Ansible Pilot

Delete file or directory - Ansible module file

A real-life example about how the "deleteme" file and the "deleteme" directory with Ansible. Tested in a target Linux machine as well for idempotency of the Ansible Playbook.

September 9, 2021
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How to Delete files or directory with Ansible?

I’m going to show you a live demo and some simple Ansible code. I’m Luca Berton and welcome to today’s episode of Ansible Pilot.

Ansible delete file/directory

Today we’re talking about the Ansible module file. The full name is ansible.builtin.file, which means that is part of the collection of modules “builtin” with ansible and shipped with it. It’s a module pretty stable and out for years. It works in a different variety of operating systems. It manages files and file properties. For Windows targets, use the module instead.

Main Parameters

This module has some parameters to perform any tasks. The only required is “path”, where you specify the filesystem path of the file you’re going to edit. The parameter “owner” sets the user that should own the file/directory. The parameter “group” sets the group that should own the file/directory. The parameter “mode” sets the permissions in the UNIX way of the file/directory. The state defines the type of object we are modifying, the default is “file” but we could also handle directories, hardlink, symlink, or only update the access time with the “touch” option. For our use case, we are going to use the “absent” option. Let me also highlight that we could also specify the SELinux properties.

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Let’s jump into a real-life playbook on how to delete files or directories with Ansible.

- name: file module demo
  hosts: all
    mypath: "/home/devops/deleteme"
  become: false
    - name: "{{ mypath }}" not present
        path: "{{ mypath }}"
        state: "absent"

code with ❤️ in GitHub


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