Chapter 5. Salt States: Advanced Configuration Management

The state subsystem facilitates the management of a device to keep it in a predetermined state. On the server side it is used to install packages, start or restart services, and configure files or other data entities. The same methodologies can be applied on whitebox devices that allow custom software installation, otherwise the state system is an excellent way to manage the configuration of traditional network gear.

We will rely heavily on the advanced templating methodologies covered in Chapter 4, so we can use the pillar, salt, grains, or opts reserved keywords presented earlier to access data from the corresponding entities. In other words, we can access the data from databases, Excel files, Git, or REST APIs directly and the state does not rely on the mechanism used to retrieve the data—Salt provides a clear separation of the automation logic and data.

The Salt states are SLS files containing information about how to configure the devices managed. Their structure is very simple, based on key-value pairs and lists. As discussed in Chapter 1, SLS is by default YAML and Jinja, very easy and flexible to design. It preserves the SLS capabilities so that you can switch to a different combination of data representation plus template language, or even pure Python, when required. Inside the state SLS we invoke state functions defined in the state modules.

The State Top File

As any Salt subsystem, the state has its own top ...

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