Ansible tor hidden node deployment

(C)2015 Dwight A. Spencer


As part of a research project into distributed computing, I needed a way to manage the grid no matter if it was deployed to AWS, OpenStack, COTS PC, Pi Cluster, or any other system.

Since I plan on deploying this within the spirit of Beowulf clustering and a few AWS free tier tiny instances. I chose to use ansible to manage nodes and distribute the batch processes. However given that both mDNS and DNS would not always available the choice of using Tor hidden nodes as a way of accessing the grid proved to be invaluable.

Thus, this project is born to document the process to set up a cluster of hidden nodes and manage them via ansible.


  • Create a small computational grid accessable only via ssh with pubkeys
  • Allow only darknet access to nodes
  • Administrate and distribute batch jobs in parallel across the grid
  • Administrate and distribute batch jobs in serial across individual nodes
  • Must be simple enough that this can run on any Virtualized Hosting, COTS PC, and/or a cluster of Raspberry Pi machines.


Installation is very easy from the controlling node and the end nodes. Trystack was choisen for the test but can just as easily been done thorough EC2. The process of launching instances is documented else where and in future revisions may include both the cli and gui versions of starting for both EC2 and OpenStack.

First to start with is ansible. From a command line execute:

easy_install pip && pip install ansible

Once this step has completed execute:

git clone && cd ansible-tor ansible-playbook main.yml -i hosts stack


Be sure to list the IP addresses of each node to install tor on. From there use torify/torsocks with ansible-playbook to administrate and interact with nodes via their hidden service name.