To begin using ARA, you’ll first need to set up Ansible so it knows about the the ARA callback and, if necessary, the ara_record and ara_read modules.

The callback and modules are bundled when installing ARA but you need to know where they have been installed in order to let Ansible know where they are located.


The location where ARA will be depends on your operating system and how it is installed. Here’s an example of some common locations:

  • /usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/ara
  • /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/ara
  • $VIRTUAL_ENV/lib/python2.7/site-packages/ara

If you’re not sure where ARA has ended up being installed, you can use this snippet to print it’s location:

python -c "import os,ara; print(os.path.dirname(ara.__file__))"

Using ansible.cfg

Set up your ansible.cfg file to seek the callback and modules in the appropriate directories:

$ export ara_location=$(python -c "import os,ara; print(os.path.dirname(ara.__file__))")
$ cat > ansible.cfg <<EOF
# callback_plugins configuration is required for the ARA callback
callback_plugins = $ara_location/plugins/callbacks

# action_plugins and library configuration is required for the ara_record and ara_read modules
action_plugins = $ara_location/plugins/actions
library = $ara_location/plugins/modules

Using environment variables

Depending on the context and your use case, configuring Ansible using environment variables instead of an ansible.cfg file might be more convenient. Here’s how you can set up Ansible to seek out ARA’s callback and modules:

$ export ara_location=$(python -c "import os,ara; print(os.path.dirname(ara.__file__))")
$ export ANSIBLE_CALLBACK_PLUGINS=$ara_location/plugins/callbacks
$ export ANSIBLE_ACTION_PLUGINS=$ara_location/plugins/actions
$ export ANSIBLE_LIBRARY=$ara_location/plugins/modules


ARA uses the same mechanism and configuration files as Ansible to retrieve it’s configuration. It comes with sane defaults that can be customized if need be.

The order of priority is the following:

  1. Environment variables
  2. ./ansible.cfg (In the current working directory)
  3. ~/.ansible.cfg (In the home directory)
  4. /etc/ansible/ansible.cfg

When using the ansible.cfg file, the configuration options must be set under the ara namespace, as follows:

variable = value


The callback, CLI client and web application all share the same settings. For example, if you configure the database location, all three will use that location.

Parameters and their defaults

Environment variable ansible.cfg variable Default value
ARA_DIR dir ~/.ara
ARA_DATABASE database sqlite:///~/.ara/ansible.sqlite
ARA_LOG_FILE logfile ~/.ara/ara.log
ARA_LOG_FORMAT logformat %(asctime)s - %(levelname)s - %(message)s
ARA_SQL_DEBUG sqldebug False
ARA_IGNORE_MIMETYPE_WARNINGS ignore_mimetype_warnings True
ARA_PLAYBOOK_OVERRIDE playbook_override None


Base directory where ARA will store it’s log file and sqlite database, unless specified otherwise.


ARA records Ansible data in a database. The callback, the CLI client and the web application all need to know where that database is located.

ARA ensures the database exists and it’s schema is created when it is run.

ARA comes out of the box with sqlite enabled and no additional setup required. If, for example, you’d like to use MySQL instead, you will need to create a database and it’s credentials:

CREATE USER ara@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON ara.* TO ara@localhost;

And then setup the database connection:

export ARA_DATABASE="mysql+pymysql://ara:password@localhost/ara"
# or
database = mysql+pymysql://ara:password@localhost/ara

When using a different database driver such as MySQL (pymysql), you also need to make sure you install the driver:

# From pypi
pip install pymysql
# For RHEL derivatives
yum install python-PyMySQL
# For Debian or Ubuntu
apt-get install python-pymysql


Path to the logfile to store ARA logs in.


The loglevel to adjust debug or verbosity.


The log format of the logs.


Enables the SQLAlchemy echo verbose mode.


Whether or not to ignore mimetype warnings when generating the static version of the ARA web application.


This configuration is exposed mostly for the purposes of the ara generate html and ara generate junit commands but you can use it as well.

ARA_PLAYBOOK_OVERRIDE will limit the playbooks displayed in the web application to the list of playbook IDs specified. This is expected to be playbook IDs (ex: retrieved through ara playbook list) in a comma-separated list.

The CLI client and the web application

The CLI client and the web application do not need to be run on the same machine that Ansible is executed from but they do need a database and know it’s location.

Both could query a local sqlite database or a remote MySQL database, for example.