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Salty Vagrant

Provision Vagrant boxes using Saltstack.

Help and discussion can be found at #salt on Freenode IRC (just ping akoumjian) or the salt-users mailing list.


DEPRECATED: Vagrant includes a salt provisioner for versions 1.3.0 and above


Salty Vagrant is a plugin for Vagrant which lets you use salt as a provisioning tool. You can use your existing salt formulas and configs to build up development environments.

The simplest way to use Salty Vagrant is by configuring it for masterless mode. With this setup, you use a standalone minion along with your file_roots and/or pillar_roots. See the examples/ folder for more details.

Masterless (Quick Start)

  1. Install Vagrant
  2. Install Salty Vagrant (vagrant plugin install vagrant-salt)
  3. Get the Ubuntu 12.04 base box: vagrant box add precise64
  4. Create/Update your Vagrantfile (Detailed in Configuration) [2]
  5. Place your minion config in salt/minion [1]
  6. Run vagrant up and you should be good to go.
[1]Make sure your minion config sets file_client: local for masterless
[2]Don't forget to create a shared folder for your salt file root


Here is an extremely simple Vagrantfile, to be used with the above masterless setup:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  ## Choose your base box = "precise64"

  ## For masterless, mount your salt file root
  config.vm.synced_folder "salt/roots/", "/srv/salt/"

  ## Use all the defaults:
  config.vm.provision :salt do |salt|

    salt.minion_config = "salt/minion"
    salt.run_highstate = true



run_highstate (true/false)
Executes state.highstate on vagrant up
accept_keys (true/false)
Accept all keys if running a master. DEPRECATED: use seed_master

Install Options

install_master (true/false)
Install the salt-master
no_minion (true/false)
Don't install the minion
install_syndic (true/false)
Install the salt-syndic
install_type (stable | git | daily)
Whether to install from a distribution's stable package manager, a daily ppa, or git treeish.
install_args (develop)
When performing a git install, you can specify a branch, tag, or any treeish.
always_install (true/false)
Installs salt binaries even if they are already detected

Minion Options

minion_config (salt/minion)
Path to a custom salt minion config file.
minion_key (salt/key/minion.pem)
Path to your minion key
minion_pub (salt/key/
Path to your minion public key

Master Options

master_config (salt/minion)
Path to a custom salt master config file
master_key (salt/key/master.pem)
Path to your master key
master_pub (salt/key/
Path to your master public key
seed_master {minion_name:/path/to/}
Upload keys to master, thereby pre-seeding it before use.


bootstrap_script (salt/
Path to a custom bootstrap script
temp_config_dir (/tmp)
Path on the guest box that config and bootstrap files will be copied to before placing in the salt directories
Get pillar data that has been set (this is read only because data should be set using the pillar command referenced below)
verbose (true/false)
Prints bootstrap script output to screen

Installation Notes

Supported Operating Systems

  • Ubuntu 10.x/11.x/12.x
  • Debian 6.x/7.x
  • CentOS 6.3
  • Fedora
  • Arch
  • FreeBSD 9.0

Installing from source

  1. git clone
  2. cd salty-vagrant
  3. git submodule init
  4. git submodule update
  5. gem install rubygems-bundler
  6. gem build vagrant-salt.gemspec
  7. vagrant plugin install vagrant-salt-[version].gem

If you'd like to include the latest stable revision of the salt-bootstrap script, run the following after step 5:

  1. cd scripts
  2. git pull origin stable
  3. Rebuild the gem if you had built it previously.


Pillar Data

You can export pillar data for use during provisioning by using the pillar command. Each call will merge the data so you can safely call it multiple times. The data passed in should only be hashes and lists. Here is an example:

config.vm.provision :salt do |salt|

  # Export hostnames for webserver config
    "hostnames" => {
      "www" => "",
      "intranet" => ""

  # Export database credentials
    "database" => {
      "user" => "jdoe",
      "password" => "topsecret"

  salt.run_highstate = true


Using Remote Salt Master

If you are already using Salt for deployment, you can use your existing master to provision your vagrant boxes as well. You will need to do one of the following:

  1. Manually accept the vagrant's minion key after it boots. [3]
  2. Preseed the Vagrant box with minion keys pre-generated on the master
[3]This is not recommended. If your developers need to destroy and rebuild their VM, you will have to repeat the process.

Preseeding Vagrant Minion Keys

On the master, create the keypair and add the public key to the accepted minions folder:

root@saltmaster# salt-key --gen-keys=[minion_id]
root@saltmaster# cp [minion_id].pub /etc/salt/pki/master/minions/[minion_id]

Replace [minion_id] with the id you would like to assign the minion.

Next you want to bundle the key pair along with your Vagrantfile, the salt_provisioner.rb, and your minion config. The directory should look something like this:


You will need to determine your own secure method of transferring this package. Leaking the minion's private key poses a security risk to your salt network.

The are two required settings for your minion.conf file:

master: [master_fqdn]
id: [minion_id]

Make sure you use the same [minion_id] that you used on the master or it will not match with the key.

Create/Update your Vagrantfile per the example provided in the Configuration section.

Finally, you should be able to run vagrant up and the salt should put your vagrant minion in state.highstate.


Use Salt as a Vagrant provisioner.



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