The intent of the troubleshooting section is to introduce solutions to a number of common issues encountered by users and the tools that are available to aid in developing States and Salt code.

Troubleshooting the Salt Minion

In the event that your Salt minion is having issues, a variety of solutions and suggestions are available. Please refer to the following links for more information:

Running in the Foreground

A great deal of information is available via the debug logging system, if you are having issues with minions connecting or not starting run the minion and/or master in the foreground:

salt-master -l debug
salt-minion -l debug

Anyone wanting to run Salt daemons via a process supervisor such as monit, runit, or supervisord, should omit the -d argument to the daemons and run them in the foreground.

What Ports do the Master and Minion Need Open?

No ports need to be opened up on each minion. For the master, TCP ports 4505 and 4506 need to be open. If you've put both your Salt master and minion in debug mode and don't see an acknowledgment that your minion has connected, it could very well be a firewall.

You can check port connectivity from the minion with the nc command:

nc -v -z salt.master.ip 4505
nc -v -z salt.master.ip 4506

There is also a firewall configuration document that might help as well.

If you've enabled the right TCP ports on your operating system or Linux distribution's firewall and still aren't seeing connections, check that no additional access control system such as SELinux or AppArmor is blocking Salt.

Using salt-call

The salt-call command was originally developed for aiding in the development of new Salt modules. Since then, many applications have been developed for running any Salt module locally on a minion. These range from the original intent of salt-call, development assistance, to gathering more verbose output from calls like state.apply.

When initially creating your state tree, it is generally recommended to invoke state.apply directly from the minion with salt-call, rather than remotely from the master. This displays far more information about the execution than calling it remotely. For even more verbosity, increase the loglevel using the -l argument:

salt-call -l debug state.apply

The main difference between using salt and using salt-call is that salt-call is run from the minion, and it only runs the selected function on that minion. By contrast, salt is run from the master, and requires you to specify the minions on which to run the command using salt's targeting system.

Too many open files

The salt-master needs at least 2 sockets per host that connects to it, one for the Publisher and one for response port. Thus, large installations may, upon scaling up the number of minions accessing a given master, encounter:

12:45:29,289 [salt.master    ][INFO    ] Starting Salt worker process 38
Too many open files
sock != -1 (tcp_listener.cpp:335)

The solution to this would be to check the number of files allowed to be opened by the user running salt-master (root by default):

[root@salt-master ~]# ulimit -n

And modify that value to be at least equal to the number of minions x 2. This setting can be changed in limits.conf as the nofile value(s), and activated upon new a login of the specified user.

So, an environment with 1800 minions, would need 1800 x 2 = 3600 as a minimum.

Salt Master Stops Responding

There are known bugs with ZeroMQ versions less than 2.1.11 which can cause the Salt master to not respond properly. If you're running a ZeroMQ version greater than or equal to 2.1.9, you can work around the bug by setting the sysctls net.core.rmem_max and net.core.wmem_max to 16777216. Next, set the third field in net.ipv4.tcp_rmem and net.ipv4.tcp_wmem to at least 16777216.

You can do it manually with something like:

# echo 16777216 > /proc/sys/net/core/rmem_max
# echo 16777216 > /proc/sys/net/core/wmem_max
# echo "4096 87380 16777216" > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_rmem
# echo "4096 87380 16777216" > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_wmem

Or with the following Salt state:

    - present
    - value: 16777216

    - present
    - value: 16777216

    - present
    - value: 4096 87380 16777216

    - present
    - value: 4096 87380 16777216

Salt and SELinux

Currently there are no SELinux policies for Salt. For the most part Salt runs without issue when SELinux is running in Enforcing mode. This is because when the minion executes as a daemon the type context is changed to initrc_t. The problem with SELinux arises when using salt-call or running the minion in the foreground, since the type context stays unconfined_t.

This problem is generally manifest in the rpm install scripts when using the pkg module. Until a full SELinux Policy is available for Salt the solution to this issue is to set the execution context of salt-call and salt-minion to rpm_exec_t:

# CentOS 5 and RHEL 5:
chcon -t system_u:system_r:rpm_exec_t:s0 /usr/bin/salt-minion
chcon -t system_u:system_r:rpm_exec_t:s0 /usr/bin/salt-call

# CentOS 6 and RHEL 6:
chcon system_u:object_r:rpm_exec_t:s0 /usr/bin/salt-minion
chcon system_u:object_r:rpm_exec_t:s0 /usr/bin/salt-call

This works well, because the rpm_exec_t context has very broad control over other types.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5

Salt requires Python 2.6 or 2.7. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and its variants come with Python 2.4 installed by default. When installing on RHEL 5 from the EPEL repository this is handled for you. But, if you run Salt from git, be advised that its dependencies need to be installed from EPEL and that Salt needs to be run with the python26 executable.

Live Python Debug Output

If the minion or master seems to be unresponsive, a SIGUSR1 can be passed to the processes to display where in the code they are running. If encountering a situation like this, this debug information can be invaluable. First make sure the master of minion are running in the foreground:

salt-master -l debug
salt-minion -l debug

Then pass the signal to the master or minion when it seems to be unresponsive:

killall -SIGUSR1 salt-master
killall -SIGUSR1 salt-minion

Also under BSD and macOS in addition to SIGUSR1 signal, debug subroutine set up for SIGINFO which has an advantage of being sent by Ctrl+T shortcut.

When filing an issue or sending questions to the mailing list for a problem with an unresponsive daemon this information can be invaluable.

Salt 0.16.x minions cannot communicate with a 0.17.x master

As of release 0.17.1 you can no longer run different versions of Salt on your Master and Minion servers. This is due to a protocol change for security purposes. The Salt team will continue to attempt to ensure versions are as backwards compatible as possible.

Debugging the Master and Minion

A list of common master and minion troubleshooting steps provide a starting point for resolving issues you may encounter.