Salt can salt itself, and SUSE Manager now makes use of that!

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In my famous “French Fry Post” I talked about how easy it is with the pre-installed Salt minion on SUSE’s “Just enough Operating System” (JeOS) to connect a new server with SUSE Manager 3.

I promised to follow up with a post that explains another option that’s even cooler: Using Salt to install itself from remote!

Well, it took a while because I wanted to make sure that the feature I’m talking about is actually shipping. Now that the SUSE Manager 3.0.1 maintenance update is out, it’s finally time to keep my promise:

SUSE Manager 3 Bootstrapping feature

SUSE Manager 3 Bootstrapping feature

The new remote bootstrapping feature allows you to add any SUSE Linux Enterprise server to SUSE Manager that you know by hostname and can access via SSH!

The only other requirement is that the system has Python installed.

Behind the scenes this uses salt-ssh to connect to the server via SSH and then upload and execute some magic Salt states.

Those Salt states configure the installation repositories, install the actual Salt Minion, configure and start it.

You can even provide an Activation Key directly, so that the newly on-boarded system ends up in the right System Groups and gets the software channels assigned that you want it to have. How much easier can it get?

Well, there are a few more things in the pipeline:

  • For customers who prefer not to have any agent installed, we are going to offer the option to always use salt-ssh to connect to the system. This feature is currently undergoing testing.
  • We are planning to allow the use of public keys instead of user/password credentials. Customers who don’t allow password-based SSH logins will love that.
  • Another planned improvement is to allow the bootstrapping of more than one system at once. You can do that already via the salt-ssh command line, but we are also considering to add that option to the web user interface.
  • Finally,  a colleague has pointed out how cool it would be to not just on-board the system, but directly execute its Salt “Highstate”. In other words, you could go directly from a virgin system to one that is fully configured, in one step, by just on-boarding it with the right Activation Key!

If you don’t have your own SUSE Manager server yet and are attending SUSECon next week, visit us at the SUSE Manager demo point and give the Bootstrapping feature a try!

This is Joachim Werner blogging live from Nuremberg, where we know how to bootstrap things.

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Joachim Werner
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