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ansible-collections
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Description

Collections overview, how to request a namespace

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Ansible Collections Overview


.. contents:: Topics

Overview

Warning: Subject to frequent updates This is a "living document", expect it to change as we progress with the Collections work over the next few months.

Feedback

As with any project it's very important that we get feedback from users, contributors and maintainers. We recognize that the move to Collections is a big change in how Ansible is developed and delivered. Therefore you should expect that the devel branch may be broken on occasion.

See the

Ansible Communication channels 
_ for a list of IRC channels and email lists you can use to join the discussion.
  • Discussing in
    #ansible-community
    in Freenode IRC
  • Adding to the
    Community Working Group IRC meeting 
    _
  • Creating
    GitHub Issues 
    _ against this repo

Where we've come from, and where we are going

To understand where we are going, it's often useful to remind ourselves of where we came from.

Previously: Ansible 2.9 and earlier

Classic Ansible

  • Single repository
    ansible/ansible 
    _.
  • Single package called
    ansible
  • ansible
    had major releases twice a year
  • New features go into the next major release - ie worst case you need to wait 6 months

Now: Ansible 2.10 and later

  • The

    ansible/ansible
    (
    ansible-base
    ) repository only contains:
    • The core Ansible programs,
      ansible-{playbook,galaxy,doc,test,etc}
    • Some documentation
    • A tiny subset of modules and plugins to allow for a functioning controller
    • Together this will be known as
      ansible-base
  • The rest of the modules and plugins have been moved into various "collections"

    • Ansible Collections:
    • Can be released independently of ansible-base and Ansible, at whatever release cycle/cadence the collection maintainer prefers.
    • Will have their own repo (GitHub, GitLab, etc) with dedicated backlog, ie no more shared massive issue & PR backlog
    • Should still have CI testing and in many cases can be tested more thoroughly
  • The released package of Ansible 2.10 will pull in

    ansible-base
    and the various community collections that were previously a part of
    ansible/ansible

The

ansible
package (will contain a subset of collections) and depend on the new
ansible-base
package (the Ansible engine).

Terminology

Classic Ansible (CA) What we think of as Ansible prior to 2020. The open source project and the deliverable. What you currently get (as of Ansible 2.9 and earlier versions) when you type

pip install ansible
. Was developed almost entirely within the
ansible/ansible
repository on GitHub.

Collection A packaging format for bundling and distributing Ansible content: plugins, roles, modules. Can be released independent of other collections or

ansible-base
so features can be made available sooner to users. Installed via
ansible-galaxy collection install 
.

ansible
(the package) A replacement software package (Python, deb, rpm, etc) which contains a select group of Collections. It contains the collections to ensure that Ansible 2.9 playbooks don't require any extra collections to be be installed. This list of what's included can be found at
ansible-build-data 
_. Will depend on the
ansible-base
package. Was previously referred to as
ACD
(Ansible Community Distribution).

ansible-base
New for 2.10. The codebase that is now contained in github.com/ansible/ansible for the Ansible 2.10 release. It contains a minimal amount of modules and plugins and allows other collections to be installed. Similar to Ansible 2.9 though without any content that has since moved into a collection. The devel branch of
ansible/ansible
is now ansible-base.

There will be an

ansible-base
package (RPM/Python/Deb package)with only the minimal set of modules and plugins).

Ansible Galaxy An online hub for finding and sharing Ansible community content. Also, the command-line utility that lets users install individual Ansible Collections,

ansible-galaxy install community.crypto
.
galaxy.ansible.com 
_.

Fully Qualified Collection Name (FQCN) The full definition of a module, plugin, or role hosted within a collection, in the form

namespace.collection.content_name
. Allows a Playbook to refer to a specific module or plugin from a specific source in an unambiguous manner, for example,
community.grafana.grafana_dashboard
. The FQCN is required when you want to specify the exact source of a module and multiple modules with the same name are available. Can always be identified in a playbook; ideally not necessary in most playbooks, but in cases in which users have multiple collections installed with similar content, the FQCN will always be the explicit and authoritative indicator of which collection to use for content. Example:
cisco.ios.ios_config
would be the FQCN, and the playbook would generally call "ios_config" when this is required.

