Enabling HashiCorp Vault Lookups in Ansible AWX – Part 2

Earlier in the year, I wrote about how to create a Python virtual environment on Ansible AWX to run the HashiCorp lookup module.

The last task is to create the credentials to support the Vault lookup, followed by configuring the necessary variables in the inventory.

HashiCorp Vault

Before we can configure our credentials in AWX, we first need to create them in HashiCorp Vault.

To enable AWX to communicate with Vault we will be using the AppRole authentication method.

Login into Vault from the command line. If you haven’t already enabled AppRoles, you can do so by using:

vault auth enable approle

Create a simple policy to allow AWX to query our KV store (substitute accordingly):

path "credentials/computers/production/*" {
capabilities = [ "read" ]

Create a new policy in Vault based on the above file:

vault policy write acl_sa_ansible ./acl_sa_ansible.hcl

Create a role which will have the default policy and the one created previously attached (substitute accordingly):

vault write auth/approle/role/sa_ansible \
token_num_uses=0 \
token_ttl=0m \
secret_id_num_uses=0 \
token_no_default_policy=false \

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Once the role has been created, retrieve the role ID:

vault read auth/approle/role/sa_ansible/role-id

Now create a secret ID:

vault write -f auth/approle/role/sa_ansible/secret-id

Take a note of both values as these will be needed in the next step.


Now we have our created our virtual environment and configured it in the system settings, we need to create our HashiCorp credentials.

To do this, login to AWX , select the Credential Types from the left-hand menu and create a new one. Give it a name and use the following input configuration:

id: vault_server
type: string
label: URL for Vault Server
id: vault_role_id
type: string
label: Vault AppRole ID
id: vault_secret_id
type: string
label: Vault Secret ID
secret: true

Use the following for the injector configuration:

VAULT_ADDR: '{{ vault_server }}'
VAULT_ROLE_ID: '{{ vault_role_id }}'
VAULT_SECRET_ID: '{{ vault_secret_id }}'

When complete click Save.

Again, on the left-hand menu, create a new credential and set the type to the one you created above. Give it a name, select the organization, and enter the Vault address, role ID and secret ID. Finally, click Save.


The last piece of the puzzle is to enable the actual lookup. Our Vault KV store is configured with the following path:

credentials/computers/production/{{ inventory_hostname }}

Under Production, there is a secret for each Ansible host, and each secret has a key for the Administrator/root username and password.

Create an inventory and add some hosts.  You may find it easier to group these.

Either at the individual host or group level, add the following variable string to enable lookups to HashiCorp Vault (substitute accordingly):

ansible_become_password: "{{ lookup('hashi_vault', 'secret=credentials/computers/production/{{ inventory_hostname }}:Password')}}"
ansible_become_method: su

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I have a group for my Linux hosts and have applied it there.

To verify it works correctly create a template in AWX using the following playbook:

hosts: Linux
gather_facts: true
name: Upgrade all yum packages
name: "*"
state: latest
become: yes

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Important: as well as selecting the machine credential you normally connect to machines with, you also need to select the HashiCorp credential you created above:

Please note: set your template to Check unless you want all your packages to update!

Your template (playbook) will now run, and when the time comes to “become” root, AWX will reach out to Vault to retrieve the root credential and proceed.

Happy automating!!

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