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Ops - cli wrapper for Terraform, Ansible, Helmfile and SSH for cloud automation

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From version 2.0 onward,

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ops-cli is a python wrapper for Terraform, Ansible and SSH for cloud automation.

We use multiple tools to manage our infrastructure at Adobe. The purpose of

is to gather the common cluster configurations in a single place and, based on these, interact with the above mentioned tools. In this way, we can avoid duplication and can quickly spin up new clusters (either production or development ones). All we need to do is customize the cluster configuration file (example here).

integrates with the Azure and AWS cli, in order to provide inventory, ssh, sync, tunnel and the possibility to run ansible playbooks on a fleet of EC2 instances. It can be used to add a layer of templating (using jinja2) on top of Terraform files. This is useful for removing duplicated code when it comes to spinning up infrastructure across multiple environments (stage/sandbox/prod) and across teams. Useful for both AWS and Kubernetes deployments.

Table of Contents

How it works?

You define a cluster configuration, using a yaml file. The yaml file contains different kind of sections, one for each plugin. For instance, you could have a section for Terraform files, a section for AWS instructions, Kubernetes Helm charts and so forth.

Use cases

Manage AWS EC2 instances

Once you define your cluster configuration, you can run

commands such as seeing the instance inventory. ```sh

fetch instances from AWS and prints them

ops clusters/mycluster.yaml inventory --limit webapp ```

This would output something like: ops

Then you can run

# SSH to one of the nodes (can handle bastion as well)
ops clusters/mycluster.yaml ssh webapp-01

run a deployment playbook via ansible

ops clusters/mycluster.yaml play ansible/playbooks/task/webapp/deployment.yaml -- -e version=5.36.2 -u ec2-user --limit webapp

run command on all selected nodes

ops clusters/mycluster.yaml run "sudo yum upgrade myawesomeapp; sudo service myawesomeapp restart" -- -u ec2-user --limit '"aam_app_group=canary;az=us-east-1a"'

copy file to all servers

ops clusters/mycluster.yaml sync /tmp/myfile webapp: -l ec2-user

create a tunnel

ops clusters/stage.yaml ssh --tunnel --local 8080 --remote 8080 stage-thanos-1 -l ec2-user

See examples/features/inventory


# Performs jinja templating (if any) and runs terraform plan
ops clusters/mycluster.yaml terraform --path-name aws-eks plan

Run terraform apply, with the possibility to sync the tf state files remotely (currently, AWS S3 bucket is supported + DynamoDB for locking).

ops clusters/mycluster.yaml terraform --path-name aws-eks apply


Run terraform by using hierarchical configs

See examples/features/terraform-hierarchical

Create Kubernetes cluster (using AWS EKS)

See examples/aws-kubernetes




Here is a link about how to install and use virtualenv:

Ops tool installation

Python 3

# Make sure pip is up to date
curl | python3

Install virtualenv

pip install --upgrade virtualenv pip install --upgrade virtualenvwrapper

echo 'export WORKON_HOME=$HOME/.virtualenvs' >> ~/.bash_profile echo 'source /usr/local/bin/' >> ~/.bash_profile source ~/.bash_profile

create virtualenv

mkvirtualenv ops workon ops

uninstall previous ops version (if you have it)

pip uninstall ops --yes

install ops-cli v2.1.7 stable release

pip install --upgrade ops-cli


Optionally, install terraform to be able to access terraform plugin. See Also for pretty formatting of terraform plan output you can install (use gem install for MacOS)

Using docker image

You can try out

, by using docker. The docker image has all required prerequisites (python, terraform, helm, git, ops-cli etc).

To start out a container, running the latest

docker image run:
docker run -it bash

After the container has started, you can start using

: ```sh ops help

usage: ops [-h] [--root-dir ROOT_DIR] [--verbose] [-e EXTRA_VARS]


{inventory,terraform,packer,ssh,play,run,sync,noop} ...

git clone cd ops-cli ls examples




cd examples/aws-kubernetes ops clusters/my-kubernetes-cluster.yaml terraform --path-name aws-eks plan

in order to setup aws-kubernetes follow the steps from



If you plan to use ops with AWS, you must configure credentials for each account

$ aws configure --profile aws_account_name



<p>See <a href="">examples/</a> folder:
- cassandra-stress - n-node cassandra cluster used for stress-testing; a basic stress profile is included
- spin up a Kubernetes cluster
- distinct </p><pre>ops</pre> features

<h2>Usage help</h2>

<p>To see all commands and a short description run </p><pre>ops --help</pre>

usage: ops [-h] [--root-dir ROOTDIR] [--verbose] [-e EXTRA_VARS] clusterconfig_path {inventory,terraform,packer,ssh,play,run,sync,noop} ...