Namespace The first part of a Fully Qualified Collection Name, the namespace usually reflects a functional content category. Example: in

cisco.ios.ios_config
, “Cisco” is the Namespace. Namespaces are reserved and distributed by Red Hat at Red Hat’s discretion. Many, but not all, namespaces will correspond with vendor names.

Collection name In the second part of a Fully Qualified Collection Name, the collection name further divides the functional characteristics of the collection content and denotes ownership. For example, the cisco namespace might contain

cisco.ios
,
cisco.ios_community
, and
cisco.ios_prc
, containing content for managing ios network devices maintained by Cisco.

community.general (collection) A special collection managed by the Ansible Community Team containing all the modules and plugins which shipped in Ansible 2.9 that don't have their own dedicated Collection. See community.general on

Galaxy 
_ or it's
GitHub repository 
_ .

community.network (collection) Similar to

community.general
, though focusing on Network modules. See community.network on
Galaxy 
_ or it's
GitHub repository 
_ .

Repository The location of the source code included in a collection. Contributors make suggestions, fix bugs, and add features through the repository. Collection owners can host repositories on GitHub, Gerrit, or any other source code repository platform they choose.

Although this document focuses on Community (upstream) content, there will be Product (downstream) equivalents of the above. Links to the Product documentation will be added once they are available.

Documentation

  • Using Ansible Collections 
    _
  • Developing Collections 
    _
  • Ansible Collections Checklist 
    _

Work needed

Ansible 2.9 already contains basic support for Collections.

The majority of the ansible-base 2.10 release cycle is for:

  • Defining what the split of collections should be
  • Defining which modules and plugins go into these new collections
  • Defining ansible-base (ie which modules stay in ansible/ansible)
  • Updating test infrastructure
  • Testing the changes
  • Getting feedback from you

Timeline

  • See
    status.rst 
    _ for dates of beta, RC, Release dates for
    ansible 2.10
  • See
    ROADMAP_2.10 
    _ for dates of beta, RC, Release dates for
    ansible-base 2.10

FAQ

Users of Ansible

Using Ansible Collections 
_

Q: Once the next version of Ansible is released, will my playbooks still work ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

For users of the community version of ansible

pip/apt-get install ansible
will continue to give you a working install of Ansible including the three thousand plus modules that previously shipped with Ansible 2.9.

Q: I deploy Ansible directly from devel. Is that still advised? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

We recognize that many users install Ansible directly from devel, and generally we do our best to keep the devel branch stable. These changes, however, will have a very large short-term impact, and we cannot guarantee that devel will be as stable as it has been in the past through this migration process.

These changes, however, will have both a temporary and permanent impact.

  • Temporarily

    • These changes are large and invasive so there may be bugs which break many things.
    • We cannot guarantee that devel will be as stable as it has been in the past during this transition period.
  • Permanent

    • Users of devel will need to get both ansible-base (the package with contains
      ansible-playbook
      ) and the ansible collections that their playbooks rely on. The collections will reside in multiple other git repositories (or can be installed from galaxy).
    • If your workflow presently updates your checkout of the ansible devel branch, you'll need to change it to also retrieve the collections you need otherwise your playbooks will fail,

Q: When will the next version of Ansible be released with these changes? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

We don't have a firm date yet, but we plan to release Ansible 2.10 sometime in 2020, and we do expect to have several alpha/beta releases between now and then. Until that time, Ansible 2.9 will continue to be the available version.

