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Top Ansible Interview Questions for Beginners and Experienced Developers

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A highly popular DevOps tool, Ansible, is a product from Red Hat and has multiple features. And as automation has become a vital part of the software cycle, tools like Ansible are just making the process simpler and simpler.

Ansible has become a part of many tech interviews due to its popularity. You'll need to be well-prepped if you’re getting ready for an interview based on the tool. To help you out, we have listed some of the most important Ansible interview questions and answers. 

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In this article, we’ll be covering:

  • Ansible Interview Questions for Beginners
  • Intermediate Ansible Interview Questions
  • Ansible Interview Questions for Experienced Developers
  • FAQs on Ansible Interview Questions

Ansible Interview Questions for Beginners

If you’re a beginner looking to get an entry-level job at the company, here are some sample Ansible interview questions and answers:

Q1. What is Ansible?

An open-source platform, Ansible carries out configuration management, task automation, or application deployment. It's a valuable DevOps tool written using Python and powered by Red Hat.

Q2. What are some advantages of Ansible?

Some advantages of using Ansible are:

  • The platform is agentless and requires only SSH service running on the target machines.
  • It is only dependent on Python. Fortunately, the language comes pre-installed in most systems. 
  • It needs minimal resources, and as a result, there’s low overhead.
  • It is easy to navigate and understand.

Q3. How are CD and CI related to Ansible?

Ansible is the ideal platform for both these processes because it gives them a stable infrastructure to supply the target environment and then deploy the application.

Q4. Define Ansible Tasks.

A unit action of Ansible is known as a task. This action helps break down a configuration policy into smaller blocks of code or files. These blocks help in automating a process.

For instance, when installing a package or updating software.

Install <package_name>, update <software_name>

Q5. What is meant by Ad-Hoc commands? Give one example.

Simple, one-line commands that are given to carry out specific tasks are called Ad-hoc commands. These commands can be thought of as an alternative to writing playbooks. One example of an Adhoc command has been given below:

ansible host -m netscaler -a " user=apiuser password=apipass"

Sample Ansible Interview Questions for Beginners

  1. What requirements do you need to run the Ansible server?
  2. How does Ansible function?
  3. Define Ansible Tower.
  4. What is a “playbook”?
  5. What is configuration management?
  6. List some features of Ansible.
  7. Briefly explain Ansible modules.
  8. What is meant by Infrastructure as code?
  9. What is a YAML file, and how is it used in Ansible?
  10. How would you describe Ansible's tasks?

Intermediate Ansible Interview Questions 

If you’re applying for a mid-level job, some Ansible interview questions and answers are:

Q1. Define idempotency.

An important feature of Ansible, idempotency, helps prevent unnecessary changes in the managed hosts. Idempotency executes one or more tasks on a server however many times you need to.

But it doesn’t do anything if it has already been modified or if it’s working correctly. To put it simply, the only changes that’ll be added are those that are needed and not already in place.

Q2. What is Ansible Galaxy?

To communicate with configured clients, Ansible uses the command line that’s available using the Ansible commands. This command lets you automate configuration with the help of the ansible-playbook command.

Now, to build a base directory structure, you can take the help of a tool coupled with Ansible called ansible-galaxy.

Q3. How to use Ansible for creating encrypted files?

For creating encrypted files, the ‘ansible-vault create’ command is used. For example:

$ ansible-vault create filename.yaml

After that, a prompt will pop up for you to create a password and then input it again for confirmation. You’ll then be able to access the file and add and edit the data.

Q4. Define an ask_pass module. 

Ask_pass module is a playbook control module that controls password prompts. By default, it is set to True.

Q5. In the context of Ansible, what is meant by “facts”?

Newly discovered and known system variables, Facts can be found in the playbooks. They are used for the implementation of conditional executions. Further, they also put together ad-hoc system information.

Using the following command, all the facts will be at your disposal:

$ ansible all- m setup

Sample Ansible Interview Questions for Intermediate Professionals

  1. Differentiate between a playbook and a play. 
  2. Explain how to copy a file recursively onto a target host?
  3. Define a configuration management tool.
  4. Write a simple playbook to install Nginx on a host machine.
  5. How to access the variable of the first group in a group?
  6. How to access shell environment variables in Ansible?
  7. Explain the process of automating password input in a playbook using encrypted files.
  8. Define callback plugins in Ansible.
  9. What are Ansible Inventory and its types?
  10. Define Ansible Vault.

Ansible Interview Questions for Experienced Professionals

When applying for more senior-level positions, the following type of Ansible questions and answers need to be prepared:

Q1. What is meant by Tags?

In cases where an extensive playbook is involved, it is deemed more appropriate to run only a certain part of it as opposed to the playbook in its entirety. This is what tags are used for.

Q2. Explain the working of an Ansible synchronize module. 

The synchronize module is like rsync in Linux machines that are used in playbooks. The features are similar to rsync, such as compress, delete, etc. However, a few limitations are there as well, such as:

  • Rsync needs to be installed on both — source and target systems.
  • User permission needs to be handled since the files are accessible as per remote user.
  • The full path of the destination host location needs to be provided in case sudo is used; otherwise, files will be copied to the remote user's home directory.
  • The limitations related to hard links on Linux rsync are applicable here as well.

Q3. Define a handler.

A handler is like a regular task in a playbook in Ansible. But it runs only if a task alerts the handler. Handlers are loaded automatically by roles/<role_name>/handlers/main.yaml.

These are run just once, after the completion of all the tasks in a particular play.

Q4. How is Ansible upgraded?

Ansible can be upgraded pretty easily. All you need to do is use the command: sudo pip install ansible==<version-number>

Q5. How to keep data secret in a playbook?

If a situation arises where you need to keep secret data but at the same time share it publicly as well, use Vault in playbooks. However, if you’re using -v (verbose) mode and don’t want it to be seen by anyone, then you can use:

name: secret task

shell: /usr/bin/do_something --value={{ secret_value }}

no_log: True

Sample Ansible Interview Questions for Experienced Professionals

  1. Explain the working of the Ansible firewall module.
  2. 29. How is the Ansible set_fact module different from vars, vars_file, or include_var?
  3. What is an Ansible register?
  4. When does it become unsafe to bulk-set task arguments from a variable?
  5. How are tasks delegated in Ansible?
  6. When is {{}} used?
  7. Explain the process of testing Ansible projects. 
  8. Write the code required to access a variable name.
  9. Differentiate between Variable name and Environment variables.
  10. How will you create an empty file using Ansible?

Similar Ansible interview questions will be asked in your tech interview. So make sure that you prepare these questions properly and practice some mock interviews.

Also, if you’re looking to switch career paths, read Best IT Career Paths for Software Professionals in 2022.

FAQs on Ansible Interview Questions

Q1. How many modules are there in Ansible?

Ansible consists of a massive toolbox of built-in modules and has well over 750 of them.

Q2. What are Ansible's roles?

Ansible roles let you build reusable automation components by putting them together and encapsulating related automation artifacts, like configuration files, templates, tasks, and handlers.

Q3. Why is Ansible used?

Ansible is a platform or an open-source automation tool used for carrying out IT tasks such as configuration management, application deployment, intra-service orchestration, and provisioning.

Q4. What is Ansible pipelining?

The modern Ansible method that involves the speeding up of your ssh connections across the network to the managed hosts is called pipelining. It is used in place of the former Accelerated Mode.

Q5. What are the components of Ansible?

The different components of Ansible are — inventory, playbooks, plays, tasks, roles, handlers, templates, and variables.

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