Remote execution tutorial

Before continuing make sure you have a working Salt installation by following the Installation and the configuration instructions.


There are many ways to get help from the Salt community including our mailing list and our IRC channel #salt.

Order your minions around

Now that you have a master and at least one minion communicating with each other you can perform commands on the minion via the salt command. Salt calls are comprised of three main components:

salt '<target>' <function> [arguments]

See also

salt manpage


The target component allows you to filter which minions should run the following function. The default filter is a glob on the minion id. For example:

salt '*'
salt '*'

Targets can be based on minion system information using the Grains system:

salt -G 'os:Ubuntu'

See also

Grains system

Targets can be filtered by regular expression:

salt -E 'virtmach[0-9]'

Targets can be explicitly specified in a list:

salt -L 'foo,bar,baz,quo'

Or Multiple target types can be combined in one command:

salt -C 'G@os:Ubuntu and webser* or E@database.*'


A function is some functionality provided by a module. Salt ships with a large collection of available functions. List all available functions on your minions:

salt '*' sys.doc

Here are some examples:

Show all currently available minions:

salt '*'

Run an arbitrary shell command:

salt '*' 'uname -a'


Space-delimited arguments to the function:

salt '*' cmd.exec_code python 'import sys; print sys.version'

Optional, keyword arguments are also supported:

salt '*' pip.install salt timeout=5 upgrade=True

They are always in the form of kwarg=argument.