Combine Windows and Linux inventory hosts on Ansible for Logging purposes

Lets assume you have configured ansible on multiple Windows hosts in order to massively perform patches installation or execute commands. As explained in detail on my previous articles in order to be successful the connection method must be set as winrm (see below)

 ansible_connection = winrm
 ansible_winrm_server_cert_validation = ignore
 ansible_user = administrator
 ansible_password = 
 ansible_become_user = administrator
 ansible_become_method = runas

However if you state this connection method, you cannot connect to linux machines and delegate tasks. One example of this scenario is a windows patching mechanism with wsus and ansible. You can deploy the patches using winrm method but you cannot log output on your localhost as the connection must be changed to ssh.

In order to bypass this problem I added a new group on my inventory for localhost entry for which I specify the connection method and user

[local]
localhost ansible_connection=ssh ansible_become_user=root ansible_become_method=sudo ansible_user=root

Then one will be able to perform a logging action with the below task.

 name: write output to file
   shell: echo "{{ result.stdout }}" >> /root/ansible/something.log
   delegate_to: localhost 

Result is the registered output of the patching procedure.

I am using shell command in order to append a new entry every time I have a result from my previous actions.

Remove Windows recovery partition to extend drive

There is a common issue on Windows to have a disk blocked from Windows recovery partition. In that way, if you extend the physical disk (virtual environments) you cannot extend from Operating system side.

Windows Recovery partition blocking C:\ to be extended

A recovery partition is a partition on the disk that helps to restore the factory settings of the OS (operating system) if there is some kind of system failure. This partition has no drive letter, and you can use only Help in Disk Management. In my case I did not need this partition and I was able to delete it with the below steps:

select disk 0 select volume 3 (3 was the id of my recovery partition)
select recovery partition in order to delete from diskpart
delete volume ovveride

After those steps you will be able to extend your disk.

Manage Windows machines with Ansible (winrm)

Ansible is a very powerful automation tool that is developed from RedHat. Many large organizations rely on Ansible to automate tasks and procedures. In this article I will explain how one can use ansible to manage windows clients and servers.

In order to manage windows hosts ansible winrm plugin should be used to communicate with the client/server machine.

The first step is to verify that ansible is installed.

Alongside with ansible, on the control node the pywinrm module should be also installed. By default this one is not installed and one should do it manually.

The managed Windows client/server machines should be configured to allow remote connections. A very useful power shell script is already developed from other users and it needs only to be executed on the managed host.

If your execution policy is prohibiting this script to be executed, you should set-execution policy to RemoteSigned as shown below and then execute the powershell.

Control node should have network connectivity with the managed hosts.

Some environmental variables should be used, so that ansible knows how the connection will be performed (winrm). I included those variables in my inventory file as I created this lab just for demonstration. My inventory file looks like below:

[test_servers_group]
192.168.12.130

[all]
localhost
192.168.12.130

[all:vars]
ansible_winrm_server_cert_validation = ignore
ansible_connection = winrm
ansible_user = ansible
ansible_password =

Lastly make sure that the user that is used for the connection has administrative rights on the managed windows hosts. Otherwise some error codes will be returned.

Lastly confirm ansible on managed host is working by using win_ping module.

Documentation:

https://www.ansible.com/blog/connecting-to-a-windows-host