Install Ansible by using virtualenv

To keep up with the latest version of Ansible and the F5 modules, F5 recommends using virtualenv.

Install virtualenv


To install Python virtualenv, you need administrative/root access. Use caution if you are

installing on a shared system to ensure you do not impact your co-workers.

Mac OS

Pip does not come pre-installed on Mac. To install pip, run the following commands:

sudo easy_install pip
sudo pip install --upgrade pip
pip install virtualenv


On RHEL/CentOS, you can install by using yum.

sudo yum install python-virtualenv


On Ubuntu/Debian, you can install by using apt.

sudo apt install python-virtualenv

Set up virtualenv

After you install virtualenv, you can create a “virtual environment” to host your local copy of Ansible.

virtualenv myansible

This command creates a directory called myansible in your current working directory.

This directory contains a copy of Python that will install modules in the myansible directory. This keeps them separate from other modules.

To use this new location, you must activate it.

source myansible/bin/activate

You should see the prompt change to include the virtualenv name. For example:

(myansible) $

Now that the virtualenv is active, all future Python commands (such as pip) will install modules into the virtualenv.

Let’s install Ansible to make it possible to use the modules.

First, make sure you installed Ansible.

(myansible) $ pip install ansible

You should be able to verify that you are running Ansible by using the --version argument to the ansible command, for example:

(myansible) $ ansible --version

The output should resemble the following:

(myansible) $ ansible --version
ansible 2.4.0
  config file =
  configured module search path = Default w/o overrides

Now you can create your first playbook. The remainder of the Ansible playbooks will be in a file called site.yaml.

Configure your ansible_python_interpreter

When using Ansible in a virtualenv, it is necessary that you change your ansible_python_interpreter variable. This can be done in several places, including,

  • group_vars
  • host_vars
  • directly in the inventory file (on the hosts line)

The recommended place to put it though is in the group_vars directory in the all.yaml file. This will ensure that it is used by all of the hosts in your playbooks. Additionally, you can remove it from this central location if you move your playbooks to a non-virtualenv host.

Below is an example of what your inventory/group_vars/all.yaml file might look like after you have set the ansible_python_interpreter.


ansible_python_interpreter: /usr/local/bin/python

The same format would apply if you included it in your inventory/host_vars/HOST.yaml host files. To include it directly in inventory, the format looks a little different.

bigip5 ansible_host= ansible_python_interpreter=/opt/envs/my-venv/bin/python

In the above example, a single BIG-IP named bigip5 is specified. It is a member of the f5-cli group, and has a host address of It also has an ansible_python_interpreter set to /opt/envs/my-venv/bin/python. When Ansible is run, this host will use a different python binary than what comes installed on the system. This is, similarly, how a virtualenv’s Python interpreter would be specified.

Install modules

Refer to the documentation on :ref:`installing the modules here <installunstable>`_.

This is useful if you want to run the latest/development version of the F5 modules for Ansible.

If you are using Ansible 2.4.0 or later you may want to skip this step.

Upgrade Ansible

If you need to upgrade Ansible (i.e., from 2.3.0 to 2.4.0), you can run the following command:

(myansible) $ pip install --upgrade ansible

Install the latest development version of Ansible and F5 modules

The following example shows how to install the latest development version of Ansible and the F5 Modules for Ansible.


This is an unsupported example. Use only if you want to use experimental/unstable features and/or contribute code/tests.

mkdir f5-ansible-devel
cd f5-ansible-devel
virtualenv ansibledev
. ansibledev/bin/activate
pip install git+git://
ansible-galaxy install f5devcentral.f5ansible