Run commands against a cluster definition

positional arguments: clusterconfigpath The cluster config path cluster.yaml {inventory,terraform,packer,ssh,play,run,sync,noop} inventory Show current inventory data terraform Wrap common terraform tasks with full templated configuration support packer Wrap common packer tasks and inject variables from a cluster file ssh SSH or create an SSH tunnel to a server in the cluster play Run an Ansible playbook run Runs a command against hosts in the cluster sync Sync files from/to a cluster noop used to initialize the full container for api usage

optional arguments: -h, --help show this help message and exit --root-dir ROOTDIR The root of the resource tree - it can be an absolute path or relative to the current dir --verbose, -v Get more verbose output from commands -e EXTRAVARS, --extra-vars EXTRAVARS Extra variables to use. Eg: -e sshuser=ssh_user ```

More help

Each sub-command includes additional help information that you can get by running:

ops examples/inventory/aam.yaml sync --help

Tool configuration: .opsconfig.yaml

Some tool settings are available via a .opsconfig.yaml configuration file. The file is looked-up in

, then in
and then in the project folder starting from the current dir and up to the root dir. All the files found this way are merged together so that you can set some global defaults, then project defaults in the root dir of the project and overwrite them for individual envs. Eg:



command will list all the servers in a given cluster and cache the results for further operations on them (for instance, SSHing to a given node or running an ansible playbook).

You can always filter which nodes you want to display or use to run an ansible playbook on, by using the

argument (eg.
--limit webapp
). The extra filter is applied on the instance tags, which includes the instance name.

The way

works is by doing a describe command in AWS/Azure. The describe command matches all the nodes that have the tag "cluster" equal to the cluster name you have defined.

In order to configure it, you need to add the

section in your cluster configuration file (example here).

AWS example

  - plugin: cns
        - region: us-east-1
          boto_profile: aam-npe # make sure you have this profile in your ~/.aws/credentials file
          names: [mycluster1] # this assumes the EC2 nodes have the Tag Name "cluster" with Value "mycluster1"

Azure example

  - plugin: azr
      tags: environment=prod
      locations: westeurope,northeurope

Inventory usage

usage: ops cluster_config_path inventory [-h] [-e EXTRA_VARS]
                                         [--refresh-cache] [--limit LIMIT]

optional arguments: -h, --help show this help message and exit -e EXTRA_VARS, --extra-vars EXTRA_VARS Extra variables to use. Eg: -e ssh_user=ssh_user --refresh-cache Refresh the cache for the inventory --limit LIMIT Limit run to a specific server subgroup. Eg: --limit newton-dcs --facts Show inventory facts for the given hosts


usage: ops cluster_config_path terraform [-h] [--var VAR] [--module MODULE]
                                         [--resource RESOURCE] [--name NAME]

positional arguments: subcommand apply | console | destroy | import | output | plan | refresh | show | taint | template | untaint

optional arguments: -h, --help show this help message and exit --var VAR the output var to show --module MODULE for use with "taint", "untaint" and "import". The module to use. e.g.: vpc --resource RESOURCE for use with "taint", "untaint" and "import". The resource to target. e.g.: aws_instance.nat --name NAME for use with "import". The name or ID of the imported resource. e.g.: i-abcd1234 --plan for use with "show", show the plan instead of the statefile --skip-refresh for use with "plan". Skip refresh of statefile --raw-output for use with "plan". Show raw plan output without piping through terraform landscape (if terraform landscape is not enabled in opsconfig.yaml this will have no impact) --path-name PATH_NAME in case multiple terraform paths are defined, this allows to specify which one to use when running terraform

    # Create a new cluster with Terraform
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform plan
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform apply

    # Update an existing cluster
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform plan
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform apply

