the Q 
> branches of the portstree)

Did you consider compiling centrally in poudriere and then installing
the binary packages with pkgng on the managed hosts?

> - freebsd-update (crossing . releases, so using the "upgrade" switch)

Do you administer freebsd-update within one release with Ansible too?

> Ansible integrates quite nicely with Jinja2, which allows us to 
> configure/adminstrate all applications we run on FreeBSD servers.

Please tell if Jinja2 (which port is that?) has to be installed on the
Ansible controller only, or on every managed host?

> I think using a framework to administer stuff that is used by many other 
> sysadmins makes more sense than writing one's own framework. I don't 
> know of any other orchestration framework out there that is OS and only 
> needs ssh/python in order to function, thats why I use Ansible.

Thanks for the positive review! One more question: have you ever had
problems and disasters caused by Ansible modules? After all, they are
pieces of software written probably by a Linux-minded person modifying
your FreeBSD system's vitals. Does it not sound a bit scary?

Victor Sudakov,  VAS4-RIPE, VAS47-RIPN
2:5005/49 at fidonet
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