Ansible Architecture (Modules, Playbooks, Inventory, API, Plugins)

Ansible Architecture (Modules, Playbooks, Inventory, API, Plugins, Orchestrations). Ansible is an IT configuration, orchestration and deployment tool that provides large productivity gains to various automation challenges. But without understanding the architecture and workflow of the software, you can’t use the tool to its maximum potential

There are multiple things to understand before Ansible can be utilized in DevOps, automation, and system administration. We’ll talk about the software in depth and determine how it can fulfill your requirements.

Let’s dive into the nitty gritty elements of the topic and understand each aspect of Ansible architecture.

How Does Ansible Work?

Ansible is an open source tool that provides powerful but simple automation for cross platform computer support.

It can be used by IT professionals, who use it for updates on workstations and servers, application deployment, configuration management, cloud provisioning, intra service orchestration and other operations handled by systems administrators.

Ansible allows you to configure a single computer and the entire computer network at once. You don’t need a technical background to control the wide web of computers. The instructions that are used in Ansible are human readable.

The software has two categories, the control node and managed nodes. The control node is the hardware that runs Ansible. There needs to be a minimum of one control node, and a backup control node may also exist.

The managed node is the device being managed by the control node. The software works by connecting these nodes on a network and then sends a small program known as the Ansible module to the node.

Ansible executes the modules over SSH and withdraws them when finished. The Ansible control node needs to have login access to the managed node to ensure that the interaction happens.

Ansible Architecture

The architecture of the software is straightforward. The Ansible automation engine has direct communication with the users who scribble playbooks to execute the automation engine.

The engine also interacts with the configuration management database and cloud services.

Ansible Automation engine

Ansible Automation engine is comprised of the following:


The modules are executed on remote hosts using the playbooks. The modules control the system resources like packages, services, or files and execute system commands.

The modules act on system files, install packages or make API calls to the service network to control the system resources.

Over 450 modules available in Ansible can automate different parts of your environment, like the database module mssql_db, which removes MySQL databases from remote hosts.

The cloud modules like cloudformation, delete or create an AWS cloud formation stack. Different modules perform different tasks based on the requirements.


Ansible inventories are the lists of nodes or hosts and their servers, databases, IP addresses, etc., that need to be managed. Ansible takes action via a transport, WinRM for Windows system, Linux or Networking devices, and SSH for UNIX. With Ansible inventories, you can define each hosts, a group of hosts, username, password and protocol in a single file.


Ansible APIs are used as transport for public, private, or cloud services. Ansible has capability to leverage APIs as part of any playbook. It is very useful because the number of REST APIs being built and deployed both internally and across the global internet is increasing exponentially.


The plugins allow you to execute Ansible tasks as a different job build step. The plugins are bits and code that augment Ansible’s core functionality.

Ansible ships many handy plugins you can easily write your own like the action plugins are considered the front ends to modules and can execute tasks on the controller before calling the modules.

The cache plugin can be used to keep a cache of ‘facts’ to avoid different fact gathering operations. If we talk about the callback plugins, they enable you to hook into Ansible events for displaying or logging purposes.

You need to understand multiple other components in the Ansible architecture before using the software.

Next in this blog post about Ansible Architecture (Modules, Playbooks, Inventory, API, Plugins, Orchestrations) is to understand Ansible components. 

What Are Different Ansible Components In The Architecture?


Playbooks are simple files written in YAML format that describe the tasks to be performed by Ansible. The playbooks can declare configuration as they also orchestrate the steps of different manual ordered processes irrespective of the jump statements.

The playbooks can launch tasks asynchronously or synchronously depending upon the requirements or the commands entered.


Ansible is used to automate different networks as it uses the same powerful, simple, and agentless automation framework that the IT development and operations experts are using.

The software uses a data model (role or playbook) separate from the automation engine and can span different hardware networks easily.


The host in the Ansible architecture can be considered just node systems that are getting automated by Ansible. It is a different kind of machine like Linux, RedHat, Windows, etc.


Ansible cloud is a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to manage, store, and process data. You can launch different resources and instances on the cloud and connect instantly to your servers.