    # Get rid of a cluster and all of its components
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform destroy

    # Retrieve all output from a previously created Terraform cluster
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform output

    # Retrieve a specific output from a previously created Terraform cluster
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform output --var nat_public_ip

    # Refresh a statefile (no longer part of plan)
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform refresh

    # Taint a resource- forces a destroy, then recreate on next plan/apply
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform taint --module vpc --resource aws_instance.nat

    # Untaint a resource
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform untaint --module vpc --resource aws_instance.nat

    # Show the statefile in human-readable form
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform show

    # Show the plan in human-readable form
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform show --plan

    # View parsed jinja on the terminal
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform template

    # Import an unmanaged existing resource to a statefile
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform import --module vpc --resource aws_instance.nat --name i-abcd1234

    # Use the Terraform Console on a cluster
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform console

    # Validate the syntax of Terraform files
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform validate

    # Specify which terraform path to use
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml terraform plan --path-name terraformFolder1

Terraform landscape

For pretty formatting of terraform plan output you can install (use gem install for MacOS). To make

use it you need to add
terraform.landscape: True
in opsconfig.yaml file.


usage: ops cluster_config_path ssh [-h] [-e EXTRA_VARS] [-l USER]
                                   [--ssh-config SSH_CONFIG] [--index INDEX]
                                   [--tunnel] [--ipaddress] [--local LOCAL]
                                   [--remote REMOTE] [--proxy] [--nossh]
                                   role [ssh_opts [ssh_opts ...]]

positional arguments: role Server role to ssh to. Eg: dcs ssh_opts Manual ssh options

optional arguments: -h, --help show this help message and exit -e EXTRA_VARS, --extra-vars EXTRA_VARS Extra variables to use. Eg: -e ssh_user=ssh_user -l USER, --user USER SSH User --ssh-config SSH_CONFIG Ssh config file name in the ./ansible dir --index INDEX Index of the server from the group --tunnel Use SSH tunnel, must pass --local and --remote --ipaddress --local LOCAL local port for ssh proxy or ssh tunnel --remote REMOTE remote port for ssh tunnel --proxy Use SSH proxy, must pass --local --nossh Port tunnel a machine that does not have SSH. Implies --ipaddress, and --tunnel; requires --local and --remote --keygen Create a ssh keys pair to use with this infrastructure --noscb Disable use of Shell Control Box (SCB) even it is enabled in the cluster config --auto_scb_port When using Shell Control Box (SCB) and creating a proxy,a random port is generated, which will be used in the ssh config for all playbook, run and sync operations

    # SSH using current username as remote username
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml ssh nagios

    # SSH using a different username
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml ssh nagios -l ec2-user

    # SSH to the second nagios instance
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml ssh nagios --index 2

    # SSH to a specific hostname, instead of the tagged role
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml ssh full-hostname-here-1

    # Create an SSH tunnel to Nagios forwarding the remote port 80 to local port 8080
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml ssh --tunnel --remote 80 --local 8080 nagios

    # Create an SSH tunnel to a host where the service is NOT listening on `localhost`
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml ssh --tunnel --remote 80 --local 8080 nagios --ipaddress

    # Create an SSH tunnel to a host with an open port which does NOT have SSH itself (Windows)
    # Note that the connection will be made from the Bastion host
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml ssh --tunnel --local 3389 --remote 3389 --nossh windowshost

    # Create a proxy to a remote server that listens on a local port
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml ssh --proxy --local 8080 bastion

    # In case Shell Control Box (SCB) is configured and enabled on the cluster a proxy which
    # will be used by all ops play, run and sync operations, can be created either using
    # either the port configured the cluster config file or an auto generated port.
    # In this case --local param must not be used
    # Example for using the port configured in the cluster config
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml ssh bastion --proxy
    # Example for using the auto generated port
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml ssh bastion --proxy --auto_scb_port

    # Disable use of Shell Control Box (SCB) even it is enabled in the cluster config
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml ssh bastion --noscb


In case you want to use the OSX Keychain to store your password and reuse across multiple nodes (e.g. running a playbook on 300 nodes and not having to enter the password for every node) follow the tutorial below:

