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Provisioning Postgres via Vagrant and Ansible

This article covers a simple workflow for setting up a Vagrant instance running Postgres provisioned by Ansible. The first time I did this I found that most articles didn't cover everything and I had to look around to solve a few minor issues.

It's worth noting that I can avoid all this and use Nic Ferriers very useful Postgres Dev Box. This work may be unnecessary but it's still fun - Funecessary

I'm going to make an assumption that you know what both Vagrant and Ansible are and you understand the basic premise of how they work. I'll also assume that you have ansible installed on the host machine (Ansible is purely SSH and doesn't need agents installed on target machines).


We start with the Vagrantfile. This is the file that tells Vagrant what VM base box to use (Ubuntu Precise 32), what ports should be forwarded to the host (5432 - the default Postgres port) and what provider should be used to provision the VM once it has been brought up (Ansible).

If you already have a local instance of Postgres running you'll want to shut it down or you'll get port collisions and Vagrant will complain.

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config| = "precise32"
    config.vm.box_url = "" "forwarded_port", guest: 5432, host: 5432

    config.vm.provision "ansible" do |ansible|
        ansible.playbook = "playbook.yml"


Ansible provisioning in Vagrant accepts, at the minimum, a playbook to run and the provider takes care of ensuring that ansible is called correctly. Our Vagrantfile above is configured to point to playbook.yml that sits alongside the Vagrantfile so we need to create that.

- hosts: all
  sudo: yes
  gather_facts: no
    - name: add keyserver to apt
      command: apt-key adv --keyserver hkp:// --recv-keys B97B0AFCAA1A47F044F244A07FCC7D46ACCC4CF8
    - name: add custom postgres repo to apt
      lineinfile: dest=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/pgdg.list
                  line="deb precise-pgdg main" state=present

- hosts: all
  sudo: yes
  gather_facts: no
    - name: ensure apt cache is up to date
      apt: update_cache=yes
    - name: ensure packages are installed
      apt: name={{item}}
          - python-software-properties
          - software-properties-common
          - libpq-dev
          - python-psycopg2
          - postgresql-9.4

- hosts: all
  sudo: yes
  sudo_user: postgres
  gather_facts: no

    - name: restart postgresql
      service: name=postgresql state=restarted

    - name: postgresql should listen on all ports
      lineinfile: dest=/etc/postgresql/9.4/main/postgresql.conf
                  line="listen_addresses = '*'" state=present

    - name: postgresql should allow access to host
        dest: /etc/postgresql/9.4/main/pg_hba.conf
        content: |
          local   all   postgres   peer
          local   all   all        peer
          host    all   all   md5
      notify: restart postgresql

- hosts: all
  sudo: yes
  sudo_user: postgres
  gather_facts: no

    dbname: vagrant
    dbuser: vagrant
    dbpassword: vagrant

    - name: ensure database is created
      postgresql_db: name={{dbname}}

    - name: ensure user has access to database
      postgresql_user: db={{dbname}} name={{dbuser}} password={{dbpassword}} priv=ALL

It probably best to tease apart what each part of this playbook does. I've broken the playbook out into four distinct sections that perform specific related tasks to make this easier to explain,

  • Add the Postgres apt repository to allow us to get the latest release of Postgres (apt by default will install 9.1 but I want 9.4
  • Update the apt cache and install the necessary packages (ultimately postgresql-9.4 but we need a few base packages as well.

By this point Postgres will be installed and a postgres user created but if you try and connect to the instance from outside the VM it still wont work. We have some additional work to do. This is exactly what the next block does.

  • Update the postgresql.conf file to allow Postgres to listen on all ports and update pg_hba.conf to allow the host machine to connect to Postgres. NB these rules are very lax, for a bit of local development work this is fine but it would be best to tighten these up for more serious work. The service should be restarted after both of these tasks.

So now we have the ability to connect to the database from the host machine we also want to set up a dedicated database and user.

  • Create a vagrant database and create and associate a vagrant user to this database.

If we save both files and run vagrant up we will end up with a provisioned Vagrant box running Postgres that can be access from the host machine on port 5432.

Published in Vagrant Ansible Postgres on May 20, 2015