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A CLI tool for Ansible Tower.

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Welcome to tower-cli

tower-cli is a command line tool for Ansible Tower. It allows Tower commands to be easily run from the Unix command line. It can also be used as a client library for other python apps, or as a reference for others developing API interactions with Tower’s REST API.

About Tower

Ansible Tower is a GUI and REST interface for Ansible that supercharges it by adding RBAC, centralized logging, autoscaling/provisioning callbacks, graphical inventory editing, and more.

Tower is free to use for up to 30 days or 10 nodes. Beyond this, a license is required.


This command line tool sends commands to the Tower API. It is capable of retrieving, creating, modifying, and deleting most objects within Tower.

A few potential uses include:

  • Launching playbook runs (for instance, from Jenkins, TeamCity, Bamboo, etc)
  • Checking on job statuses
  • Rapidly creating objects like organizations, users, teams, and more


Tower CLI is available as a package on PyPI.

The preferred way to install is through pip:

$ pip install ansible-tower-cli

The main branch of this project may also be consumed directly from source.


Configuration can be set in several places: tower-cli can edit its own configuration, or users can directly edit the configuration file.

Set configuration with tower-cli config.

The preferred way to set configuration is with the tower-cli config command. The syntax is:

$ tower-cli config key value

By issuing tower-cli config with no arguments, you can see a full list of configuration options and where they are set.

In most cases, you must set at least three configuration options–host, username, and password–which correspond to the location of your Ansible Tower instance and your credentials to authenticate to Tower.

$ tower-cli config host
$ tower-cli config username leeroyjenkins
$ tower-cli config password myPassw0rd

Write to the config files directly.

The configuration file can also be edited directly. A configuration file is a simple file with keys and values, separated by a colon (:) or by the equality sign (=):

username: admin
password: p4ssw0rd

The locations searched for the configuration file are given below.

File Locations

The order of precedence for configuration file locations is as follows, from least to greatest:

  • internal defaults
  • /etc/tower/tower_cli.cfg (written using tower-cli config --global)
  • ~/.tower_cli.cfg (written using tower-cli config)
  • run-time paramaters


CLI invocation generally follows this format:

$ tower-cli {resource} {action} ...

The “resource” is a type of object within Tower (a noun), such as user, organization, job_template, etc.; resource names are always singular in Tower CLI (so it is tower-cli user, never tower-cli users).

The “action” is the thing you want to do (a verb). Most Tower CLI resources have the following actions–get, list, create, modify, and delete–and have options corresponding to fields on the object in Tower.

Some examples:

# List all users.
$ tower-cli user list

# List all non-superusers
$ tower-cli user list --is-superuser=false

# Get the user with the ID of 42.
$ tower-cli user get 42

# Get the user with the given username.
$ tower-cli user get --username=guido

# Create a new user.
$ tower-cli user create --username=guido --first-name=Guido \
                        --last-name="Van Rossum" \

# Modify an existing user.
# This would modify the first name of the user with the ID of "42" to "Guido".
$ tower-cli user modify 42 --first-name=Guido

# Modify an existing user, lookup by username.
# This would use "username" as the lookup, and modify the first name.
# Which fields are used as lookups vary by resource, but are generally
# the resource's name.
$ tower-cli user modify --username=guido --first-name=Guido

# Delete a user.
$ tower-cli user delete 42

# Launch a job.
$ tower-cli job launch --job-template=144

# Monitor a job.
$ tower-cli job monitor 95

When in doubt, help is available!

$ tower-cli # help
$ tower-cli user --help # resource specific help
$ tower-cli user create --help # command specific help

Specify extra variables.

There are a number of ways to pass extra variables to the Tower server when launching a job:

  • Pass data in a file using the flag --extra-vars="@filename.yml"
  • Include yaml data at runtime with the flag --extra-vars="var: value"
  • A command-line editor automatically pops up when the job template is marked to prompt on launch
  • If the job template has extra variables, these are not over-ridden

These methods can also be combined. For instance, if you give the flag multiple times on the command line, specifying a file in addition to manually giving extra variables, these two sources are combined and sent to the Tower server.

# Launch a job with extra variables from filename.yml, and also a=5
$ tower-cli job launch --job-template=1 --extra-vars="a=5 b=3" \

# Create a job template with that same set of extra variables
$ tower-cli job_template create --name=test_job_template --project=1 \
                                --inventory=1 --playbook=helloworld.yml \
                                --machine-credential=1 --extra-vars="a=5 b=3" \

You may not combine multiple sources when modifying a job template. Whitespace can be used in strings like --extra-vars="a='white space'", and list-valued parameters can be sent as JSON or YAML, but not key=value pairs. For instance, --extra-vars="a: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]" sends the parameter “a” with that list as its value.

SSL warnings

By default tower-cli will raise an error if the SSL certificate of the Tower server cannot be verified. To allow unverified SSL connections, set the config variable verify_ssl to true. To allow it for a single command, add the –insecure flag.

# Disable insecure connection warnings permanently
$ tower-cli config verify_ssl false

# Disable insecure connection warnings for just this command
$ tower-cli job_template list --insecure

Bash script example

If you want an example for a particular case that this README does not cover, the development distribution of tower-cli includes a script that populates the Tower server with fake data using tower-cli commands. These attempt to cover most of the available features and can be found in the folder /docs/examples/.


While Tower is commercially licensed software, tower-cli is an open source project, and contributions are highly encouraged. Specifically, this CLI project is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license. Pull requests and tickets filed in GitHub are welcome.

(C) 2015, Michael DeHaan, and others, Ansible, Inc.

Release History

2.3.2 (2016-07-21)

  • Add RPM specfile and Makefile
  • Tower compatibility fixes
  • Allow scan JTs as an option for “job_type”
  • Add ability to create group as subgroup of another group
  • Add YAML output format against JSON and humanized output formats
  • Add SSL corner case error handling and suggestion
  • Allow resource disassociation with “null”

2.3.1 (2015-12-10)

  • Fixed bug affecting force-on-exists and fail_on_found options
  • Changed extra_vars behavior to be more compliant by re-parsing vars, even when only one source exists
  • Fixed group modify bug, avoid sending unwanted fields in modify requests

2.3.0 (2015-10-20)

  • Fixed an issue where the settings file could be world readable
  • Added the ability to associate a project with an organization
  • Added setting “verify_ssl” to disallow insecure connections
  • Added support for additional cloud credentials
  • Exposed additional options for a cloud inventory source
  • Combined ” launch-time extra_vars” with ” job_template extra_vars” for older Tower versions
  • Changed the extra_vars parameters to align with Ansible parameter handling
  • Added the ability to run ad hoc commands
  • Included more detail when displaying job information
  • Added an example bash script to demonstrate tower-cli usage

2.1.1 (2015-01-27)

  • Added tests for Python versions 2.6 through 3.4
  • Added shields for github README
  • Added job_tags on job launches
  • Added option for project local path

2.1.0 (2015-01-21)

  • Added the ability to customize the set of fields used as options for a resource
  • Expanded monitoring capability to include projects and inventory sources
  • Added support for new job_template job launch endpoint

2.0.2 (2014-10-02)

  • Added ability to set local scope for config file
  • Expanded credential resource to allow options for cloud credentials

2.0.1 (2014-07-18)

  • Updated README and error text

2.0.0 (2014-07-15)

  • Pluggable resource architecture built around click

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