Editing the UltraStack Ansible Configuration File

Ansible offers the ability to set default settings for how modules and playbooks interact with remote nodes in your inventory. There is a huge list of settings you can add within your Ansible configuration file. Below we cover how to locate your Ansible configuration file and included settings.

Locate Ansible Configuration File

  1. Log into SSH
  2. Navigate to your Ansible directory
  3. Edit the Ansible configuration file: nano ansible.cfg

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Ansible Configuration

Below is an explanation of each setting included in our UltraStack Ansible configuration file.

ansible_managed = 'Managed by Ansible, do not edit directly'

When running a task that transfers the configuration file to a remote host, this notice displays to warn that any specified variables will overwrite the original file during transfer.

Enable Callback Plugins

callback_whitelist = profile_tasks, timer

Callback plugins enhance output and actions from Ansible events.

  • profile_tasks outputs time to execution for a task, similar to the time Linux command
  • timer outputs time to execution for play stats

Maximum Forks

forks = 25

“Forks” are the maximum amount of hosts Ansible can run tasks against at one time. Lowering the max number for forks decreases the system resources required from the Ansible control node.

Host Key Checking for Authentication

host_key_checking = False

This function checks the key in a remote host’s known_hosts directory for authentication upon first connection to prevent server spoofing. Disabling this forces Ansible tasks to run without requesting this interactive confirmation. The options are “True” or “False.”

Process Polling

internal_poll_interval = 0.01

This sets the interval (in seconds) between internal process polling for an estimated time for completion of a task. Higher values decrease CPU usage. Lower values improve graphical user interface (GUI) responsiveness (e.g. Ansible Tower).

Default Inventory Location

inventory = ./inventory.yml

Setting a default Ansible inventory location negates the need to define it each time you run a module or playbook. Change this if you decide to move your inventory file for security by obfuscation or other reasons.

Cowsay Fun Messages

nocows = 1

Cowsay is a CLI program that shows a cow and fun messages while running tasks. We disable Cowsay by default for a sleek, professional experience. Remove this line to enable cowsay.

Default Callback Plugin For Console Output

stdout_callback = yaml

You can only use one main callback plugin at once. The YAML callback plugin provides human-readable output instead of raw JSON output.

Compression Level for Less Bandwidth

var_compression_level = 9

Compress Ansible modules and variables before transferring them for less bandwidth usage. This can be set between 0-9.

Time Before Timeout

command_timeout = 300

Set how many seconds to wait for a response from a remote node before a task times out.

Convert minutes to seconds with the DuckDuckGo converter.

Time Idle

connect_timeout = 300

Set how many seconds a connection will idle with no activity before closing.

SSH Timeout

timeout = 300

Set how many seconds to wait between SSH connection attempts.


pipelining = True

By default, Ansible connects to the remote host, transfers the module, and executes it using separate connections per module. Pipelining reduces this to one SSH connection per module to improve performance. However, when using sudo you must disable “requiretty” in /etc/sudoers on remote hosts.

Retries if SSH Connection Fails

retries = 1

Set how many times Ansible retries if an SSH connection fails before signaling a task failed.

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Jacqueem Technical Writer

Technical writer focused on cybersecurity and musicianship.

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