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Ansible Deployment for InCommon COmanage Registry Training

This repository contains the necessary Ansible and other files for deploying the InCommon COmanage Registry Training environment.

The primary Ansible playbook when run will create

  • a AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) with the name comanage_training. All infrastructure is created within the VPC and can be deprovisioned by deleting the VPC.

  • an internet gateway (IG) to connect the VPC to the internet.

  • public and private subnets within the VPC.

  • NATs to allow virtual machines in the private subnets to open connections to the internet (e.g. to execute yum update).

  • appropriate security groups.

  • SSH bastion hosts (one per public subnet).

  • a host for a Shibboleth IdP. The IdP is deployed using the TAP image and a Docker Swarm service stack (compose) file, and includes an LDAP server pre-populated with user accounts for SAML authentication.

  • N hosts for trainees. Each host is a single-node Docker Swarm pre-populated with most details necessary for deploying COmanage Registry using the TAP image.

  • Target groups and an application load balancer (ALB) that terminates TLS and is configured to route web traffic to the IdP and the COmanage Registry hosts.

  • Route53 DNS configurations so that the IdP and the training nodes can all be easily reached.


There are no unencrypted secrets in this repository. All secrets, including SAML keys, are encrypted using the Ansible vault tooling. Refer to the Ansible documentation for details on how to manage the encrypted files and strings.


You will need to have an AWS access key and AWS secret access key provisioned by an administrator for the internet2-training AWS account.

You will need to have the Ansible vault password used with this ansible deployment.

You will need to have the AWS-Trng-1.pem (or other approved key) used for the initial login access to virtual machines.

You will need to use the AWS Console to access the Certificate Manager and provision (or renew) an X.509 wildcard certificate for the domain *

Set up Environment

To set up the environment for ansible the first time:

git clone
cd comanage-registry-training-ansible
python3 -m venv .
source bin/activate
pip install --upgrade pip
pip install ansible==5.10.0
pip install boto
pip install boto3
ansible-galaxy collection install
ansible-galaxy collection install
ansible-galaxy collection install community.docker
cp /path/to/AWS-Trng-1.pem .

Some ansible files are encrypted using ansible-vault. When running a playbook ansible needs to be able to find the password for the vault.

Create a file to hold the vault password, e.g.

touch ./.vault_pass.txt
chmod 600 ./.vault_pass.txt

Find the vault password and enter it into the file you just created.

Initialization Before Running Playbooks

Do this each time to run ansible commands or playbooks to set up the environment:

cd comanage-registry-training-ansible
source bin/activate

export ANSIBLE_CONFIG=`pwd`/ansible.cfg
export ANSIBLE_INVENTORY=`pwd`/aws_ec2.yml
export ANSIBLE_SSH_ARGS="-F `pwd`/ssh_config -C -o ControlMaster=auto -o ControlPersist=3600s"
export ANSIBLE_VAULT_PASSWORD_FILE=`pwd`/.vault_pass.txt

export AWS_REGION=us-west-2

ssh-add ./AWS-Trng-1.pem


Most of the configurable details, including the number of training nodes to deploy, are set in the file


Review that file before running the playbook.

Changing Training Password

The password used by trainees for SSH, authenticating to the IdP, and for configuring the COmanage LDAP Provisioner is also set in the file group_vars/all.yml.

Once you have determined the password, use the following command to generate the encrypted version to paste into that file:

ansible-vault encrypt_string 'PASSWORD' --name comanage_training_password

Provision the COmanage Training Infrastructure

To provision the infrastructure execute the playbook:

ansible-playbook comanage_registry_training.yml

Note: After increasing the number of training nodes, you must restart the IdP service by doing

docker service update --force idp_shibboleth-idp

To reconfigure only the training nodes once they have already been provisioned:

ansible-playbook training_nodes.yml --tags training_nodes

To get a list of inventory after provisioning (helpful to obtain mappings to use with --limit to target specific nodes):

ansible-inventory --list

To reconfigure one specific node, for example

ansible-playbook \
    training_nodes.yml \
    --tags training_nodes \
    --limit tag_public_fqdn_node4_comanage_incommon_training

To force an update of the COmanage Registry services stack file:

ansible-playbook \
    training_nodes.yml \
    --tags update_stack_file \
    -e force_update_stack_file=yes

To force an update of the LDIF used by training node LDAP:

ansible-playbook \
    training_nodes.yml \
    --tags update_structure_ldif_file \
    -e force_update_structure_ldif_file=yes

SSH Access

Trainers may use their provisioned SSH keys to access all nodes. Each trainer has a dedicated account on each node.

Trainees may SSH using the account training and the provisioned password.

Begin by logging into the bastion node, e.g.

$ ssh's password: 
Last login: Thu Nov  7 15:12:40 2019 from some/host
[training@ssh ~]$

From there each trainee may SSH into their assigned host:

[training@ssh ~]$ ssh node1-private
training@node1-private's password: 
Last login: Thu Nov  7 17:43:27 2019 from
[training@node1-private ~]$

Only trainers may SSH into the IdP node:

skoranda@paprika:~$ ssh -A
Last login: Thu Nov  7 15:01:48 2019 from
[skoranda@ssh ~]$ ssh login-private
Last login: Thu Nov  7 17:43:56 2019 from

Deploying the IdP

The Ansible tooling does not automatically start the IdP service stack. To start the stack log into the IdP node and execute

docker stack deploy --compose-file /opt/shibboleth-idp-stack.yml idp

Note: After increasing the number of training nodes, you must restart the IdP service by doing

docker service update --force idp_shibboleth-idp

Useful Docker Swarm commands for the IdP node are

docker stack ls

docker service ls

docker service ps idp_shibboleth-idp

docker service ps idp_ldap

docker service logs -f idp_shibboleth-idp

docker service logs -f idp_ldap

docker stack rm idp

Deploying COmanage Registry

Each trainee is expected to SSH to the bastion host and then to their assigned node. In the home directory for the training user the trainee will find the Docker Swarm services stack (compose) file for deploying COmanage Registry, a MariaDB database, and an LDAP server.

Before deploying the service stack the trainee must first, as an exercise, create some Docker Swarm secrets (see the training materials for details). Most secrets have been pre-populated using Ansible to save time, but the trainee is expected to create a few secrets.

Once successfully deployed, COmanage Registry is available at the URL

for node 1, and

for node 2, and so on.

Fixing a bad bootstrap

Trainees that do not follow the instructions closely may bootstrap COmanage Registry with a configuration that does not allow them to authenticate as the platform administrator. When that happens follow these steps on the training node as the root user:

  1. sudo docker stack rm comanage
  2. sudo cd /srv/docker/var/lib/mysql
  3. sudo rm -rf ./*
  4. sudo cd /srv/docker/srv/comanage-registry/local/Config
  5. sudo rm -rf ./*

Then tell the user to correct the error in the stack file and try again.

Interference from existing SSH agent

If you find that your existing SSH agent is interfering with the SSH connections used by ansible, it might help to start with a fresh agent when you begin your work for the say:

cd comanage-registry-training-ansible
rm ./ssh_mux_*
eval `ssh-agent -s`
ssh-add ./AWS-Trng-1.pem


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