Azure Credentials for Ansible

So, you need Ansible to connect to Azure. Congrats, Ansible is awesome for managing Azure resources. The Ansible team has already put together a scenario on how to integrate Ansible with Azure over at

The section ‘Authenticating with Azure‘ sounds like the right place, but you can’t use your AD username / password from Ansible because you turned on 2FA – You turned it on RIGHT? So the option left to you is to create a Service Principal (SP).

Note: having 2FA on your account is what you should be doing, so don’t turn it off.

It’s quite simple to create a credential for Ansible to use when connecting to Azure. Simply, fire up the Cloud Shell (awesome feature BTW Microsoft) and create a Service Principal (SP).

But Hang On, what is a Service Principal? The Ansible guide refers you to the Azure documentation over at which you will read, and if you’re like me, you’ll wonder what you actually just read. Have no fear. As I mentioned above you can use a simple Azure CLI command (via the Cloud Shell you just started) and create the Service Principal. Think of the Service Principal as a credential an application (in this case Ansible) can use to access the Azure service(s).

geoff@Azure:~$ az ad sp create-for-rbac --name svc-ansible-azure  # (optional if not specified one will be generated)  --password 'ALovelyComplexPasswor@'
Changing "svc-ansible-azure" to a valid URI of "http://svc-ansible-azure", which is the required format used for service principal names
Creating a role assignment under the scope of "/subscriptions/88888888-4444-4444-4444-cccccccccccc"
  Retrying role assignment creation: 1/36
  Retrying role assignment creation: 2/36
  "appId": "appid888-4444-4444-4444-cccccccccccc",
  "displayName": "svc-ansible-azure",
  "name": "http://svc-ansible-azure",
  "password": "password-4444-4444-4444-cccccccccccc",
  "tenant": "tenant88-4444-4444-4444-cccccccccccc"

If you want to see what that command just did in the Azure portal, head over to the Azure Active Directory -> App registrations blade.

and then you can see the Service Principal you just created.

So what do you do with the new credential.

The Ansible Azure scenario guide has a section on what to do, however, it’s a bit too vague for me.

Using Environment Variables

To pass service principal credentials via the environment, define the following variables:


Azure has given me :

“appId”: “appid888-4444-4444-4444-cccccccccccc”,
“displayName”: “svc-ansible-azure”,
“name”: “http://svc-ansible-azure”,
“password”: “password-4444-4444-4444-cccccccccccc”,
“tenant”: “tenant88-4444-4444-4444-cccccccccccc”

For your sanity,
AZURE_SECRET ==> password
AZURE_TENANT ==> tenant

The remaining item, AZURE_SUBSCRIPTION_ID is exactly that, you can also get from the Cloud Shell as follows

geoff@Azure:~$ az account list
    "cloudName": "AzureCloud",
    "id": "subscrip-4444-4444-4444-cccccccccccc
    "isDefault": true,

In this case AZURE_SUBSCRIPTION_ID ==> id , whichever id in your account that is valid for your use case.

If you want to add these credentials into Ansible Tower, simply create a Credential of type Microsoft Azure Resource Manager and use the values you’ve deduced above. Ansible Tower will automatically translate them into Environment Variables for your Tower template execution.

Enjoy Ansible and Azure!

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