How to Install Tomcat on Ubuntu 20.04 using Ansible

Apache Tomcat is often used as an application server for strictly web-based applications. It basically executes Java servlets and renders web pages that include JSP coding.

Manual installation on Tomcat is time-consuming. Using Ansible we can easily automate the installation process.

In this tutorial we learn how to install Tomcat on Ubuntu 20.04 using Ansible.


Here we are going to use:

  • One control node - where we are going to install and configure the ansible. From the control node, we are going to start the Ansible playbook to install Tomcat 9.
  • You need to have an open SSH connection to the remote host.
  • One host node - where ansible will install and start Tomcat 9.
  • Both the control node and host have private IP addresses and both machines are Ubuntu 20.04

Installing Ansible on Control Node on Ubuntu 20.04

First, update you system with the standard command:

$ sudo apt update

After update install ansible running the following command:

$ sudo apt install ansible -y

To verify where the ansible is installed and located run the command:

$ which ansible

You should see something like this:

Ansible fileystem location
Ansible filesystem location

If you list a directory in /usr/bin

$ ls /usr/bin

You will find Ansible installed packages:

Ansible installed packages in /usr/bin
Ansible installed packages

To verify the version of installed Ansible run the command:

$ ansible --version

You would get output something like this:

ansible 2.9.6
config file = /etc/ansible/ansible.cfg
configured module search path = ['/root/.ansible/plugins/modules', '/usr/share/ansible/plugins/modules']
ansible python module location = /usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/ansible
executable location = /usr/bin/ansible
python version = 3.8.5 (default, Jan 27 2021, 15:41:15) [GCC 9.3.0]

As you can see besides the ansible version you will also get:

  • Where is placed the ansible config file
  • Where is placed configured search path and modules
  • Where is the ansible python module location
  • Executable location and python version

The main configuration file is stored in /etc/ansible/hosts file.

You need to add your localhost or server IP to the file, or if you have a private IP address, you need to add it.

Open the hosts file with your favorite editor:

$ sudo nano /etc/anisble/hosts

You will see the hosts configuration file, something like this:

Ansible hosts configuration in /etc/ansible/hosts
File /etc/ansible/hosts

As you can see there is a section that belongs in the #Ex 1 section, add there your remote host IP address without # expression.

Next, to verify that you have host with this IP's address run the following command:

$ sudo  ansible all -i hosts --list-hosts

You will get the list of hosts, something like this output in the image:

Output of Ansible hosts
List of anisble hosts

The next step is to add the Public SSH key from Ansible control node to the remote host machine.
This step is essential to allow Ansible to install Tomcat on a remote server.

Generate your ssh keys by the following command:

$ sudo ssh-keygen

After generating keys you will see where are keys stored. For us is now only important the public key.

Generating SSH kyps
Genereted SSH keys

Now we need to copy the public key to a server. Remember that we are doing this because we need to allow Ansible to install Tomcat to the remote server from the Control node.

NOTE: Only the public key is copied to the server. The private key should never be copied to another machine.

Use a command like the following to copy SSH key:

$ sudo ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/ linoxide@

Where are the user=linoxide and host=IP address for SSH remote login.

After copy the key to the remote machine you will need to enter your password for remote ssh connection.

Now everything is set and ready to run ansible-playbook.

Install Tomcat 9 on remote host node using Ansible

Now go to /etc/ansible and create a file there called tomcat-setup.yaml. You can see and copy the file from the Github repo:

- name: install tomcat server
  hosts: all
  become: true

  - name: Install OpenJDK
      name: openjdk-11-jre-headless

  - name: download tomcat server packages
      dest: /usr/local

  - name: extract tomcat packages
      src: /usr/local/apache-tomcat-9.0.44.tar.gz
      dest: /usr/local
      remote_src: yes

  - name: start tomcat services
    shell: nohup /usr/local/apache-tomcat-9.0.44/bin/

As you can see from the tomcat-setup.yaml file there are four tasks:

1) Install OpenJDK
2) Download Tomcat Server packages and puts them in the destination place.
3) Extract Tomcat packages, from source to destination place.
4) Start Tomcat service with help of script

Start the ansible-playbook with the command:

$ sudo ansible-playbook -i hosts tomcat-setup.yaml

You will see something like this output:

Ansible tomcat-setup.yaml output status
ansible tomcat-setup.yaml status

After checking that everything is okay. Go to your remote host machine and verify that JAVA is installed and check if Tomcat service is running with these commands:

$ sudo java -version


java version on remote host
java version on remote host

And check to see if Tomcat 9 is properly downloaded and started with the command:

$ ps -ef | grep tomcat


Tomcat service status
tomcat service status on remote host

Visit the server URL on port 8080 to test Tomcat 9 installation and configuration.

Tomcat web server:


Tomcat web application manager dashboard:


Tomcat virtual host manager dashboard:


You should now be able to deploy your application to the Tomcat 9 server running on Ubuntu 20.04 Linux machine.


In this tutorial, we learned how to install Tomcat 9 using Ansible on the remote node. This was an example of how to install a Tomcat server on a single host node from the control node. With Ansible you can install as many Tomcat servers as you want on as many host nodes as you want.

Leave a Comment