Jan 21

Using Ansible like library programming in Python

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

Ansible is a very powerful tool. Using playbooks, something like a cookbook, is very easy to automate maintenance tasks of systems. I used Puppet and other tools like that but IMHO Ansible is the best one.

In some cases you need to manage dynamic systems and take into advantage of Ansible like a Python library is a very good complement for your scripts. This is my last requirement and because of that I decided to share some simple Python snippets that help you to understand how to use Ansible as a Python library.

Firstly an example about how to call an Ansible module with just one host in the inventory (test_modules.py):

import ansible.runner
import ansible.playbook
import ansible.inventory
from ansible import callbacks
from ansible import utils
import json

# the fastest way to set up the inventory

# hosts list
hosts = [""]
# set up the inventory, if no group is defined then 'all' group is used by default
example_inventory = ansible.inventory.Inventory(hosts)

pm = ansible.runner.Runner(
    module_name = 'command',
    module_args = 'uname -a',
    timeout = 5,
    inventory = example_inventory,
    subset = 'all' # name of the hosts group 

out = pm.run()

print json.dumps(out, sort_keys=True, indent=4, separators=(',', ': '))

As a second example, we’re going to use a simple Ansible Playbook with that code (test.yml):

- hosts: sample_group_name
    - name: just an uname
      command: uname -a

The Python code which uses that playbook is (test_playbook.py):

import ansible.runner
import ansible.playbook
import ansible.inventory
from ansible import callbacks
from ansible import utils
import json

### setting up the inventory

## first of all, set up a host (or more)
example_host = ansible.inventory.host.Host(
    name = '',
    port = 22
# with its variables to modify the playbook
example_host.set_variable( 'var', 'foo')

## secondly set up the group where the host(s) has to be added
example_group = ansible.inventory.group.Group(
    name = 'sample_group_name'

## the last step is set up the invetory itself
example_inventory = ansible.inventory.Inventory()

# setting callbacks
stats = callbacks.AggregateStats()
playbook_cb = callbacks.PlaybookCallbacks(verbose=utils.VERBOSITY)
runner_cb = callbacks.PlaybookRunnerCallbacks(stats, verbose=utils.VERBOSITY)

# creating the playbook instance to run, based on "test.yml" file
pb = ansible.playbook.PlayBook(
    playbook = "test.yml",
    stats = stats,
    callbacks = playbook_cb,
    runner_callbacks = runner_cb,
    inventory = example_inventory,

# running the playbook
pr = pb.run()  

# print the summary of results for each host
print json.dumps(pr, sort_keys=True, indent=4, separators=(',', ': '))

If you want to download example files you can go to my github account: github.com/oriolrius/programming-ansible-basics

I hope it was useful for you.

Oct 21

OpenAM: some ssoadm commands for reference

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

OpenAM is as much powerful as complicated sometimes. In this case I spent a lot of time understanding how to set simple settings because of that I decide to take note about that in this blog entry.

First of all don’t forget to set the environment variables and go to ssoadm path:

export JAVA_HOME="/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-amd64/jre"
export CLASSPATH="/var/lib/tomcat7/webapps/openam/WEB-INF/lib/policy-plugins.jar::/var/lib/tomcat7/webapps/openam/WEB-INF/lib/openam-core-11.0.0.jar"

cd /opt/openam/ssoadmin/openam/bin

Getting the list of user identities:

./ssoadm list-identities -u amadmin -f /tmp/oam.pwd -e / -t User -x "*"

anonymous (id=anonymous,ou=user,dc=openam)
demo (id=demo,ou=user,dc=openam)
serviceusername (id=serviceusername,ou=user,dc=openam)
amAdmin (id=amAdmin,ou=user,dc=openam)
Search of Identities of type User in realm, / succeeded.

another useful query would be:

./ssoadm list-identities -u amadmin -f /tmp/oam.pwd -e / -t Role -x "*"

No plug-ins configured for this operation

But as you can see it doesn’t work and I don’t know how to solve it.

Taking a look to GUI get to identities list with: Access Control > / (Top Level Realm) > Privileges

In this webpage you have a list of role identities, in my case I have only this: “All Authenticated Users”. Inside this identity I can set different privileges:

  • REST calls for Policy Evaluation (EntitlementRestAccess)
  • Read and write access to all log files (LogAdmin)
  • REST calls for searching entitlements (PrivilegeRestReadAccess)
  • Read access to all log files (LogRead)
  • Read and write access to all federation metadata configurations (FederationAdmin)
  • Read and write access only for policy properties (PolicyAdmin)
  • Read and write access to all configured Agents (AgentAdmin)
  • Read and write access to all realm and policy properties (RealmAdmin)
  • REST calls for managing entitlements (PrivilegeRestAccess)
  • Write access to all log files (LogWrite)

