Dockerfile with Packer and Ansible Installed

Posted by Miguel Lopez on Tue 06 June 2023 in tutorials

Technical Stack: Docker, Packer, Ansible


The goal of this tutorial is to create a Docker Image with Packer and Ansible installed.

This image can be used to execute Packer and Ansible builds in a CI/CD pipeline.

Create Dockerfile

Create a file named Dockerfile with the following contents:

FROM hashicorp/packer

USER root

RUN apk add -v --update --no-cache aws-cli ansible jq openssh bash curl py3-boto3 sudo

# Copy Packer Arifacts
COPY . .

# Clean up apt
RUN rm -rf /tmp/* && \
    rm -rf /var/cache/apk/* && \
    rm -rf /var/tmp/*

Sample Packer HCL File

This Dockerfile is optimized to help you run Packer builds with the ansible provisioner. Something similar to the build section below:

source "amazon-ebs" "ubuntu" {

build {
  name = "packer-build"
  sources = [

  provisioner "ansible" {
    user = "ubuntu"
    playbook_file = "./playbook.yml"
    ansible_env_vars = ["ANSIBLE_PIPELINING=true", "ANSIBLE_SSH_PIPELINING=true"]
    use_proxy = false
    extra_arguments = [
      "--become", "--become-method=sudo"

Build Docker Image and Run Locally

You can run the following command to build your Docker Image locally:

docker build -t packer-ansible .

You can run the following command to execute your Packer + Ansible build:

docker run --rm -it \
  --env-file ~/.aws/credentials \
  packer-ansible build base-images.pkr.hcl

--env-file is optional for passing AWS credentials to your Docker container.

Using Image in CI/CD

We use these images to speed up our automated packer builds. Otherwise, it will take you long time to install packer + ansible on every build.

Here is an example of CircleCI config that uses this image:

    description: >
      Build Packer base AMIs.
    resource_class: small
      - image:
          aws_access_key_id: $AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID
          aws_secret_access_key: $AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY
      - checkout
      - run:
          name: Build AMI
          no_output_timeout: 30m
          command: |
            packer init base-images.pkr.hcl
            packer validate base-images.pkr.hcl
            packer build base-images.pkr.hcl