Last Updated: September 21, 2017
· rebagliatte

Multi stage environments for your Rails apps with Ansible

Here we'll tackle how to setup multi stage environments for your rails apps using Ansible and Capistrano.

We are gonna use this playbook to achieve it.

Provision your servers with Ansible

  1. Create a new server instance using Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on your favorite hosting provider (Linode, Digital Ocean, etc).
  2. Create an SSH alias for your brand new server IP on your ~/.ssh/config file.

    Host my-host-alias
      User root
      IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa

    Replace my-host-alias with the alias you'd like to use and with your server's IP.

  3. Add your SSH keys to the server.

    $ ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/ root@my-host-alias
  4. Install Ansible on your local machine. If you are a mac user you might wanna use brew to do so.

    $ brew install ansible
  5. Clone my ansible-rails repo <3

    $ git clone
    $ cd ansible-rails-app
  6. Copy the variable and inventory files for staging and production to the right locations and update them with your own settings.

    $ cp -a docs/group_vars/. group_vars
    $ cp -a docs/inventories/. .
  7. Make sure Ansible can access staging properly.

    $ ansible -i staging -u root all -m ping
  8. Run the playbook on staging.

    $ ansible-playbook -i staging site.yml -t ruby,user,postgresql,nginx

    The -i modifier specifies the inventory file you'll use. Possible values are staging and production for this repo.
    The -t modifier specifies the tags you'll execute and their order.

  9. Your staging server is all set!!! Once you are ready you can run this over your production servers as well.

    $ ansible-playbook -i production site.yml -t ruby,user,postgresql,nginx

Deploy your app with Capistrano

  1. Create an app.

    $ rails new my-app
  2. Add the rails capistrano gems to your application's Gemfile.

    gem 'puma'
    group :development do
      gem 'capistrano', '~> 3.1.0', require: false
      gem 'capistrano-bundler', '1.1.1', require: false
      gem 'capistrano-rails', '1.1.0', require: false
      gem 'capistrano3-puma', require: false
  3. Install the gems and capify the project.

    $ bundle install
    $ bundle exec cap install
  4. Alter your Capfile to require all the gems you just installed.

    # Load DSL and Setup Up Stages
    require 'capistrano/setup'
    # Includes default deployment tasks
    require 'capistrano/deploy'
    # Includes rails goodies
    require 'capistrano/bundler'
    require 'capistrano/rails/assets'
    require 'capistrano/rails/migrations'
    require 'capistrano/puma'
  5. Alter your config/deploy.rb.

    # config valid only for Capistrano 3.1
    lock '3.2.1'
    set :application, 'my-app'
    set :repo_url, ''
    # Ask for a branch, default one is :master
    ask :branch, proc { `git rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD`.chomp }.call
    # Default deploy_to directory is /var/www/my_app
    set :deploy_to, '/home/deploy/apps/my-app'
    # Default value for :log_level is :debug
    set :log_level, :info
    # Default value for :linked_files is []
    set :linked_files, %w{config/database.yml}
    # Default value for linked_dirs is []
    set :linked_dirs, %w{bin log tmp/pids tmp/cache tmp/sockets vendor/bundle public/system}
    # Set ssh user
    set :user, 'deploy'
    set :ssh_options, {
      user: fetch(:user)
    # For capistrano-puma
    set :puma_init_active_record, true
    # For capistrano-bundler
    set :bundle_path, -> { shared_path.join('vendor','bundle') }
    set :bundle_flags, '--deployment'

    Make sure to replace my-github-user and my-app with your own settings.

  6. Alter deploy/staging.rb.

    application_master = ''
    role :app, application_master
    role :web, application_master
    role :db,  application_master
    set :rails_env, 'staging'
    set :host, ''
    set :keep_releases, 2

    Replace and with your server's IP and host, and change :rails_env to match the file you are altering.

    Do the same for your deploy/production.rb file.

  7. Create a config/environments/staging.rb file based on config/environments/production.rb if you don't have one already in place.

  8. Make sure your database.yml has its staging and production environments in place and the credentials match the ones you specified on your Ansible variables.

    development: &default
      adapter: postgresql
      pool: 5
      timeout: 5000
      host: localhost
      encoding: unicode
      <<: *default
      min_messages: warning
      <<: *default
      <<: *default
  9. Copy this file to your servers.

    $ scp config/database.yml deploy@my-host-alias:/home/deploy/apps/my-app/shared/config/database.yml
  10. Let your servers access your repo by adding deploy keys for each one of them.

    ssh deploy@my-host-alias
    ssh-keygen -t rsa
    cat ~/.ssh/

    Copy your newly generated deploy keys (the output of the last command) and add them as deploy keys on your Github repo.

  11. Deploy staging

    $ cap staging deploy
  12. All set!!! Once you are ready you can deploy production as well with cap production deploy.

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