How to Install Saltstack Master and Minion on Debian 11

SaltStack is a free, open-source, and Python-based automation and configuration management software. It is a command-line tool that helps you to manage your infrastructure from a central location. SoltStack is made from four components. A brief explanation of each component is shown below:

  • Salt Master acts as a command-line controller for its minions. It is used to control and manage a number of minions.
  • Salt Minions are slave daemons that receive configurations and commands from the master.
  • Formula is configuration management files.
  • Execution is a number of commands and modules that are executed on the minions.

In this article, I will show you how to install SaltStack Master and Minion systems on Debian 11.

Prerequisites

  • Two servers running Debian 11.
  • A root password is configured on the server.

Install Saltstack Master

By default, SaltStack is not included in the Debian 11 default repository. So you will need to add the SaltStack repository to APT. You can add it by running the following command:

curl -fsSL -o /usr/share/keyrings/salt-archive-keyring.gpg https://repo.saltproject.io/py3/debian/11/amd64/latest/salt-archive-keyring.gpg
echo "deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/salt-archive-keyring.gpg arch=amd64] https://repo.saltproject.io/py3/debian/11/amd64/latest bullseye main" | tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/salt.list

Once the repository is added, update the repository cache using the following command:

apt-get update -y

Next, install the required dependencies using the following command:

apt-get install python3 salt-common -y

Next, install the SaltStack master with the following command:

apt-get install salt-master -y

After the successful installation, you can proceed to the next step.

Configure Saltstack Master

Next, you will need to define the bind interface in the SaltSTack configuration file.

nano /etc/salt/master

Change the following line:

interface: 0.0.0.0

Save and close the file then restart the SaltStack master with the following command:

systemctl restart salt-master

You can now verify the status of the SaltStack with the following command:

systemctl status salt-master

You will get the following output:

? salt-master.service - The Salt Master Server
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/salt-master.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Sat 2022-02-12 07:39:48 UTC; 9s ago
       Docs: man:salt-master(1)
             file:///usr/share/doc/salt/html/contents.html
             https://docs.saltproject.io/en/latest/contents.html
   Main PID: 19403 (salt-master)
      Tasks: 32 (limit: 2341)
     Memory: 201.5M
        CPU: 6.109s
     CGroup: /system.slice/salt-master.service
             ??19403 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-master
             ??19407 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-master
             ??19431 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-master
             ??19434 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-master
             ??19435 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-master
             ??19436 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-master
             ??19437 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-master
             ??19444 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-master
             ??19445 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-master
             ??19446 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-master
             ??19448 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-master
             ??19451 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-master
             ??19454 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-master

Feb 12 07:39:48 debian11 systemd[1]: Starting The Salt Master Server...
Feb 12 07:39:48 debian11 systemd[1]: Started The Salt Master Server.

Once you are finished, you can proceed to the next step.

Install and Configure Saltstack Minion

At this point, SaltStack Master is installed and configured. Now, log in to another machine and add the SaltStack Minion repository with the following command:

curl -fsSL -o /usr/share/keyrings/salt-archive-keyring.gpg https://repo.saltproject.io/py3/debian/11/amd64/latest/salt-archive-keyring.gpg
echo "deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/salt-archive-keyring.gpg arch=amd64] https://repo.saltproject.io/py3/debian/11/amd64/latest bullseye main" | tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/salt.list

Once the repository is added, update the repository cache using the following command:

apt-get update -y

Next, install the SaltStack Minion with the following command:

apt-get install salt-minion -y

After the successful installation, edit the SaltStack Minion configuration file and define the master IP address.

nano /etc/salt/minion

Change the following line:

master: salt-master-ip

Save and close the file when you are finished.

Next, you will need to authenticate the minions using the master’s public fingerprint.

