Use an execution environment

Use the Execution Environment

In this chapter we will use the execution environment on the command line.


You should have built your execution environment ee-ansible-demo - if not, please go back to the previous chapter.


Before we push a custom EE to a registry and use it in automation controller we want to make sure it provides what we need to run our Playbooks with all dependencies. Basically check if it works… :-)

For this we run a Playbook in the runtime environment the EE provides. Because ansible-playbook can’t do this, we need to use the second new tool on the block, ansible-navigator:

  • Configure ansible-navigator to use the previously created EE either by
    • specifying it on the command line
    • or by creating an .ansible-navigator.yml configuration file in your home directory
  • To specify the EE image on the command line, look for Specify the name of the execution environment image in the output of ansible-navigator --help.
  • Or if you prefer to use a config file, create a ~/.ansible-navigator.yaml dot-file and add this content:
    image: ee-ansible-demo:0.1.0
  • After pointing to our new EE, run ansible-navigator and start to explore its features. Navigating is straight forward, first check the ee-ansible-demo EE contains the containers.podman collection:
    • Get a list of included collections with :collections on the start page. ESC always takes you back one step in the menu structure.

Then have a look at the included EE images:

  • Inspect the image with :images, choose an image by typing the row number
  • Just look around and remember ESC is your friend when you got lost in menus items…
  • Exit ansible-navigator

Now we finally want to run a Playbook to test the new EE. The demo Playbook you used before in automation controller is part of the GitHub repo ee-flow you checked out already. So we just need an inventory to go with it.

  • Create the inventory file ~/ee-flow/ansible-builder/lab_inventory.ini. The result should look something like this (get the FQDN from the dynamic inventory in automation controller):
node2 ansible_host=<node 2 FQDN> ansible_user=ec2-user

You can find the FQDN of node 2 in Hosts menu of automation controller and the “public_dns_name” attribute of the host.

  • Start ansible-navigator and run the Playbook:
    • :run ~/ee-flow/deploy-container.yml -i ~/ee-flow/ansible-builder/lab_inventory.ini
    • While it’s running enter the line number for the play deploy httpd container, this will bring you to the task list from where you can inspect the running tasks.
    • After the run has finished, leave ansible-navigator with multiple ESC, or if you’re a vi fan with ‘:q’.
    • Check the deployment worked:
# you can find the FQDN of the instance in your automation controller in the **Hosts** menu
$ curl <node 2 FQDN>
Welcome to Ansible LearnFest!

There is a command line parameter in ansible-navigator that makes the run and output mimic ansible-playbook, and is not jumping into the TUI interface. Give it a try:

ansible-navigator run ~/ee-flow/deploy-container.yml -i ~/ee-flow/ansible-builder/lab_inventory.ini -m stdout


  • Use ansible-navigator to inspect and run a Playbook in a custom EE.