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Improved Salt Modules

We now want to get a little more useful.

Developing locally

Synching and running commands remotely is all very well, but sometimes we need to develop locally to the salt-master. That's fine:

We can fiddle with the local minion modules dir found here:

   /var/cache/salt/minion/extmods/modules/pbrian.py

Or we can alter local `\etc\salt\minion` file and add our chosen location to `modules_dir`

This is the simplest and fastest means to develop a module, at least until we delve deeper into saltstack. Do remember that a sync will overwrite your changes !!

Making a minion do something useful

Firstly we shall look at grains

Grains
  Static bits of information that a minion collects about the system when the minion first starts.

I can use them from the CLI:

sudo salt '*' grains.ls

However this is more fun:

import salt

def show_grains():
    return __grains__

Which gives us:

/snip
cpu_model:
    AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 4170 HE
cpuarch:
    x86_64
defaultencoding:
    UTF-8
defaultlanguage:
    en_US
/snip

or even:

import salt

def show_grains():
    return __grains__['pythonversion']

So, let's sync up the current local pbrian.py with our minion.

sudo salt 'myinstance' saltutil.sync_all

Running salt programmatically

Let's write a simple python script, in our home-dir.

import salt.client
client = salt.client.LocalClient()
ret = client.cmd('myinstance', 'show_grains',[])
print ret

gives us:

{'myinstance': [2, 7, 3, 'final', 0]}

A python dict, returned from a remote minion, ready for manipulation here.