Salt 2014.7.0 Release Notes - Codename Helium

This release is the largest Salt release ever, with more features and commits then any previous release of Salt. Everything from the new RAET transport to major updates in Salt Cloud and the merging of Salt API into the main project.


The Fedora/RHEL/CentOS salt-master package has been modified for this release. The following components of Salt have been broken out and placed into their own packages:

  • salt-syndic
  • salt-cloud
  • salt-ssh

When the salt-master package is upgraded, these components will be removed, and they will need to be manually installed.


Compound/pillar matching have been temporarily disabled for the mine and publish modules for this release due to the possibility of inferring pillar data using pillar glob matching. A proper fix is now in the 2014.7 branch and scheduled for the 2014.7.1 release, and compound matching and non-globbing pillar matching will be re-enabled at that point.

Compound and pillar matching for normal salt commands are unaffected.

New Transport!

RAET Transport Option

This has been a HUGE amount of work, but the beta release of Salt with RAET is ready to go. RAET is a reliable queuing transport system that has been developed in partnership with a number of large enterprises to give Salt an alternative to ZeroMQ and a way to get Salt to scale well beyond tens of thousands of servers. Unlike ZeroMQ, RAET is completely asynchronous in every aspect of its operation and has been developed using the flow programming paradigm. This allows for many new capabilities to be added to Salt in the upcoming releases.

Please keep in mind that this is a beta release of RAET and we hope for bugs to be worked out, performance to be better realized and more in the 2015.5.0 release.

Simply stated, users running Salt with RAET should expect some hiccups as we hammer out the update. This is a BETA release of Salt RAET.

For information about how to use Salt with RAET please see the tutorial.

Salt SSH Enhancements

Salt SSH has just entered a new league, with substantial updates and improvements to make salt-ssh more reliable and easier then ever! From new features like the ansible roster and fileserver backends to the new pypi salt-ssh installer to lowered deps and a swath of bugfixes, salt-ssh is basically reborn!

Install salt-ssh Using pip

Salt-ssh is now pip-installable!

Pip will bring in all of the required deps, and while some deps are compiled, they all include pure python implementations, meaning that any compile errors which may be seen can be safely ignored.

pip install salt-ssh

Fileserver Backends

Salt-ssh can now use the salt fileserver backend system. This allows for the gitfs, hgfs, s3, and many more ways to centrally store states to be easily used with salt-ssh. This also allows for a distributed team to easily use a centralized source.

Saltfile Support

The new saltfile system makes it easy to have a user specific custom extended configuration.

Ext Pillar

Salt-ssh can now use the external pillar system. Making it easier then ever to use salt-ssh with teams.

No More sshpass

Thanks to the enhancements in the salt vt system, salt-ssh no longer requires sshpass to send passwords to ssh. This also makes the manipulation of ssh calls substantially more flexible, allowing for intercepting ssh calls in a much more fluid way.

Pure Python Shim

The salt-ssh call originally used a shell script to discover what version of python to execute with and determine the state of the ssh code deployment. This shell script has been replaced with a pure python version making it easy to increase the capability of the code deployment without causing platform inconsistency issues with different shell interpreters.

Custom Module Delivery

Custom modules are now seamlessly delivered. This makes the deployment of custom grains, states, execution modules and returners a seamless process.

CP Module Support

Salt-ssh now makes simple file transfers easier then ever! The cp module allows for files to be conveniently sent from the salt fileserver system down to systems.

More Thin Directory Options

Salt ssh functions by copying a subset of the salt code, or salt thin down to the target system. In the past this was always transferred to /tmp/.salt and cached there for subsequent commands.

Now, salt thin can be sent to a random directory and removed when the call is complete with the -W option. The new -W option still uses a static location but will clean up that location when finished.

The default salt thin location is now user defined, allowing multiple users to cleanly access the same systems.

State System Enhancements

New Imperative State Keyword "Listen"

The new listen and listen_in keywords allow for completely imperative states by calling the mod_watch() routine after all states have run instead of re-ordering the states.

Mod Aggregate Runtime Manipulator

The new mod_aggregate system allows for the state system to rewrite the state data during execution. This allows for state definitions to be aggregated dynamically at runtime.

The best example is found in the pkg state. If mod_aggregate is turned on, then when the first pkg state is reached, the state system will scan all of the other running states for pkg states and take all other packages set for install and install them all at once in the first pkg state.