  1. Open

    Keychain Access
    app on OSX
    1. Create a new keychain (
      File -> New Keychain
      ), let's say
    2. Select the
      keychain and add a new password entry in this (
      File -> New Password Item
    3. Name:
    4. Kind:
      application password
    5. Account:
    6. Where:
  2. Create

    dir - this is where the scripts below are saved
  3. Create

    script and update the ldap account there:
  cat > ~/bin/askpass  < -s idm -w $HOME/Library/Keychains/aam.keychain
  chmod +x ~/bin/askpass
  1. Checkout notty github repo, build and move the binary to

  2. Create

  cat > $HOME/bin/sshpass <
  1. Verify the setup works:
  # Connect to bastion
  ~/bin/sshpass ssh -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no -l  <>
  1. Run


Shell Control Box (SCB) is an activity monitoring appliance from Balabit (now One Identity) that controls privileged access to remote servers.

has support for using SCB as ssh proxy for the following operations:
ssh, tunnel, proxy, ansible play, run and sync

In order to use SCB an extra section needs to be added to the cluster config file:

  enabled: true
  host: ""
  proxy_port: 2222 # optional
Having this config all ssh operations will be done via the scb host, unless the
flag is used.

When using

will not be used.

For ansible

operations to work via SCB a proxy needs to be created first and then run
in a different terminal window or tab: ```

1. Create a proxy in a terminal window

Example for using the port configured in the cluster config

ops clusters/qe1.yaml ssh bastion --proxy

Example for using the auto generated port

ops clusters/qe1.yaml ssh bastion --proxy --autoscbport

2. Run the play/run/sync command normally in a different terminal window or tab

A message will indicate the scb proxy is used

ops clusters/qe1.yaml play ansible/plays/cluster/configure.yaml ... Connecting via scb proxy at This proxy should have already been started and running in a different terminal window. If there are connection issues double check that the proxy is running. ... ```


Run an ansible playbook.

usage: ops cluster_config_path play [-h] [-e EXTRA_VARS] [--ask-sudo-pass]
                                    [--limit LIMIT] [--noscb]
                                    [ansible_args [ansible_args ...]]

positional arguments: playbook_path The playbook path ansible_args Extra ansible args

optional arguments: -h, --help show this help message and exit -e EXTRA_VARS, --extra-vars EXTRA_VARS Extra variables to use. Eg: -e ssh_user=ssh_user --ask-sudo-pass Ask sudo pass for commands that need sudo --limit LIMIT Limit run to a specific server subgroup. Eg: --limit newton-dcs --noscb Disable use of Shell Control Box (SCB) even if it is enabled in the cluster config

    # Run an ansible playbook
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml play ansible/plays/cluster/configure.yaml

    # Limit the run of a playbook to a subgroup
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml play ansible/plays/cluster/configure.yaml -- --limit dcs

    # Overwrite or set a variable
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml play ansible/plays/cluster/configure.yaml -- -e city=paris

    # Filter with tags
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml play ansible/plays/cluster/configure.yaml -- -t common

    # Run a playbook and overwrite the default user
    ops clusters/qe1.yaml play ansible/plays/cluster/configure.yaml -- -u ec2-user

Run command

Run a bash command on the selected nodes.

usage: ops cluster_config_path run [-h] [--ask-sudo-pass] [--limit LIMIT]
                                   host_pattern shell_command
                                   [extra_args [extra_args ...]]

positional arguments: host_pattern Limit the run to the following hosts shell_command Shell command you want to run extra_args Extra ansible arguments

optional arguments: -h, --help show this help message and exit --ask-sudo-pass Ask sudo pass for commands that need sudo --limit LIMIT Limit run to a specific server subgroup. Eg: --limit newton-dcs --noscb Disable use of Shell Control Box (SCB) even if it is enabled in the cluster config

    # Last 5 installed packages on each host
    ops qe1.yaml run all 'sudo grep Installed /var/log/yum.log | tail -5'

    # See nodetool status on each cassandra node
    ops qe1.yaml run qe1-cassandra 'nodetool status'

    # Complex limits
    ops qe1.yaml run 'qe1-cassandra,!qe1-cassandra-0' 'nodetool status'

    # Show how to pass other args

Sync files


to/from a given set of nodes.
usage: ops cluster_config_path sync [-h] [-l USER] [--noscb]
                                    src dest [opts [opts ...]]

