Salt 0.9.7 Release Notes



Salt 0.9.7 is here! The latest iteration of Salt brings more features and many fixes. This release is a great refinement over 0.9.6, adding many conveniences under the hood, as well as some features that make working with Salt much better.

A few highlights include the new Job system, refinements to the requisite system in states, the mod_init interface for states, external node classification, search path to managed files in the file state, and refinements and additions to dynamic module loading.

0.9.7 also introduces the long developed (and oft changed) unit test framework and the initial unit tests.

Major Features

Salt Jobs Interface

The new jobs interface makes the management of running executions much cleaner and more transparent. Building on the existing execution framework the jobs system allows clear introspection into the active running state of the running Salt interface.

The Jobs interface is centered in the new minion side proc system. The minions now store msgpack serialized files under /var/cache/salt/proc. These files keep track of the active state of processes on the minion.

Functions in the saltutil Module

A number of functions have been added to the saltutil module to manage and view the jobs:

running - Returns the data of all running jobs that are found in the proc directory.

find_job - Returns specific data about a certain job based on job id.

signal_job - Allows for a given jid to be sent a signal.

term_job - Sends a termination signal (SIGTERM, 15) to the process controlling the specified job.

kill_job Sends a kill signal (SIGKILL, 9) to the process controlling the specified job.

The jobs Runner

A convenience runner front end and reporting system has been added as well. The jobs runner contains functions to make viewing data easier and cleaner.

The jobs runner contains a number of functions...


The active function runs saltutil.running on all minions and formats the return data about all running jobs in a much more usable and compact format. The active function will also compare jobs that have returned and jobs that are still running, making it easier to see what systems have completed a job and what systems are still being waited on.


When jobs are executed the return data is sent back to the master and cached. By default is cached for 24 hours, but this can be configured via the keep_jobs option in the master configuration.

Using the lookup_jid runner will display the same return data that the initial job invocation with the salt command would display.


Before finding a historic job, it may be required to find the job id. list_jobs will parse the cached execution data and display all of the job data for jobs that have already, or partially returned.

External Node Classification

Salt can now use external node classifiers like Cobbler's cobbler-ext-nodes.

Salt uses specific data from the external node classifier. In particular the classes value denotes which sls modules to run, and the environment value sets to another environment.

An external node classification can be set in the master configuration file via the external_nodes option:

External nodes are loaded in addition to the top files. If it is intended to only use external nodes, do not deploy any top files.

State Mod Init System

An issue arose with the pkg state. Every time a package was run Salt would need to refresh the package database. This made systems with slower package metadata refresh speeds much slower to work with. To alleviate this issue the mod_init interface has been added to salt states.

The mod_init interface is a function that can be added to a state file. This function is called with the first state called. In the case of the pkg state, the mod_init function sets up a tag which makes the package database only refresh on the first attempt to install a package.

In a nutshell, the mod_init interface allows a state to run any command that only needs to be run once, or can be used to set up an environment for working with the state.

Source File Search Path

The file state continues to be refined, adding speed and capabilities. This release adds the ability to pass a list to the source option. This list is then iterated over until the source file is found, and the first found file is used.

The new syntax looks like this:

    - managed
    - source:
      - salt://httpd/httpd.conf
      - http://myserver/httpd.conf: md5=8c1fe119e6f1fd96bc06614473509bf1

The source option can take sources in the list from the salt file server as well as an arbitrary web source. If using an arbitrary web source the checksum needs to be passed as well for file verification.

Refinements to the Requisite System

A few discrepancies were still lingering in the requisite system, in particular, it was not possible to have a require and a watch requisite declared in the same state declaration.

This issue has been alleviated, as well as making the requisite system run more quickly.

Initial Unit Testing Framework

Because of the module system, and the need to test real scenarios, the development of a viable unit testing system has been difficult, but unit testing has finally arrived. Only a small amount of unit testing coverage has been developed, much more coverage will be in place soon.

A huge thanks goes out to those who have helped with unit testing, and the contributions that have been made to get us where we are. Without these contributions unit tests would still be in the dark.

Compound Targets Expanded

Originally only support for and and or were available in the compound target. 0.9.7 adds the capability to negate compound targets with not.

Nodegroups in the Top File

Previously the nodegroups defined in the master configuration file could not be used to match nodes for states. The nodegroups support has been expanded and the nodegroups defined in the master configuration can now be used to match minions in the top file.