2 minute read

Build a new EE image

We would like to use a third part collection, in this case community.efficientip and community.crypto, in our playbooks. The collection is currently in the Automation Hub server and it requires a Python modules, SOLIDserverRest and pyOpenSSL, which are available via pip. The playbooks we are running will also need the Samba client to copy some files to the Windows file share. We will use the ansible-builder utility to include all these into our custom image.

Inside the build directory, create a file called execution-environment.yml:

version: 1

  EE_BASE_IMAGE: 'aap-hub1.lab.automate.nyc/ee-supported-rhel8'
  EE_BUILDER_IMAGE: 'registry.redhat.io/ansible-automation-platform-21/ansible-builder-rhel8'

  python: requirements.txt
  galaxy: requirements.yml
  system: bindep.txt

ansible_config: 'ansible.cfg'

  prepend: |
    RUN pip3 install --upgrade pip wheel setuptools

We are going to use the standard EE image ee-supported-rhel8 from our Automation Hub server aap-hub1.lab.automate.nyc as base image defined by the EE_BASE_IMAGE key. The EE_BUILDER_IMAGE key defined the ansible-builder image we are going to use. The dependency files identify required Python modules, Ansible collections and RPMs. In our case, the requirement.txt contains the Python module name in pip format:


The requirements.yml file contains the list of required collections:

- community.crypto
- community.efficientip

The bindep.txt file contains the list of packages to be installed:

samba-client [platform:redhat]

Since we will be pulling collections from our Automation Hub server, we will need to configure the ansible.cfg file with proper credentials:

server_list = automation_hub, rh-certified_repo, published_repo, community_repo

token=<token string>

token=<token string>

token=<token string>

token=<token string>

Any additional commands can be defined in the additional_build_steps section.

To create a new image, run command:

ansible-builder build --tag aap-hub1.lab.automate.nyc/my_custom_ee:v1 --container-runtime docker

The image will be tagged with our Automation Hub server name, so it can be pushed to our server once it is created. Default ansible-builder command will use podman, but in this case we will be using docker while running on MacOS.

After the build is done, we can verify the new image with ansible-navigator command. To list the installed collections:

ansible-navigator collections --ce docker  --eei aap-hub1.lab.automate.nyc/my_custom_ee:v1

Again, we are running on MacOS, so we will need to specify to use docker as our container engine.

Publish the EE image with the same method as to any container registry:

$ docker login --username admin aap-hub1.lab.automate.nyc
Login Succeeded
$ docker push aap-hub1.lab.automate.nyc/my_custom_ee:v1
Using default tag: latest
The push refers to repository [aap-hub1.lab.automate.nyc/my_custom_ee:v1]
206894a40f6c: Layer already exists 
2e257b8b9924: Layer already exists 
d1803f81822a: Layer already exists 
9b2e1ea8a49b: Layer already exists 
4fe50fe3a3b7: Layer already exists 
c02d758c2215: Layer already exists 
a65a1b01a4d2: Layer already exists 
af092941766c: Layer already exists 
latest: digest: sha256:8deba4dad1c74013ab02c41ce5f87f1353b4e85841ae88eacafdc8d9aed9b4fe size: 2009

Once the image of out custom EE is pushed to Automation Hub, we can create the EE on our AAP Controller following the normal procedures.


Introduction to Ansible Builder

Automating execution environment image builds with GitHub Actions


EOL of CentOS 8 causing the default ansible-builder image, which is CentOS based, failed when trying to install any rpm using bindep. Use EE_BUILDER_IMAGE to specify a RHEL based build image instead.


  • There is a great blog post The anatomy of automation execution environments explaining the differences between upstream and downstream version of ansible-builder. The latest upstream ansible-builder has been updated to CentOS 8 stream.
  • Since GitHub Actions only support Ubunut runner, we can only use the upstream builder image quay.io/ansible/ansible-builder with CentOS 8 Stream. The RHEL 8 UBI builder image won’t be able to pull any packages when running on a Ubuntu podman host.

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