Q: I'd like to consume the development stream of Ansible during this process. How do I do that? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

You can pip install ansible-base by doing:

python -m pip install --user https://github.com/ansible/ansible/archive/devel.tar.gz

Individual collections can be installed by doing:

ansible-galaxy collection install NAMESPACE.COLLECTION

Q: What exactly is ansible-base for and what does it contain ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Ansible-base is the name of the code and package for what github.com/ansible/ansible has become now that most of the content has been removed.

use-cases for ansible-base """"""""""""""""""""""""""

  • ansible[|-playbook|-galaxy|-pull|-doc|-test]
    --help
  • Being able to install content from Galaxy or Automation Hub

    • ansible-galaxy collection ...
    • Setup Networking
    • Setup Proxy
  • Being able to install supported content via packages

    • ie RHEL users will not use
      ansible-galaxy collection install ...
      , they want RPMs
    • Ability to setup and use package repos
    • Ability to work online or offline
  • Include things that are "hardcoded" into Ansible

    • eg
      stat
      is used to handle any file information internally
    • include_tasks
      is hardcoded as the implementation is inside the engine, same with
      add_host
      ,
      group_by
      ,
      debug
      and others, async_wrapp, async-poll, assert/fail are 'parts of the language'
  • Development

    • Ability to run
      ansible-test sanity,units,integration
      against the Ansible code base
  • Parts of the Windows codebase that can't currently be removed from ansible-base.

Bugs in ansible-base should be reported via

ansible/ansible issues 
_.

Contributors to Ansible

Developing Collections 
_

Ansible Collections Checklist 
_

Q: I'd like to submit a new module or plugin to Ansible. How shall I proceed? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

If you're a vendor/partner and you're writing Ansible content to interact with your software, we recommend writing your own collection. This will allow you to pursue certification against the Ansible Automation Platform. For more info on certification, read the

Partners Page 
_.

If you want to submit your module to the

community.general
Collection, please wait till this repo has been created. FIXME, Possible direct to dedicated collection, otherwise fallback to c.general

If you want to submit your module to an existing collection, you'll want to coordinate with the maintainers of those collections and follow their guidelines.

As of today ansible-base (github.com/ansible/ansible) will no longer accept new modules.

Q: I'd like to submit a pull request to an existing Ansible module. How will I know where this module will live? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

We will have a

mapping 
_ of old modules to their new homes. Should you submit a PR to the wrong repository, we will close it and point you to the correct repository.

For new PRs please wait for the new Collections to be created. FIXME

Q: I have existing pull requests to existing modules that will become part of the Ansible Community Collection. What will happen to those? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

FIXME Pull requests merged before

ansible/ansible:devel
is frozen will end up in the new collections.

Pull requests not merged before the freeze, will need to be recreated in the corresponding new Collection Repo. We will have a tool to help move PRs from one repo to another.

Maintainers of Ansible content

Q: What happens if I don't move my content into a collection? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Content that doesn't end up in its own Collection will end up being automatically migrated to

community.general
during the devel freeze window.

Q: Why would I want a dedicated collection? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

The benefits of claiming content are the following:

  • Source content is housed in a GitHub organization/repository of your choosing
  • Source content is subject to your own CI processes, decisions, and testing
  • Your own dedicated Issue and PR backlog
  • Ability to use more GitHub functionality, such as direct assignments, reviews, milestones and Project Boards

Q: What will versioning and deprecation look like for Collections ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  • In ansible/ansible:

    • There is a single version number which is over everything shipped in Ansible
    • Doesn't use semver, uses X.Y (ie 2.9) as the major number
    • Deprecations are done over 4 versions (~ 2 years)
  • In Collections

    • Can be versioned and released independently to Ansible
    • By convention, Galaxy requires a Collection to follow
      semver (Semantic Versioning) 
      _

Details around versioning and deprecation policy are still being worked on, we will have a proposal up shortly

Q: What should I do to move plugins across collections during migration? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

See

Migrating content to a different collection 
_ .

Q: How can I fix bugs in Ansible 2.9? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

The

previous policy 
_ was:
  1. PR for bug fix including
    changelog/fragment
    file
  2. PR gets merged into
    devel
  3. Backport (
    git cherry-pick -x
    ) PR against the
    stable-2.9
    branch

Once content has been removed from the

devel
branch, the process will be:
  1. PR for bug fix made against the Collection
  2. PR gets merged into Collection
  3. Raise PR directly against
    ansible/ansible:stable-2.9
    (ie not a backport) including a
    changelog/fragment
    file

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