Profiling Ansible playbooks

At work we have been working on extending our Ansible playbooks to deploy a Hadoop cluster to on-premise hardware. Although not a problem on AWS, when deployed on-premise we’ve faced network latency issues. To aid in investigating the affect of the latency on our playbooks I used the following process to profile time each task took to complete and then transformed the output into a CSV format for easy interrogation.


As per the Ansible profile plugin’s usage instructions enable task profiling in Ansible 2.0+ by adding profile_tasks to the callback_whitelist in the ansible.cfg file.

callback_whitelist = profile_tasks

You’ll then want to configure the plugin using the following environment variables. These will ensure the output includes all the tasks and in the same order:


With the plugin now enabled and configured running the playbook will result in a summary like the one below being appended to the end of the output:

Friday 14 July 12:46:03 +0000 (0:00:00.832)
Wait for instances ---------------------------------------------------- 317.76s
Wait for network interfaces -------------------------------------------- 60.04s
provision instances ----------------------------------------------------- 9.01s
provision cluster security group ---------------------------------------- 3.36s
provision gateway security group ---------------------------------------- 2.48s
provision edgenode security group --------------------------------------- 1.79s
provision edgenode security group --------------------------------------- 0.87s

The summary that’s now output at the end of each run can be converted into a comma-separated values (of task name and duration) with the command:

$ ansible-playbook site.yml -i hosts | egrep '(.+) -{3,} {.+}' | awk -F ' -{3,} ' '{print $1 "," $2}'

Now that the output is in CSV format you can pipe it to a file and interrogate it with your favourite program e.g. using q to query it with SQL-like statements.

wait for instances,317.76s
wait for network interfaces,60.04s
provision instances,9.01s
provision cluster security group,3.36s
provision gateway security group,2.48s
provision edgenode security group,1.79s
provision edgenode security group,0.87s

Using the ‘free’ strategy

If you use the free strategy and intend on comparing the CSV values across multiple executions of the same playbooks you might want to use the sort utility to ensure the task order of the outputs are consistent.

$ ansible-playbook site.yml -i hosts | egrep '(.+) -{3,} {.+}' | awk -F ' -{3,} ' '{print $1 "," $2}' | sort -t, -k1