10 Ways to Speed Up Your Ansible Playbooks

Speed Up Your Ansible Playbooks

In this article, we will examine 10 ways to speed up your Ansible Playbooks, providing actionable strategies and examples to optimize performance and streamline automation processes.

Table of Contents


In the realm of DevOps and infrastructure management, Ansible has emerged as a powerhouse tool for automating tasks, orchestrating complex workflows, and managing configurations across diverse systems. While Ansible offers unparalleled flexibility and scalability, ensuring optimal performance of your playbooks is essential for maximizing efficiency and productivity.

Speed Up Your Ansible Playbooks

In this blog post, we’ll explore ten actionable strategies to speed up your Ansible playbooks, enabling faster execution and smoother operations.

Optimize Inventory Configuration

Begin by optimizing your inventory configuration to reduce unnecessary overhead. Utilize dynamic inventories to automatically discover and manage hosts, eliminating the need for manual updates. Additionally, organize your inventory files efficiently, grouping hosts based on shared characteristics to streamline playbook execution.

server1 ansible_host=
server2 ansible_host=

server3 ansible_host=

Parallel Execution

Leverage Ansible’s parallel execution capabilities to distribute tasks across multiple hosts simultaneously, accelerating playbook execution. Adjust the forks setting in your Ansible configuration to control the number of concurrent processes and optimize resource utilization.

In your ansible.cfg file, locate the forks setting and adjust it or make an entry as follows:

forks = 10


Then, execute your playbook with the following command:

					$ ansible-playbook playbook.yml -f 10

Minimize Task Complexity

Simplify task logic and minimize unnecessary operations to reduce execution time. Break down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable units, optimizing performance by focusing on essential actions.

					- name: Install required packages
    name: "{{ item }}"
    state: present
    - package1
    - package2
    - package3

Selective Tagging

Employ selective tagging to execute only relevant tasks based on specified criteria, avoiding unnecessary processing of unrelated tasks. Tag individual tasks or entire roles and selectively execute them as needed, enhancing playbook efficiency.

					$ ansible-playbook playbook.yml --tags "web_server"

Cache Facts

Enable fact caching to store host facts locally and reduce the overhead of gathering system information during each playbook run. Utilize plugins such as jsonfile or redis to cache facts and enhance performance, particularly in environments with large inventory sets.

					$ ansible-playbook playbook.yml -f 10 --cache

Use Asynchronous Tasks

Implement asynchronous tasks to execute long-running operations concurrently, preventing playbook execution from stalling. Define asynchronous tasks with a timeout value to ensure efficient resource allocation and avoid potential bottlenecks.

					- name: Execute long-running task asynchronously
  command: long_running_command
  async: 300
  poll: 10


Optimized Module Selection

Choose optimized modules tailored to specific use cases to enhance performance and minimize overhead. Evaluate alternative modules and plugins to identify solutions that align with your requirements and offer improved efficiency.

					- name: Restart web server
    name: nginx
    state: restarted


Limit Facts Gathering

Limit the scope of facts gathering to essential information relevant to playbook execution, reducing the time spent collecting unnecessary data. Customize the gather_facts directive in your playbook or inventory configuration to optimize performance without compromising functionality.

					- hosts: all
  gather_facts: no


Optimized Network Communication

Fine-tune network communication settings to minimize latency and improve responsiveness during playbook execution. Configure Ansible to use optimized connection methods such as SSH pipelining and ControlPersist to enhance throughput and efficiency. For example, your ansible.cfg file may contain the following:

pipelining = True
control_path = /tmp/ansible-ssh-%%h-%%p-%%r


The configuration block [ssh_connection] contains settings related to SSH connections used by Ansible when communicating with remote hosts. Let’s break down each parameter:

  1. pipelining = True: This setting enables SSH pipelining, a feature that allows multiple SSH operations to be sent over a single connection without waiting for each operation to complete before sending the next one. Enabling pipelining can significantly reduce the overhead of establishing and tearing down SSH connections, thus improving the overall efficiency of Ansible playbook execution.

  2. control_path = /tmp/ansible-ssh-%%h-%%p-%%r: This parameter specifies the path where Ansible stores control socket files for SSH connections. Control socket files are used to multiplex SSH connections, allowing multiple operations to share the same SSH connection, further reducing connection overhead. The %%h, %%p, and %%r placeholders in the path are replaced with the hostname, port, and remote user during runtime.

In summary, this configuration optimizes SSH connections used by Ansible by enabling pipelining to reduce connection overhead and specifying a control path to facilitate multiplexing of SSH connections, ultimately leading to faster and more efficient playbook execution.

Regular Maintenance and Monitoring

Conduct regular maintenance and monitoring of your Ansible environment to identify performance bottlenecks and implement optimization strategies effectively. Monitor playbook execution times, resource utilization, and system metrics to proactively address performance issues and ensure smooth operation. Here’s example:

					$ ansible-playbook playbook.yml --start-at-task="task_name"

The command ansible-playbook playbook.yml --start-at-task="task_name" is intended to start the execution of an Ansible playbook (playbook.yml) from a specific task named "task_name".

Using this command can be particularly useful when you have a large playbook with multiple tasks, and you want to troubleshoot or rerun only a specific portion of the playbook without executing the entire set of tasks. It allows for more granular control over playbook execution and can save time when working on specific sections of a playbook.


By implementing these ten strategies, you can significantly enhance the speed and efficiency of your Ansible playbooks, empowering you to automate tasks with greater agility and precision. Whether you’re managing a small-scale deployment or orchestrating a complex infrastructure, optimizing your Ansible workflows is essential for achieving seamless automation and maximizing productivity.

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