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Awx - Give a Project a Custom Virtual Env

AWX How to give a Project a Custom VirtualEnv in the container based Install#

AWX no longer uses custom venvs and now uses execution environments see moving to execution environments or execution environments docs

When you create a new project on AWX you get the following screen

AWX new project no custom environments

It does not have the Ansible Environment field as no custom environments are setup.

Sometimes certain playbooks need extra dependencies that don’t make sense to setup in the default ansible virtual environment

So let us try and set it up. I will be using the AWX documentation on setting up custom venvs

Our AWX instance was installed with the docker compose method and hence it is running in containers.

You will see the following contianers:

docker ps

CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                        COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                                                 NAMES
351190a1796b        postgres:9.6                 "docker-entrypoint.s…"   11 months ago       Up 24 hours         5432/tcp                                              postgres
eaaa7c833053        ansible/awx_task:3.0.1       "/tini -- /bin/sh -c…"   11 months ago       Up 24 hours         8052/tcp                                              awx_task
dfa79d5a48d7        ansible/awx_web:3.0.1        "/tini -- /bin/sh -c…"   11 months ago       Up 24 hours>8052/tcp                                  awx_web
517f39e0d8d0        memcached:alpine             "docker-entrypoint.s…"   11 months ago       Up 24 hours         11211/tcp                                             memcached
f16b15845a94        ansible/awx_rabbitmq:3.7.4   "docker-entrypoint.s…"   11 months ago       Up 24 hours         4369/tcp, 5671-5672/tcp, 15671-15672/tcp, 25672/tcp   rabbitmq

The one we are focused on is ansible/awx_task

So let’s get into that docker container:

docker exec -it awx_task /bin/bash

we are in the /var/lib/awx folder and can see the venv folder in this directory

[root@awx awx]# pwd

The recommendation is to create the venv in /opt

So lets go there and create the folder:

cd /opt
mkdir custom_venvs

You then need to tell awx the directory to look in for custom venvs:

HTTP PATCH /api/v2/settings/system/ {'CUSTOM_VENV_PATHS': ["/opt/custom_venvs/"]}

Now create the venv in that folder

cd /opt/custom_venvs
python3 -m venv vdc_venv

Now install dependencies

source /opt/custom_venvs/vdc_venv/bina/activate
pip install psutil
pip install -U "ansible == 2.9.1"
pip install -r requirements.txt

Oops You can’t actually install stuff because the container doesn’t have gcc

distutils.errors.CompileError: command 'gcc' failed with exit status 1

So what you have to do is install yum install -y gcc in the container - like a maniac. Whoops…it still does not work.

So tried without psutils:

pip install -U "ansible == 2.7.6"

Finally found that the way to do it was add the venv to both the awx_task and awx_web containers in the /var/lib/awx/venv folder and then they will just pick up.

Thanks to this stackoverflow answer for that

It is still a fuckup though…cause my playbook needed a python 3 interpreter and it errored out woth:

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/usr/local/bin/ansible", line 30, in <module>
    import shutil
File "/usr/lib64/python3.6/", line 10, in <module>
    import fnmatch
File "/usr/lib64/python3.6/", line 14, in <module>
    import re
File "/usr/lib64/python3.6/", line 142, in <module>
    class RegexFlag(enum.IntFlag):
AttributeError: module 'enum' has no attribute 'IntFlag'

when I set

ansible_python_interpreter: /usr/bin/python3

on the host

Maybe we can create the environment on the host and mount it into the container (just need to ensure the python version is correct)

Python 3.6.6 (default, Aug 13 2018, 18:24:23)

On second thought - fuck it....too much work

I’m just going to install the dependencies on the local env

Now you are done

Please note this does not have persistence. If you destroy your container the venv will disappear and you have to recreate.

Ideally the custom venv setup should be part of the deployment process

Update: Use the custom_venv_dir Variable#

In your awx deployment inventory there is a variable called: custom_venv_dir

If you set that (only works on a local install)…the custom venv directory will be created on the host and bind mounted into the relevant docker containers:


custom_venv_dir: '/opt/awx-custom-venvs/'

Now you can createa an manage your venv on the host and it will be mirrored into the containers.

You still need to assign the virtualenv to the org

Easiest to do form the browsable API:

Go to v2/settings/system/ and patch:


Actually the easiest is to just go to Setting -> System on the frontend and set it.