Salt, a new approach to infrastructure management, is easy enough to get
running in minutes, scalable enough to manage tens of thousands of servers,
and fast enough to communicate with those servers in seconds.
Salt delivers a dynamic communication bus for infrastructures that can be used
for orchestration, remote execution, configuration management and much more.
Salt source releases are available for download via the following PyPI link:
The installation document, found in the following link, outlines where to
obtain packages and installation specifics for platforms:
The Salt Bootstrap project, found in the following repository, is a single
shell script, which automates the install correctly on multiple platforms:
This walkthrough helps individuals to get started quickly and gain a
foundational knowledge of Salt:
Official Salt Walkthrough
The following getting started tutorials are also available:
- States - Configuration Management with Salt:
- Masterless Quickstart:
- Salt Quickstart
- A list of all tutorials can be found here:
- All Salt tutorials
Salt in depth
While setting up, and using, Salt is a simple task, its capabilities run much
deeper. These documents provide a greater understanding of how Salt
empowers infrastructure management.
Running pre-defined or arbitrary commands on remote hosts, also known as
remote execution, is the core function of Salt. The following links explore
modules and returners, which are two key elements of remote execution.
Salt modules, fundamental to remote execution, provide
functionality such as installing packages, restarting a service,
running a remote command, transferring files, and so on.
- Full list of modules
- Contains: a list of core modules that ship with Salt.
- Writing modules
- Contains: a guide on how to write Salt modules.
Salt returners allow saving minion responses in various datastores, or
to various locations, in addition to displaying the responses at the CLI.
Returners can be used to extend Salt to communicate with new, or custom,
interfaces and to support new databases.
- Full list of returners
- Contains: list of returner modules used to store minion responses
in Redis, Mongo, Cassandra, SQL, and others.
- Writing returners
- Contains: instructions for writing returner modules.
Use targeting to specify which minions should
execute commands and manage server configuration. The following links provide
additional information about targeting and matching minions.
- Globbing and regex
- Match minions using globbing and regular expressions.
- Match minions using grains, which are bits of static information about the
minion such as OS, software version, virtualization, CPU, memory, and so on.
- Match minions using user-defined variables.
- Subnet/IP Address
- Match minions by subnet or IP address (currently IPv4 only).
- Compound matching
- Combine any of the above matchers into a single expression.
- Node groups
- Statically define groups of minions in the master config file using the
compound matching syntax.
- Batching execution
- Loop through all matching minions so that only a subset are executing a
command at one time.
Salt contains a robust and flexible configuration management framework, which
is built on the remote execution core. This framework executes on the minions,
allowing effortless, simultaneous configuration of tens of thousands of hosts,
by rendering language specific state files. The following links provide
resources to learn more about state and renderers.
Express the state of a host using small, easy to read, easy to
understand configuration files. No programming required.
- Full list of states
- Contains: list of install packages, create users, transfer files, start
services, and so on.
- Pillar System
- Contains: description of Salt's Pillar system.
- States Overview
- Contains: an overview of states and some of the core components.
- Highstate data structure
- Contains: a dry vocabulary and technical representation of the
configuration format that states represent.
- Writing states
- Contains: a guide on how to write Salt state modules, easily extending
Salt to directly manage more software.
Renderers use state configuration files written in a variety of languages,
templating engines, or files. Salt's configuration management system is,
under the hood, language agnostic.
- Full list of renderers
- Contains: a list of renderers.
YAML is one choice, but many systems are available, from
alternative templating engines to the PyDSL language for rendering
- Contains: more information about renderers. Salt states are only
concerned with the ultimate highstate data structure, not how the
data structure was created.
The following links explore various Salt topics in depth.
- Salt Cloud
- Salt Cloud is a public cloud provisioning tool that integrates Salt with
many cloud providers.
- File Server
- Salt can easily and quickly transfer files (in fact, that's how Salt
states work). Even under heavy load, files are chunked and served.
- Syndic is a tool to allow one master host to manage many masters, which
in turn manage many minions. Scale Salt to tens of thousands of hosts or
across many different networks.
- Peer Communication
- Allow minions to communicate among themselves. For example, configure
one minion by querying live data from all the others.
- Reactor System
- The reactor system allows for Salt to create a self aware environment
by hooking infrastructure events into actions.
- Firewall Settings and Salt
- This is a tutorial covering how to properly firewall a Salt Master server.
- Scheduling Executions (like states)
- The schedule system in Salt allows for executions to be run from the master
or minion at automatic intervals.
- Network topology
- At it's core, Salt is a highly scalable communication layer built on
top of ZeroMQ, which enables remote execution and configuration
management. The possibilities are endless and Salt's future looks
- Testing Salt
- This is a tutorial for writing unit tests and integration tests.
- Salt Proxy Minions
- Proxy minions allow for the control of devices and machines which are
unable to run a salt-minion.
- Python API interface
- The Python API allows the developer to use Salt locally from scripts and
programs easily via import salt.
- External API interfaces
- Expose a Salt API such as REST, XMPP, WebSockets, or others using netapi
modules. Run these modules using the salt-api daemon.
See the full list of netapi modules.
- Automatic Updates and Frozen Binary Deployments
- Use a frozen install to make deployments easier (even on Windows!). Or
take advantage of automatic updates to keep minions running the latest
- Windows Software Manager / Package Repository
- Looking for an easy way to manage software on Windows machines?
Search no more! Salt has an integrated software package manager for
Windows machines! Install software hosted on the master, anywhere on the
network, including any HTTP, HTTPS, or ftp server.
See here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.