These runtime modifications make it easy to run groups of states together. In future versions, we hope to fill out the mod_aggregate system to build in more and more optimizations.

For more documentation on mod_aggregate, see the documentation.

New Requisites: onchanges and onfail

The new onchanges and onchanges_in requisites make a state apply only if there are changes in the required state. This is useful to execute post hooks after changes occur on a system.

The other new requisites, onfail, and onfail_in, allow for a state to run in reaction to the failure of another state.

For more information about these new requisites, see the requisites documentation.

Global onlyif and unless

The onlyif and unless options can now be used for any state declaration.

Use names to expand and override values

The names declaration in Salt's state system can now override or add values to the expanded data structure. For example:

    - names:
      - larry
      - curly
      - moe:
        - shell: /bin/zsh
        - groups:
          - wheel
    - shell: /bin/bash

Major Features

Scheduler Additions

The Salt scheduler system has received MAJOR enhancements, allowing for cron-like scheduling and much more granular timing routines. See here for more info.

Red Hat 7 Family Support

All the needed additions have been made to run Salt on RHEL 7 and derived OSes like CentOS and Scientific.

Fileserver Backends in salt-call

Fileserver backends like gitfs can now be used without a salt master! Just add the fileserver backend configuration to the minion config and execute salt-call. This has been a much-requested feature and we are happy to finally bring it to our users.

Amazon Execution Modules

An entire family of execution modules further enhancing Salt's Amazon Cloud support. They include the following:

LXC Runner Enhancements

BETA The Salt LXC management system has received a number of enhancements which make running an LXC cloud entirely from Salt an easy proposition.

Next Gen Docker Management

The Docker support in Salt has been increased at least ten fold. The Docker API is now completely exposed and Salt ships with Docker data tracking systems which make automating Docker deployments very easy.

Peer System Performance Improvements

The peer system communication routines have been refined to make the peer system substantially faster.


Encryption at rest for configs

GPG Renderer

Encrypted pillar at rest

OpenStack Expansion

Lots of new OpenStack stuff

Queues System

Ran change external queue systems into Salt events

Multi Master Failover Additions

Connecting to multiple masters is more dynamic then ever

Chef Execution Module

Managing Chef with Salt just got even easier!

salt-api Project Merge

The salt-api project has been merged into Salt core and is now available as part of the regular salt-master package install. No API changes were made, the salt-api script and init scripts remain intact.

salt-api has always provided Yet Another Pluggable Interface to Salt (TM) in the form of "netapi" modules. These are modules that bind to a port and start a service. Like many of Salt's other module types, netapi modules often have library and configuration dependencies. See the documentation for each module for instructions.

Synchronous and Asynchronous Execution of Runner and Wheel Modules

salt.runner.RunnerClient and salt.wheel.WheelClient have both gained complimentary cmd_sync and cmd_async methods allowing for synchronous and asynchronous execution of any Runner or Wheel module function, all protected using Salt's external authentication system. salt-api benefits from this addition as well.

rest_cherrypy Additions

The rest_cherrypy netapi module provides the main REST API for Salt.

Web Hooks

This release of course includes the Web Hook additions from the most recent salt-api release, which allows external services to signal actions within a Salt infrastructure. External services such as Amazon SNS, Travis-CI, or GitHub, as well as internal services that cannot or should not run a Salt minion daemon can be used as first-class components in Salt's rich orchestration capabilities.

The raw HTTP request body is now available in the event data. This is sometimes required information for checking an HMAC signature in order to verify a HTTP request. As an example, Amazon or GitHub requests are signed this way.

Generating and Accepting Minion Keys

The /key convenience URL generates a public and private key for a minion, automatically pre-accepts the public key on the Salt Master, and returns both keys as a tarball for download.

This allows for easily bootstrapping the key on a new minion with a single HTTP call, such as with a Kickstart script, all using regular shell tools.

curl -sS \
        -d mid=jerry \
        -d username=kickstart \
        -d password=kickstart \
        -d eauth=pam \
        -o jerry-salt-keys.tar

Fileserver Backend Enhancements

All of the fileserver backends have been overhauled to be faster, lighter, and more reliable. The VCS backends (gitfs, hgfs, and svnfs) have also received a lot of new features.

