Getting Started With Saltify

The Saltify driver is a driver for installing Salt on existing machines (virtual or bare metal).


The Saltify driver has no external dependencies.


Because the Saltify driver does not use an actual cloud provider host, it can have a simple provider configuration. The only thing that is required to be set is the driver name, and any other potentially useful information, like the location of the salt-master:

# Note: This example is for /etc/salt/cloud.providers file or any file in
# the /etc/salt/cloud.providers.d/ directory.

    master: 111.222.333.444
  driver: saltify

However, if you wish to use the more advanced capabilities of salt-cloud, such as rebooting, listing, and disconnecting machines, then the salt master must fill the role usually performed by a vendor's cloud management system. The salt master must be running on the salt-cloud machine, and created nodes must be connected to the master.

Additional information about which configuration options apply to which actions can be studied in the Saltify Module documentation and the Miscellaneous Salt Cloud Options document.


Saltify requires a separate profile to be configured for each machine that needs Salt installed [1]. The initial profile can be set up at /etc/salt/cloud.profiles or in the /etc/salt/cloud.profiles.d/ directory. Each profile requires both an ssh_host and an ssh_username key parameter as well as either an key_filename or a password.

[1]Unless you are using a map file to provide the unique parameters.

Profile configuration example:

# /etc/salt/cloud.profiles.d/saltify.conf

  ssh_username: root
  key_filename: '/etc/salt/mysshkey.pem'
  provider: my-saltify-config

The machine can now be "Salted" with the following command:

salt-cloud -p salt-this-machine my-machine

This will install salt on the machine specified by the cloud profile, salt-this-machine, and will give the machine the minion id of my-machine. If the command was executed on the salt-master, its Salt key will automatically be accepted by the master.

Once a salt-minion has been successfully installed on the instance, connectivity to it can be verified with Salt:

salt my-machine test.version

Destroy Options

New in version 2018.3.0.

For obvious reasons, the destroy action does not actually vaporize hardware. If the salt master is connected, it can tear down parts of the client machines. It will remove the client's key from the salt master, and can execute the following options:

- remove_config_on_destroy: true
  # default: true
  # Deactivate salt-minion on reboot and
  # delete the minion config and key files from its "/etc/salt" directory,
  #   NOTE: If deactivation was unsuccessful (older Ubuntu machines) then when
  #   salt-minion restarts it will automatically create a new, unwanted, set
  #   of key files. Use the "force_minion_config" option to replace them.

- shutdown_on_destroy: false
  # default: false
  # last of all, send a "shutdown" command to the client.

Wake On LAN

New in version 2018.3.0.

In addition to connecting a hardware machine to a Salt master, you have the option of sending a wake-on-LAN magic packet to start that machine running.

The "magic packet" must be sent by an existing salt minion which is on the same network segment as the target machine. (Or your router must be set up especially to route WoL packets.) Your target machine must be set up to listen for WoL and to respond appropriately.

You must provide the Salt node id of the machine which will send the WoL packet (parameter wol_sender_node), and the hardware MAC address of the machine you intend to wake, (parameter wake_on_lan_mac). If both parameters are defined, the WoL will be sent. The cloud master will then sleep a while (parameter wol_boot_wait) to give the target machine time to boot up before we start probing its SSH port to begin deploying Salt to it. The default sleep time is 30 seconds.

# /etc/salt/cloud.profiles.d/saltify.conf

  ssh_username: root
  key_filename: '/etc/salt/mysshkey.pem'
  provider: my-saltify-config
  wake_on_lan_mac: '00:e0:4c:70:2a:b2'  # found with ifconfig
  wol_sender_node: bevymaster  # its on this network segment
  wol_boot_wait: 45  # seconds to sleep

Using Map Files

The settings explained in the section above may also be set in a map file. An example of how to use the Saltify driver with a map file follows:

# /etc/salt/saltify-map

  - my-instance-0:
      ssh_username: root
      password: very-bad-password
  - my-instance-1:
      ssh_username: root
      password: another-bad-pass

Note: When using a cloud map with the Saltify driver, the name of the profile to use, in this case make_salty, must be defined in a profile config. For example:

# /etc/salt/cloud.profiles.d/saltify.conf

  provider: my-saltify-config

The machines listed in the map file can now be "Salted" by applying the following salt map command:

salt-cloud -m /etc/salt/saltify-map

This command will install salt on the machines specified in the map and will give each machine their minion id of my-instance-0 and my-instance-1, respectively. If the command was executed on the salt-master, its Salt key will automatically be signed on the master.

Connectivity to the new "Salted" instances can now be verified with Salt:

salt 'my-instance-*'

Credential Verification

Because the Saltify driver does not actually create VM's, unlike other salt-cloud drivers, it has special behaviour when the deploy option is set to False. When the cloud configuration specifies deploy: False, the Saltify driver will attept to authenticate to the target node(s) and return True for each one that succeeds. This can be useful to verify ports, protocols, services and credentials are correctly configured before a live deployment.

Return values:
  • True: Credential verification succeeded
  • False: Credential verification succeeded
  • None: Credential verification was not attempted.