Using Custom Playbooks

Installer and later enable you to use custom playbooks that can run a set of predefined tasks during or after operations using the Installer or Installer Stanzas.

Using custom playbooks, you can inject specific commands into the Installer and later workflows to make configuration changes and ensure that those changes persist even after incremental installations or upgrades. For example, suppose you want to install a specific software package on all nodes before starting an installation. Custom playbooks enable you to check for and install the software as needed.

Or suppose you want to change a configuration setting before starting Core. Custom playbooks enable you to change the setting as part of an installation or upgrade.

Restrictions to Using Custom Playbooks

Note these restrictions:
  • You can use custom playbooks with any cluster as long as the Installer version is or later. However, Installer and later have limited functionality when used with older releases. See Selecting an Installer Version to Use.
  • Custom playbooks are not supported for manual installations. Custom playbooks are supported only for use with the Installer and Installer Stanzas.

Prerequisite for Using Custom Playbooks

To create a custom playbook file, you must be familiar with Ansible. Ansible is a simple automation language that uses plain-text YAML files to describe the desired state of the cluster. You do not have to install Ansible. Ansible 2.7 is installed whenever you load the Installer using To begin learning Ansible, see these resources:

Creating and Running a Custom Playbook

Follow these steps to use a custom playbook with the Installer or Installer Stanzas:
No. Step See for more information
1. Prepare the roles structure and YAML files for the custom playbook.
2. Test the roles using standalone Ansible.
3. Convert the YAML files to a zipped archive file that has a tgz or tar.gz file extension.
4. In the Installer or a Installer Stanza, specify the option to upload the zipped archive file.
5. Run the Installer or Installer Stanza to invoke the playbook.
6. If the operation returns a syntax error, fix the error and retry the operation.

Predefined Roles for Custom Playbooks

The role structure is an important part of your custom playbook. Your custom playbook must contain one or more of the following roles, and each role must be a directory in the zipped archive. The roles do not need to follow a specific order.

Role Tasks in this role are run after . . .
preinstall The Installer has verified the nodes but before the installation workflow has begun
postecoreconfigure has run for Core but before Core has been started
postecoconfigure Ecosystem components are configured and started
postinstall The cluster is completely installed and running (at the end of the Installer Stage2 playbook)
Here is an example role structure:

The uploaded tarball must contain relative path names with just the top-level role directories, and the tarball structure must adhere to the Ansible role-structure rules. If you need to configure your own roles in the tarball, you must include them as sub-roles to be run from within the pre-defined roles. For more information, see Ansible Roles.

Note: Because Installer maintenance updates only update Core and do not change any configuration settings on the cluster, the Installer handles them differently from other operations. This means that whenever you perform a maintenance update, the Installer does not run the postecoconfigure and postinstall playbooks during the maintenance update.

Example Playbook Files

This example shows a preinstall task that installs the Midnight Commander application on all nodes in the cluster before the Installer workflow is initiated. The example is contained in the preinstall/tasks/main.yml file:
- name: Install misc stuff - Midnight commander
    packages_Suse: ['mc']
    packages_RedHat: ['mc', 'lsof']
    # syslinux-utils is for gethostip, libpython is required for collectd
    packages_Debian: ['mc']

  package: name={{ item }} state=present
  with_items: "{{ vars['packages_' + ansible_os_family] }}"

The following example shows the postcoreconfigure/tasks/main.yml file for the previous role structure. This example sets the number of RPC threads in mfs.conf from the current setting to 4 threads. The variable used to point to the file is defined in postcoreconfigure/vars/main.yml:

- debug: var=mapr_home

- name: Bump MFS RPC threads
    path: "{{ mapr_conf_dir }}/mfs.conf"
    regexp: '^(?P<threads>mfs.numrpcthreads=).*$'
    line: '\g<threads>4'
    backrefs: yes
This example shows the contents of the variables file (postcoreconfigure/vars/main.yml):
mapr_conf_dir: "{{ mapr_home }}/conf"

Testing the Roles

Before uploading your zipped archive, develop and test your role files outside the installer using the standalone Ansible 2.7 debugger. You cannot use the Ansible debugger from within the Installer. For more information, see Playbook Debugger.

Testing the roles by running them using the Installer can be time-consuming. If a role contains logic errors, these errors won't be visible until the playbook is initiated. For example, a postinstall playbook that you run during a new installation does not generate an error until the installation is completed. A new installation can take 20 minutes or more, depending on the cluster size. Therefore, you can avoid having to re-run the Installer and playbook by testing the roles for logic errors before using them.

You can run the playbook debugger from the Installer node by using the virt_runner program in the/opt/mapr/installer/bin/ directory. Use this command:
virt_runner ansible-playbook -i, -k <Playbook-file-name>

When you run the playbook in this fashion, you do not have access to the variables (for example, mapr_home) that the Installer defines. So you must set those up manually.