If we want to remove a privilege:

root@vm:/opt/openam/ssoadmin/openam/bin# ./ssoadm remove-privileges -u amAdmin -f /tmp/oam.pwd -e / -g EntitlementRestAccess -i "All Authenticated Users" -t role

Privileges were removed from identity, All Authenticated Users of type, role in realm, /.

or adding a privilege:

root@vm:/opt/openam/ssoadmin/openam/bin# ./ssoadm add-privileges -u amAdmin -f /tmp/oam.pwd -e / -g EntitlementRestAccess -i "All Authenticated Users" -t role

Talking about policies, exporting:

./ssoadm list-policies -u amadmin -f /tmp/oam.pwd -e / -o /tmp/policies.xml

and if we want to import the policies:

./ssoadm create-policies -u amAdmin -f /tmp/oam.pwd -e / --xmlfile /tmp/policies.xml

creating a user:

./ssoadm create-identity -u amadmin -f /tmp/oam.pwd  -e / -i serviceusername -t User --attributevalues "userpassword=servicepassword"

Useful references:

Jul 08

sslsnoop – hacking OpenSSH

Reading time: < 1 minute Using sslsnoop you can dump SSH keys used in a session and decode ciphered traffic. Supported algorithms are: aes128-ctr, aes192-ctr, aes256-ctr, blowfish-cbc, cast128-cbc. Basic sslsnoop information:

 $ sudo sslsnoop # try ssh, sshd and ssh-agent… for various things
 $ sudo sslsnoop-openssh live `pgrep ssh` # dumps SSH decrypted traffic in outputs/
 $ sudo sslsnoop-openssh offline –help # dumps SSH decrypted traffic in outputs/ from a pcap file
 $ sudo sslsnoop-openssl `pgrep ssh-agent` # dumps RSA and DSA keys

Take a look into the project in sslsnoop github page.

Jun 30

Enabling linux kernel to open LOTS of concurrent connections

Reading time: < 1 minute Just a small recipe about how to enable linux kernel to open tons of concurrent connections. Really simple and useful post entry.

echo “10152 65535″ > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_local_port_range
sysctl -w fs.file-max=128000
sysctl -w net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time=300
sysctl -w net.core.somaxconn=250000
sysctl -w net.ipv4.tcp_max_syn_backlog=2500
sysctl -w net.core.netdev_max_backlog=2500
ulimit -n 10240
Aug 28

Technitium MAC Address Changer

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

I just want to share with you a small and powerful Windows tool I found in my last trip to US. The best feature IMHO is that permits to change the MAC address of your NIC interface without rebooting, safely and fast. It could be useful when you have a limit time to connect to internet in a free Wi-Fi network; after changing your MAC address you should be like a new device. If you have to do something like this, remember to remove the browser cookies.

Other interesting features of this tool is network presets. You can change your NIC settings very fast just changing a preset profile. As you can see in next screenshot it has a simple chart of your real time network traffic. And finally I want to stand out you can see all your network devices configuration very fast.

technitium MAC address changer screenshot

Technitium MAC Address Changer home page.

May 02

Send email notifications from supervisord

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

There is a package called superlance which listens supervisord events. If you install it with:

pip install superlance

Then it’s very easy to setup supervisord to send emails when a daemon changes the state because of a crash or something else.

Lines to add to supervisord configuration file:

command=/usr/local/bin/crashmail -a -m email1@example.com

if you want to send notifications only for some applications:

command=/usr/local/bin/crashmail -p program1 -p group1:program2 -m email1@example.com

Of course, superlance can listen many different event signals from supervisor and can take different actions like call to HTTP URL or send SMS. I want to recommend you to take look to the package documentation it could be useful to understand all the superlance power.

May 01

Relay mail from your server without MTA

Reading time: < 1 minute Sometime you need to send notifications or simply you need to use sendmail command from your server, but you don't want to use a local mail server. Maybe use simple SMTP (ssmtp) could be a good idea to solve this kind of situations. I use to configure SSMTP with a GMail account to send notifications from server different daemons, for example, crontab, supervisord, etc. This is a cookbook configuration for SSMTP and GMail: /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf



Installation in ubuntu server is as easy as: apt-get install ssmtp

Feb 25

Setup a VPN with PPP and SSH

Reading time: < 1 minute Fast trick for linux users, do you know how to setup a VPN using PPP and SSH? of course you can setup a secure tunnel using '-w- or '-W' ssh parameters in last versions of SSH. But in this case I want to share with you this idea:

pppd updetach pty “ssh root@REMOTE_PUB_IP pppd notty”

I hope it’s useful for you.