Ansible Pilot

Understanding the ansible-console Command

Mastering Infrastructure Automation with Ansible-Console

January 12, 2024
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Ansible is a powerful automation engine used for IT tasks such as configuration management, application deployment, intra-service orchestration, and provisioning. One of its lesser-known but potent features is the ansible-console command, a REPL (Read-Eval-Print Loop) interface that allows real-time interaction with your inventory. Let’s dive into what the ansible-console command is, how to use it, and some best practices to keep in mind.

What is ansible-console?

The ansible-console command provides an interactive command-line interface to Ansible. It allows you to execute Ansible tasks and playbooks directly within an interactive shell environment. This can be especially useful for ad-hoc commands where you want immediate feedback.

How to Invoke ansible-console

To start the console, execute one of the following commands in your terminal:

$ ansible-console -i inventory

The command connects to all hosts in your inventory.

Executing Commands

Once inside the ansible-console, you can run commands as you would in a playbook. For instance, to check the connection to your hosts, you can simply input:

ansible> ping

If you want to run a command directly on the host, you can use the ansible.builtin.raw module:

ansible> raw uptime

This would return the uptime of the host machines.

Installing Packages

You can even manage packages using ansible-console. For example, to ensure the NTP package is installed and updated to the latest version, you would run:

ansible> ansible.builtin.apt pkg=ntp state=latest

Notice that in the console, you do not need to use the -m or -a flags or enclose attributes within quotation marks, as you would in a non-interactive Ansible command.

Exiting the Console

To leave the ansible-console, simply type:

ansible> exit

This returns you to your regular command-line shell.

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Best Practices and Warnings

The ansible-console can be incredibly efficient, but with great power comes great responsibility. Here are some tips to ensure a smooth experience:


In conclusion, ansible-console is a powerful feature that can significantly speed up the process of managing your infrastructure. However, it’s essential to use it wisely and cautiously to avoid unintended consequences. By following best practices and using the tool with care, you can leverage ansible-console to enhance your Ansible workflow.

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