Additionally, most config parameters for the VCS backends can now be configured on a per-remote basis, allowing for global config parameters to be overridden for a specific gitfs/hgfs/svnfs remote.

New gitfs Features

Pygit2 and Dulwich

In addition to supporting GitPython, support for pygit2 (0.20.3 and newer) and dulwich have been added. Provided a compatible version of pygit2 is installed, it will now be the default provider. The config parameter gitfs_provider has been added to allow one to choose a specific provider for gitfs.


Prior to this release, to serve a file from gitfs at a salt fileserver URL of salt://foo/bar/baz.txt, it was necessary to ensure that the parent directories existed in the repository. A new config parameter gitfs_mountpoint allows gitfs remotes to be exposed starting at a user-defined salt:// URL.

Environment Whitelisting/Blacklisting

By default, gitfs will expose all branches and tags as Salt fileserver environments. Two new config parameters, gitfs_env_whitelist, and gitfs_env_blacklist, allow more control over which branches and tags are exposed. More detailed information on how these two options work can be found in the Gitfs Walkthrough.

Expanded Authentication Support

As of pygit2 0.20.3, both http(s) and SSH key authentication are supported, and Salt now also supports both authentication methods when using pygit2. Keep in mind that pygit2 0.20.3 is not yet available on many platforms, so those who had been using authenticated git repositories with a passphraseless key should stick to GitPython if a new enough pygit2 is not yet available for the platform on which the master is running.

A full explanation of how to use authentication can be found in the Gitfs Walkthrough.

New hgfs Features


This feature works exactly like its gitfs counterpart. The new config parameter is called hgfs_mountpoint.

Environment Whitelisting/Blacklisting

This feature works exactly like its gitfs counterpart. The new config parameters are called hgfs_env_whitelist and hgfs_env_blacklist.

New svnfs Features


This feature works exactly like its gitfs counterpart. The new config parameter is called svnfs_mountpoint.

Environment Whitelisting/Blacklisting

This feature works exactly like its gitfs counterpart. The new config parameters are called svnfs_env_whitelist and svnfs_env_blacklist.

Configurable Trunk/Branches/Tags Paths

Prior to this release, the paths where trunk, branches, and tags were located could only be in directories named "trunk", "branches", and "tags" directly under the root of the repository. Three new config parameters (svnfs_trunk, svnfs_branches, and svnfs_tags) allow SVN repositories which are laid out differently to be used with svnfs.

New minionfs Features


This feature works exactly like its gitfs counterpart. The new config parameter is called minionfs_mountpoint. The one major difference is that, as minionfs doesn't use multiple remotes (it just serves up files pushed to the master using cp.push) there is no such thing as a per-remote configuration for minionfs_mountpoint.

Changing the Saltenv from Which Files are Served

A new config parameter (minionfs_env) allows minionfs files to be served from a Salt fileserver environment other than base.

Minion Whitelisting/Blacklisting

By default, minionfs will expose the pushed files from all minions. Two new config parameters, minionfs_whitelist, and minionfs_blacklist, allow minionfs to be restricted to serve files from only the desired minions.

Pyobjects Renderer

Salt now ships with with the Pyobjects Renderer that allows for construction of States using pure Python with an idiomatic object interface.

New Modules

In addition to the Amazon modules mentioned above, there are also several other new execution modules:

New External Pillars

Salt Call Change

When used with a returner, salt-call now contacts a master if --local is not specicified.



  • Removed deprecated memoize function from salt/utils/ (deprecated)
  • Removed deprecated no_site_packages argument from create function (deprecated)
  • Removed deprecated check_dns argument from minion_config and apply_minion_config functions (deprecated)
  • Removed deprecated OutputOptionsWithTextMixIn class from salt/utils/ (deprecated)
  • Removed the following deprecated functions from salt/modules/ - physical_memory_usage (deprecated) - virtual_memory_usage (deprecated) - cached_physical_memory (deprecated) - physical_memory_buffers (deprecated)
  • Removed deprecated cloud arguments from cloud_config function in salt/ - vm_config (deprecated) - vm_config_path (deprecated)
  • Removed deprecated libcloud_version function from salt/cloud/ (deprecated)
  • Removed deprecated CloudConfigMixIn class from salt/utils/ (deprecated)