Dynamic Inventory Scripts in Ansible

Dynamic inventory scripts in Ansible provide a powerful way to generate inventory information dynamically from external sources. These scripts allow you to fetch inventory data from various systems such as cloud platforms, configuration management databases (CMDBs), or custom data sources. In this tutorial, you will learn how to work with dynamic inventory scripts in Ansible.

Introduction to Dynamic Inventory Scripts

Ansible allows you to use custom scripts as dynamic inventory sources. These scripts can be written in any programming language and are executed by Ansible to generate inventory information. By using dynamic inventory scripts, you can automate the process of retrieving and organizing inventory data from different sources.

Example: Custom Python Dynamic Inventory Script

Here's an example of a custom Python script that generates inventory data:

#!/usr/bin/env python

import json

Fetch inventory data from an external source

inventory_data = {
'web_servers': ['web1.example.com', 'web2.example.com'],
'db_servers': ['db1.example.com', 'db2.example.com'],

Convert the inventory data to JSON format

inventory_json = json.dumps(inventory_data)

Print the inventory JSON data


This script generates a simple inventory with two groups: 'web_servers' and 'db_servers' containing the corresponding hostnames. The script converts the inventory data to JSON format and outputs it to stdout.

Steps for Using Dynamic Inventory Scripts

Follow these steps to use dynamic inventory scripts in Ansible:

1. Create a Dynamic Inventory Script

Write a custom script or modify an existing one to retrieve inventory data from your desired source. The script should output inventory data in a compatible format, such as JSON or YAML.

2. Make the Script Executable

Ensure that the dynamic inventory script has executable permissions. Use the following command to grant executable permissions:

$ chmod +x inventory_script.py

3. Test the Script

Execute the script manually and verify that it produces the desired inventory output. This step helps ensure that the script is functioning correctly before integrating it with Ansible.

4. Specify the Dynamic Inventory Script

Specify the dynamic inventory script as the inventory source in your Ansible commands or configuration files. Use the -i option followed by the script's path.

$ ansible -i inventory_script.py all -m ping

This command uses the dynamic inventory script to fetch the inventory data and then pings all the hosts in the inventory.

Common Mistakes with Dynamic Inventory Scripts

  • Not making the dynamic inventory script executable.
  • Missing required dependencies or modules in the script.
  • Incorrect formatting of the inventory data output.
  • Using outdated or incompatible versions of the script.
  • Insufficient permissions for accessing the inventory source.

FAQs about Dynamic Inventory Scripts in Ansible

  1. Q: Can I use dynamic inventory scripts with cloud platforms like AWS?

    A: Yes, you can create dynamic inventory scripts that fetch inventory information from cloud platforms like AWS using their APIs or SDKs.

  2. Q: Can I use dynamic inventory scripts with external CMDBs?

    A: Absolutely! Dynamic inventory scripts can be written to connect to external CMDBs and retrieve inventory data based on your specific requirements.

  3. Q: Can I pass additional parameters to the dynamic inventory script?

    A: Yes, you can pass arguments or environment variables to the dynamic inventory script to customize its behavior or provide authentication details.


Dynamic inventory scripts in Ansible allow you to generate inventory information dynamically from various sources. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial, you can create and use custom scripts to retrieve inventory data and seamlessly integrate it into your Ansible workflows. This flexibility enables you to automate the management of your infrastructure more efficiently.