Dynamic Inventories - Ansible Tutorial

Welcome to the tutorial on dynamic inventories in Ansible. Ansible provides a powerful feature called dynamic inventories that allows you to manage dynamic and cloud-based infrastructures. In this tutorial, we will explore how to use dynamic inventories in Ansible for efficient configuration management.

Introduction to Dynamic Inventories

In traditional Ansible inventories, host information is stored in static inventory files. However, in dynamic environments where hosts are created and destroyed dynamically, maintaining a static inventory file becomes challenging. Dynamic inventories solve this problem by allowing Ansible to fetch the host information at runtime from external sources such as cloud providers, configuration management databases, or custom scripts.

Dynamic inventories provide the flexibility to manage and configure dynamic infrastructures by automatically discovering hosts and their attributes. This enables you to scale your infrastructure easily and ensures that Ansible has the latest information about your hosts.

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps to use dynamic inventories in Ansible:

Step 1: Choose a Dynamic Inventory Plugin

Ansible supports various dynamic inventory plugins for different platforms and technologies. Choose the appropriate plugin for your environment. For example, if you are using Amazon Web Services (AWS), you can use the aws_ec2 inventory plugin.

Step 2: Configure the Dynamic Inventory Plugin

Configure the dynamic inventory plugin by providing the necessary configuration parameters. These parameters typically include authentication credentials, region, and filters to specify the subset of hosts to include.

Step 3: Test the Dynamic Inventory

Run the inventory script or command to test if the dynamic inventory is fetching the correct host information. For example, you can use the following command to display the inventory:

ansible-inventory --list

This command will output the dynamic inventory as a JSON structure, listing all the hosts and their attributes.

Common Mistakes

  • Incorrect configuration of the dynamic inventory plugin.
  • Missing or incorrect authentication credentials.
  • Failure to update the dynamic inventory when hosts are created or destroyed.
  • Not properly specifying filters to limit the host subset.
  • Using an outdated or unsupported dynamic inventory plugin.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Q: Can I use multiple dynamic inventory plugins in the same playbook?
    A: Yes, you can use multiple dynamic inventory plugins in the same playbook by specifying different inventory sources for different plays or tasks.
  2. Q: How often does Ansible fetch the dynamic inventory?
    A: Ansible fetches the dynamic inventory every time a playbook or command is executed, ensuring that it has the latest information about the hosts.
  3. Q: Can I use custom scripts as dynamic inventory sources?
    A: Yes, Ansible supports custom scripts as dynamic inventory sources. You can write a script that fetches host information from any source and outputs it in the expected inventory format.


Dynamic inventories in Ansible provide a flexible way to manage dynamic and cloud-based infrastructures. In this tutorial, we discussed the concept of dynamic inventories and their benefits. We covered the step-by-step process of choosing a dynamic inventory plugin, configuring it, and testing the dynamic inventory. We also highlighted common mistakes to avoid and provided answers to frequently asked questions. With dynamic inventories, you can easily manage and configure dynamic infrastructures using Ansible.