The CMDB is a repository that acts as a warehouse for IT installations. IT can hold data relating to a collection of different IT assets and describe the relationship between these assets.

If we boil it down, Ansible simplifies the issues and benefits the system admins, test team, and delivery team to achieve the desired targets.

Advantages Of Using Ansible

Safe and secure

Once you define the security policy using Ansible, scanning of site wide security policy is integrated into automated processes. And it will play an integral part in different deployment scenarios.

You need to configure the security once you control your machine, and it can be embedded in different nodes automatically. All the credentials, including the passwords and admin user IDs, are not retrievable in the plain text stored within Ansible.

No dependency on agents

Ansible is an agentless software as there are no software/agents or additional firewall ports that you need to install on systems or hosts that need to automate. You don’t have to install a management infrastructure that separately manages your network, systems, and storage.

It has no additional security infrastructure, making it easy to deploy and use. Ansible is focused on automation and requires instruction to complete the desired task.

You need to write down simple script forms that can simplify the version control. The software is at the forefront of automation, DevOps, system administration, and multiple operations. Ansible further reduces your team’s efforts to start the automation process quickly and effectively.


With Ansible, you don’t need extra software on your servers, resulting in more application resources. Since Ansible modules operate on JSON, it is extensible with modules written in a coding language you know.

Ansible introduces different modules as basic building blocks for the software to enable you to customize it according to your needs.

For example, if you have a message sending module that sends messages in plain and simple text, you want to send images, and you can add the image sending feature on top of it.

Configuration Management

Ansible establishes and maintains great consistency of the product performance by updating and recording detailed information that sets the organization’s hardware and software.

The information includes the updates and versions applied to install different software packages and the network address and locations of the hardware devices.

If you want to install the modern version of Tomcat on your different machines in the enterprise, you won’t be doing it manually on every machine.

But using Ansible playbooks and inventory scripted simply, you can install Tomcat on all your machines in one go.

You need to list out the IP addresses of different nodes in the inventory and write a playbook to install Tomcat easily. You need to define how multiple configurations communicate and interact. You also need to ensure the disparate pieces are managed as a whole.

Powerful & Simple

Ansible has powerful features that can be used to model the most complex IT workflows. Ansible’s batteries included approach can manage the network, services, OS, and infrastructure because it provides hundreds of modules.

It is self sufficient and has everything you need to use to manage the automation process. Ansible capabilities enable you to orchestrate the application environment regardless of where it is deployed.

Ansible uses an easy syntax written in YAML called playbooks. The YAML is an easy to read human readable data serialization language.

There are no special coding skills required for the users to learn and apply. It becomes easier for non technical users to perform the desired actions and simple readable commands.

You can explore different features and extract multiple benefits of the software using the simple and easy writable codes in Ansible.

Ansible Galaxy

Ansible Galaxy is the central repository for reusing, locating, and sharing different Ansible related content. The best use of Ansible Galaxy is for downloading reusable roles for installing server configurations or applications.

The downloads can be used in a particular user’s playbooks and can substantially contribute to increasing the deployment speed. It can minimize the time and help you achieve your goals fast.

Great effort! We have learned today about Ansible Architecture (Modules, Playbooks, Inventory, API, Plugins, Orchestrations). Let’s summarize. 

Ansible Architecture (Modules, Playbooks, Inventory, API, Plugins, Orchestrations) Conclusion

Ansible is a great software that can help you to provision, configure and deploy applications that can enable laC. It is an easy to use yet powerful tool with multiple features to automate complicated multi tier IT application environments.

Irrespective of your experience in the IT industry, Ansible files are simple to understand and run.

It can configure both Microsoft Windows and Unix like systems. But you need a Linux control machine for the management of Windows hosts because of its limited support for Windows.

Now that you understand the complete architecture of the software, it’s your time to get your hands on the tool for your enterprise.

You can explore the multiple benefits offered by the software that can help you achieve your business target with finesse.

Avatar for Hitesh Jethva
Hitesh Jethva

I am a fan of open source technology and have more than 10 years of experience working with Linux and Open Source technologies. I am one of the Linux technical writers for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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