positional arguments: src Source dir dest Dest dir opts Rsync opts

optional arguments: -h, --help show this help message and exit -l USER, --user USER Value for remote user that will be used for ssh --noscb Disable use of Shell Control Box (SCB) even if it is enabled in the cluster config

    rsync wrapper for ops inventory conventions


    # rsync from remote dcs role
    ops cluster.yml sync 'dcs[0]:/usr/local/demdex/conf' /tmp/configurator-data --user remote_user

    # extra rsync options
    ops cluster.yml sync 'dcs[0]:/usr/local/demdex/conf' /tmp/configurator-data -l remote_user -- --progress


usage: ops cluster_config_path noop [-h]

optional arguments: -h, --help show this help message and exit


Runs packer, for creating images.

usage: ops cluster_config_path packer [-h] subcommand

positional arguments: subcommand build | validate

optional arguments: -h, --help show this help message and exit

    # Validate a packer file
    ops clusters/centos7.yaml packer validate

    # Build a packer file
    ops clusters/centos7.yaml packer build

Secrets Management

There are cases where you need to reference sensitive data in your

file (credentials, passwords, tokens etc). Given that the cluster configuration file can be stored in a version control system (such as Git), the best practice is to not put sensitive data in the file itself. Instead, we can use
to fetch the desired credentials from a secrets manager such as Vault or Amazon SSM, at runtime.


Ops can manage the automatic generation of secrets and their push in Vault, without actually persisting the secrets in the cluster file. A cluster file will only need to use a construct like the following:

db_password: "{{'secret/campaign/generated_password'|managed_vault_secret(policy=128)}}"
Which will translate behind the scenes in : - look up in vault the secrets at secret/campaign/generated_password in the default key 'value' (Adobe convention that can be overridden with the key parameter) - if the value there is missing, generate a new secret using the engine passgen with a policy of length 128 characters - return the generated value - if the value at that path already exist, just return that value. This allows us to just refer in cluster files a secret that actually exists in vault and make sure we only generate it once - if it was already created by os or any other system, we will just use what is already there. The reference is by means of fixed form jinja call added to the cluster file, which ends up interpreted later during the templating phase.

Amazon Secrets Manager (SSM)

Amazon offers the possibility to use their Secrets Manager in order to manage configuration data such as credentials, passwords and license keys.

We can use

to fetch the sensitive data from SSM, at runtime. Just define this in your cluster configuration file (eg.
db_password: "{{ '/my/ssm/path' | read_ssm(aws_profile='myprofile') }}"

will read the SSM value by running a command similar to:
AWS_PROFILE=aam-npe aws ssm get-parameter --name "/my/ssm/path"  --region us-east-1 --with-decryption
. Note that you can specify the AWS region via
read_ssm(aws_profile='myprofile', region_name='us-west-2')

Using jinja2 filters in playbooks and terraform templates

You can register your own jinja2 filters that you can use in the cluster config file, terraform templates and ansible playbooks

All ops commands look for filters in the following locations: - the python path - the .opsconfig.yaml ansible.filter_plugins setting (defaults to plugins/filter_plugins)

Example simple filter:

# plugins/filter_plugin/

def my_filter(string): return 'filtered: ' + string

class FilterModule(object): def filters(self): return { 'my_filter': my_filter }

usage in playbook, templates, cluster config

test_custom_filters: "{{ 'value' | my_filter }}"


Create a file in

which looks like the following:
endpoint: ""


in development mode

git clone
cd ops
# Install openssl
brew install openssl libyaml
env LDFLAGS="-L$(brew --prefix openssl)/lib" CFLAGS="-I$(brew --prefix openssl)/include" python develop

Running tests

  • on your machine:
    py.test tests


  • Permission issues when installing: you should install the tool in a python virtualenv

  • Exception when running:

    pkg_resources._vendor.packaging.requirements.InvalidRequirement: Invalid requirement, parse error at "'!= 2.4'"

    Caused by a broken paramiko version, reinstall paramiko:

    pip2 uninstall paramiko; pip2 install paramiko
  • Exception when installing ops because the cryptography package fails to install:

Either install the tool in a virtualenv or:

    brew install libffi
    brew link libffi --force
    brew install openssl  
    brew link openssl --force


Apache License 2.0

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