On the Salt Master machine, list all fingerprints using the following command:

salt-key --finger-all

You will get the following output:

Local Keys:
master.pem:  b7:f0:ed:19:bf:e8:e0:9d:c3:9c:a2:09:2c:97:2f:6b:0f:cb:eb:76:3d:d7:d5:a9:7d:0c:3a:60:6e:9f:d7:78
master.pub:  5e:4f:2b:37:41:cc:4b:9c:b0:ed:cb:0a:fb:c7:59:54:5f:11:34:ab:d2:99:96:c1:e7:ef:4d:95:b0:7c:d3:d1

Now, copy the master.pub fingerprint line and add it to the Minion configuration file.

On the Minion machine, edit the configuration file:

nano /etc/salt/minion

Add the master fingerprint as shown below:

master_finger:  '5e:4f:2b:37:41:cc:4b:9c:b0:ed:cb:0a:fb:c7:59:54:5f:11:34:ab:d2:99:96:c1:e7:ef:4d:95:b0:7c:d3:d1'

You will also need to define the name of the Minion:

id: Minion1

Save and close the file then restart the SaltStack Minion using the following command:

systemctl restart salt-minion

You can also verify the status of the SaltStack Minion with the following command:

systemctl status salt-minion

You will get the following output:

? salt-minion.service - The Salt Minion
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/salt-minion.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Sat 2022-02-12 07:46:04 UTC; 7s ago
       Docs: man:salt-minion(1)
             file:///usr/share/doc/salt/html/contents.html
             https://docs.saltproject.io/en/latest/contents.html
   Main PID: 2324 (salt-minion)
      Tasks: 8 (limit: 2341)
     Memory: 59.9M
        CPU: 1.185s
     CGroup: /system.slice/salt-minion.service
             ??2324 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-minion
             ??2326 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-minion
             ??2328 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-minion

Feb 12 07:46:04 debian11 systemd[1]: Starting The Salt Minion...
Feb 12 07:46:04 debian11 systemd[1]: Started The Salt Minion.

You can also check the minion fingerprint using the following command:

salt-call key.finger --local

You will get the following output:

local:
    14:12:ef:33:d2:1e:49:23:7b:a2:74:8d:19:fc:be:5e:6d:a6:57:ec:4f:a9:da:23:69:3f:62:1b:6b:4b:2f:27

On the SaltStack Master machine, match the fingerprint using the following command:

salt-key --finger-all

You will get the following output:

Local Keys:
master.pem:  b7:f0:ed:19:bf:e8:e0:9d:c3:9c:a2:09:2c:97:2f:6b:0f:cb:eb:76:3d:d7:d5:a9:7d:0c:3a:60:6e:9f:d7:78
master.pub:  5e:4f:2b:37:41:cc:4b:9c:b0:ed:cb:0a:fb:c7:59:54:5f:11:34:ab:d2:99:96:c1:e7:ef:4d:95:b0:7c:d3:d1
Unaccepted Keys:
Minion1:  14:12:ef:33:d2:1e:49:23:7b:a2:74:8d:19:fc:be:5e:6d:a6:57:ec:4f:a9:da:23:69:3f:62:1b:6b:4b:2f:27

On the SaltStack Master, accept the Minion using the following command:

salt-key -a Minion1

You will get the following output:

The following keys are going to be accepted:
Unaccepted Keys:
Minion1
Proceed? [n/Y] Y
Key for minion Minion1 accepted.

Now, verify the connection between Master and Minion using the following command:

salt Minion1 test.ping

You will get the following output:

Minion1:
    True

Once you are finished, you can proceed to the next step.

Control Minions from the Master

After the successful connection between Master and Minion. Let's start to execute some commands on the Minions.