Creating the Zipped Archive

To create the zipped archive, you can use a tool such as 7-Zip or Linux commands. The following example uses the Linux tar command to create an archive of the directory structure and the gzip command to zip the archive.

Before using the tar command, change the directory to the directory in which you created the role structure. For example, if you created the role structure in the /tmp directory, you must issue the tar command from the /tmp directory:
tar -cvf /tmp/custom_pbs.tar .
gzip /tmp/custom_pbs.tar

The gzip command creates a custom_pbs.tar.gz file in the /tmp directory. If you are using the Installer, move the zipped file to the node hosting your browser so that you can upload it using the Installer upload option.

Installer Options for Custom Playbooks

In the Installer, the custom playbook options appear on the Version & Services page under Advanced Options. The following screen shows the options that are visible when a playbooks archive file has been uploaded:

To use the options, you select an option and then advance through the Installer menus to complete the Installer task. You can access these options from the following Installer tasks:
  • Install
  • Incremental Install
  • Upgrade Version
  • Maintenance Update

Whichever option you select, the Installer obeys the option every time you use the Installer for any operation. Therefore, if you select the option to upload a custom playbook, the Installer will run the playbook every time you use the Installer. If you select the option to disable playbooks, playbooks will be disabled until you select a different option. If a value has been set by a custom playbook and you run the same playbook again, the value is left unchanged.

Option Description
Upload Custom Playbooks Archive File Uploads a zipped TAR file for your custom playbook to /opt/mapr/installer/data/tmp/custom_playbooks/. The Installer displays the file name of the uploaded archive. An error is displayed if you upload a file that does not have a tgz or tar.gz file extension.

The Installer allows you to upload one playbook at a time. If you upload a new playbook when another playbook is already loaded, the previously loaded playbook and its archive are removed, and the new playbook is loaded.

Remove Custom Playbooks Removes the installed custom playbook and its archive from /opt/mapr/installer/data/tmp/custom_playbooks/. Both the playbook and the directory structure are removed.
Disable Running of Custom Playbooks Enables you to run the Installer or Installer Stanzas without executing the uploaded custom playbook.

Installer Stanza Parameters for Custom Playbooks

To upload a custom playbook using a Stanza, specify the cpbs_location parameter followed by the path to the playbook in quotations. For example:

  #DOC path to tar.gz archive of custom playbooks to be installed
  #DOC to remove the custom playbooks, provide an empty string
  #DOC for the filename, or remove cpbs_location all together
  cpbs_location: "/tmp/custom_plays.tar.gz"

To remove a custom playbook using a Stanza, specify an empty string for the file name:

  cpbs_location: ""

Or remove cpbs_location from the environment section.

To disable a custom playbook without removing it, set the custom_pbs_disable parameter to true

  #DOC flag to indicate if you want to skip running of installed custom playbooks
  custom_pbs_disable: true

Troubleshooting Custom Playbook Errors

The Installer loads the custom roles and reports any syntax errors at execution time. The failure of a custom role causes a failure in the Installer operation. If a role has a syntax error, the Installer can show an error like this:

Tip: To view node details in the right pane of the Installing MapR screen, you need to select a red node icon on the left.
If the node detail indicates a custom playbook hook error, refer to the Installer Log for more information. Click Support > View Installer Log. For example:

(Clicking the node log provides limited information for syntax errors.) For more information about the Installer logs, see Logs for the Installer.

Using the Retry Button

You have several options for fixing the issue. You can fix any problems by logging on to the Installer node and making changes directly in the playbook files located at /opt/mapr/installer/data/custom_playbooks. Then click the Retry button in the Installer GUI interface. If you use this method, note that you must eventually propagate any fixes to your original tarball if you want to reuse the tarball.

Using the Abort Installation Button

Another option is to abort the installation and repeat the operation after fixing the error and uploading a corrected playbook. Before using this option, it is important to know that using Abort Installation does not remove changes made to the Installer database during the operation that you aborted. After an abort, the Installer can display the desired state rather than the actual state of the nodes.

For example, if you attempted to upgrade a MEP from MEP 6.1.0 to MEP 6.2.0 and then aborted the operation, the Installer can display the currently installed MEP as MEP 6.2.0 even though MEP 6.2.0 has not been installed on the cluster nodes. This condition persists until you rerun the upgrade operation successfully or revert to the last known cluster state by using Support > Import State. See Importing or Exporting the Cluster State.

To abort the operation and start over, click Abort Installation. A confirmation dialog appears:

Click OK to return to the Installer home page. Fix the playbook error and retry the operation.