Quickstart: Run Ansible playbooks via Bash in Azure Cloud Shell

Azure Cloud Shell is an interactive, browser-accessible shell for managing Azure resources. Cloud Shell provides enables you to use either a Bash or Powershell command line. In this article, you use Bash within Azure Cloud Shell to run an Ansible playbook.


  • Azure subscription: If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free account before you begin.

Open Azure Cloud Shell

Azure Cloud Shell is a free, interactive shell that you can use to run the steps in this article. Common Azure tools are preinstalled and configured in Cloud Shell for you to use with your account. Select Copy to copy the code, paste it in Cloud Shell, and then press Enter to run it. There are a few ways to open Cloud Shell:

Select Try It in the upper-right corner of a code block. Example of Try It for Azure Cloud Shell
Open Cloud Shell in your browser. Launch Azure Cloud Shell button
Select the Cloud Shell button on the menu in the upper-right corner of the Azure portal. Cloud Shell button in the Azure portal

Automatic credential configuration

When signed into the Cloud Shell, Ansible authenticates with Azure to manage infrastructure without any additional configuration.

When working with multiple subscriptions, specify the subscription Ansible uses by exporting the AZURE_SUBSCRIPTION_ID environment variable.

To list all of your Azure subscriptions, run the following command:

az account list

Using your Azure subscription ID, set the AZURE_SUBSCRIPTION_ID as follows:

export AZURE_SUBSCRIPTION_ID=<your-subscription-id>

Verify the configuration

To verify the successful configuration, use Ansible to create an Azure resource group.

  1. In Cloud Shell, create a file named rg.yml.

    code rg.yml
  2. Paste the following code into the editor:

    - hosts: localhost
      connection: local
        - name: Create resource group
            name: ansible-rg
            location: eastus
          register: rg
        - debug:
            var: rg
  3. Save the file and exit the editor.

  4. Run the playbook using the ansible-playbook command:

    ansible-playbook rg.yml

After running the playbook, you see output similar to the following results:

PLAY [localhost] *********************************************************************************

TASK [Gathering Facts] ***************************************************************************
ok: [localhost]

TASK [Create resource group] *********************************************************************
changed: [localhost]

TASK [debug] *************************************************************************************
ok: [localhost] => {
    "rg": {
        "changed": true,
        "contains_resources": false,
        "failed": false,
        "state": {
            "id": "/subscriptions/XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX/resourceGroups/ansible-rg",
            "location": "eastus",
            "name": "ansible-rg",
            "provisioning_state": "Succeeded",
            "tags": null

PLAY RECAP ***************************************************************************************
localhost                  : ok=3    changed=1    unreachable=0    failed=0

Next steps