Run the following command to list the available disk space on Minion:

salt '*' disk.usage

You will get the following output:

Minion1:
    ----------
    /:
        ----------
        1K-blocks:
            51538400
        available:
            47658628
        capacity:
            4%
        filesystem:
            /dev/sda1
        used:
            1661604
    /dev:
        ----------
        1K-blocks:
            998936
        available:
            998936
        capacity:
            0%
        filesystem:
            udev
        used:
            0
    /dev/shm:
        ----------
        1K-blocks:
            1015232
        available:
            1015152
        capacity:
            1%
        filesystem:
            tmpfs
        used:
            80

To install the Apache package on the Minion, run the following command:

salt Minion1 pkg.install apache2

You will get the following output:

Minion1:
    ----------
    apache2:
        ----------
        new:
            2.4.52-1~deb11u2
        old:
    apache2-bin:
        ----------
        new:
            2.4.52-1~deb11u2
        old:
    apache2-data:
        ----------
        new:
            2.4.52-1~deb11u2
        old:
    apache2-utils:
        ----------
        new:
            2.4.52-1~deb11u2
        old:
    libapr1:
        ----------
        new:
            1.7.0-6+deb11u1
        old:
    libaprutil1:
        ----------
        new:
            1.6.1-5
        old:
    libaprutil1-dbd-sqlite3:
        ----------
        new:
            1.6.1-5
        old:
    libaprutil1-ldap:
        ----------
        new:
            1.6.1-5
        old:

To check the free memory on the Minion, run the following command:

salt '*' cmd.run 'free -m'

You will get the following output:

Minion1:
                   total        used        free      shared  buff/cache   available
    Mem:            1982         140        1392           2         450        1691
    Swap:              0           0           0

Use Salt State File to Manage Minions

State files are also known as configuration management files that is used to configure and manage Minions.

To create a state file, you will need to create the environment base for SaltStack.

mkdir /src/salt

Next, create a state file with the following command:

nano /src/salt/setup.sls

Add the following code to install PHP, UNZIP and Apache package on Minions:

network_utilities: 
 pkg.installed: 
   - pkgs: 
     - php 
     - unzip 

apache2_pkg: 
 pkg.installed: 
   - name: apache2 

apache2_service: 
 service.running: 
   - name: apache2 
   - enable: True 
   - require: 
     - pkg: apache2_pkg

Save and close the file then apply the configuration to all Minions using the following command:

salt '*' state.apply setup

You will get the followig output:

Minion1:
----------
          ID: network_utilities
    Function: pkg.installed
      Result: True
     Comment: The following packages were installed/updated: php, unzip
     Started: 07:51:22.424504
    Duration: 17349.907 ms
     Changes:   
              ----------
              libapache2-mod-php7.4:
                  ----------
                  new:
                      7.4.25-1+deb11u1
                  old:
              php:
                  ----------
                  new:
                      2:7.4+76
                  old:
              php-common:
                  ----------
                  new:
                      2:76
                  old:
              php7.4:
                  ----------
                  new:
                      7.4.25-1+deb11u1
                  old:
              php7.4-cli:
                  ----------
                  new:
                      7.4.25-1+deb11u1
                  old:
              php7.4-common:
                  ----------
                  new:
                      7.4.25-1+deb11u1
                  old:
              php7.4-json:
                  ----------
                  new:
                      7.4.25-1+deb11u1
                  old:
              php7.4-opcache:
                  ----------
                  new:
                      7.4.25-1+deb11u1
                  old:
              php7.4-readline:
                  ----------
                  new:
                      7.4.25-1+deb11u1
                  old:
              psmisc:
                  ----------
                  new:
                      23.4-2
                  old:
              unzip:
                  ----------
                  new:
                      6.0-26
                  old:
----------
          ID: apache2_pkg
    Function: pkg.installed
        Name: apache2
      Result: True
     Comment: All specified packages are already installed
     Started: 07:51:39.780956
    Duration: 1029.457 ms
     Changes:   
----------
          ID: apache2_service
    Function: service.running
        Name: apache2
      Result: True
     Comment: The service apache2 is already running
     Started: 07:51:40.812210
    Duration: 35.61 ms
     Changes:   

Summary for Minion1
------------
Succeeded: 3 (changed=1)
Failed:    0
------------
Total states run:     3
Total run time:  18.415 s

Conclusion

Congratulations! you have successfully installed and configured SaltStack Master and Minion on Debian 11 server. We also explained how to manage Minions using state files and command-line. I hope this will help you to automate and manage your infrastructure from the central location. Feel free to ask me if you have any questions.

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