FreeKB - Ansible copy module (copy or create file or directory)
Ansible - copy module (copy or create file or directory)

If you are not familiar with modules, check out Ansible - Getting Started with Modules.

The default behavior of the copy module is to copy a file or directory from the control node (that's your Ansible server) to the managed nodes (e.g. target systems). The remote_src parameter can be used to copy a file or directory on the managed node to some other directory on the managed node. Or Role Files or Role Templates could be used.

The get_url module can be used to copy a file from a remote URL to the managed node. Or,the synchronize module can be used for both local and remote copies via rsync.


Copy file from control node to managed nodes

In this example, /tmp/foo.txt on the control node is copied to /tmp/foo.txt on the managed nodes.

- name: copy foo.txt
  copy:
    src: /tmp/foo.txt
    dest: /tmp/foo.txt

 


Create file on managed node

The content parameter can be used to create a file with whatever value is defined in the content parameter. In this example, the /tmp/foo.txt file will contain the text "bar".

- name: copy foo.txt
  copy:
    dest: /tmp/foo.txt
    content: bar

 


Copy file on managed node

The remote_src parameter can be used to copy a file on the managed node to some other directory on the managed node.

- name: copy foo.txt
  copy:
    src: /tmp/foo.txt
    dest: /home/john.doe/foo.txt
    remote_src: true

 


Copy file using the roles "files" directory

When using roles, one of the roles directories is files, like this.

/etc/ansible/roles/your_role/files

 

One of the parameters of the copy module is src. If src only contains the file name, Ansible will look for foo.txt in the roles files directory, like this.

- name: copy /etc/ansible/roles/your_role/files/foo.txt
  copy:
    src: foo.txt
    dest: /tmp/foo.txt

 


Copy directory

In this example, the /tmp/bar directory (and the contents of the bar directory) on the control node is copied to /tmp/bar on the managed nodes.

- name: copy the 'bar' directory
  copy:
    src: /tmp/bar
    dest: /tmp/bar

 

In this example, the contents of the /tmp/bar directory on the control node is copied to /tmp/bar on the managed nodes.

- name: copy the 'bar' directory
  copy:
    src: /tmp/bar/
    dest: /tmp/bar/

 

Or, you could create an archive of the directory on the control node, such as bar.tar.gz, using the archive module, copy the archive file from the control node to the managed node, and then use the unarchive module to extract the archive on the managed node.

 


loop

The loop module can be used to loop through file. In this example, both foo.txt and bar.txt are copied from the control node to each managed node.

- name: copy items
  copy:
    src: "/tmp/{{ items }}"
    dest: "/tmp/{{ items }}"
    owner: foo
    group: foo
    mode: "0644"
  loop:
    - foo.txt
    - bar.txt

 


File copied

If the file was successfully copied, the play should indicate changed.

TASK [copy foo.txt]
changed: [server1.example.com]

 

Following are scenario's where the file will be copied:

  • The file does not exist on the managed node
  • The file exists on the managed node but there are differences between the file on the control node and the file on the managed node

 

File not copied

If the file was not copied, the play should indicate ok. This is the expected behavior if the file already exists on the managed node and there are no differences between the file on the control node and the file on the managed node. In this scenario, the file on the managed node will not be created, overwritten, or changed.

TASK [copy foo.txt]
ok: [server1.example.com]

 

Destination not writable

If Destination not writable is returned when running the play, refer to our article on resolving Destination not writable.

 


You may also want to use x.stat.exists to determine if the file exists.



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