Puppet Cookbook - Third Edition

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By Thomas Uphill , John Arundel
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  1. Free Chapter
    Puppet Language and Style

About this book

Puppet is a configuration management system that automates all your IT configurations, giving you control of what you do to each node, when you do it, and how you do it.

Puppet Cookbook Third Edition takes the reader from a basic knowledge of Puppet to a complete and expert understanding of Puppet’s latest and most advanced features. Updated with the latest advancements and best practices, it gives you a clear view on how to "connect the dots" and expands your knowledge to successfully use and extend Puppet.

This book delves into various aspects of writing good Puppet code, which includes using Puppet community style, checking your manifests with puppet-lint, and learning community best practices, with an emphasis on real-world implementation.



Read an Extract from the book

Generating manifests with the Puppet resource command

If you have a server that is already configured as it needs to be, or nearly so, you can capture that configuration as a Puppet manifest. The Puppet resource command generates Puppet manifests from the existing configuration of a system. For example, you can have puppet resource generate a manifest that creates all the users found on the system. This is very useful to take a snapshot of a working system and get its configuration quickly into Puppet.

How to do it...

Here are some examples of using puppet resource to get data from a running system:

  1. To generate the manifest for a particular user, run the following command:
    [[email protected] ~]# puppet resource user thomas
    user { 'thomas':
      ensure           => 'present',
      comment          => 'thomas Admin User',
      gid              => '1001',
      groups           => ['bin', 'wheel'],
      home             => '/home/thomas',
      password         => '!!',
      password_max_age => '99999',
      password_min_age => '0',
      shell            => '/bin/bash',
      uid              => '1001',
  2. For a particular service, run the following command:
    [[email protected] ~]# puppet resource service sshd
    service { 'sshd':
      ensure => 'running',
      enable => 'true',
  3. For a package, run the following command:
    [[email protected] ~]# puppet resource package kernel
    package { 'kernel':
      ensure => '2.6.32-431.23.3.el6',

There's more...

You can use puppet resource to examine each of the resource types available in Puppet. In the preceding examples, we generated a manifest for a specific instance of the resource type, but you can also use puppet resource to dump all instances of the resource:

[[email protected] ~]# puppet resource service
service { 'abrt-ccpp':
  ensure => 'running',
  enable => 'true',
service { 'abrt-oops':
  ensure => 'running',
  enable => 'true',
service { 'abrtd':
  ensure => 'running',
  enable => 'true',
service { 'acpid':
  ensure => 'running',
  enable => 'true',
service { 'atd':
  ensure => 'running',
  enable => 'true',
service { 'auditd':
  ensure => 'running',
  enable => 'true',

This will output the state of each service on the system; this is because each service is an enumerable resource. When you try the same command with a resource that is not enumerable, you get an error message:

[[email protected] ~]# puppet resource file
Error: Could not run: Listing all file instances is not supported.  Please specify a file or directory, e.g. puppet resource file /etc

Asking Puppet to describe each file on the system will not work; that's something best left to an audit tool such as tripwire (a system designed to look for changes on every file on the system, http://www.tripwire.com)

Publication date:
February 2015


Chapter 1. Puppet Language and Style


"Computer language design is just like a stroll in the park. Jurassic Park, that is."

 --Larry Wall

In this chapter, we will cover the following recipes:

  • Adding a resource to a node

  • Using Facter to describe a node

  • Installing a package before starting a service

  • Installing, configuring, and starting a service

  • Using community Puppet style

  • Creating a manifest

  • Checking your manifests with Puppet-lint

  • Using modules

  • Using standard naming conventions

  • Using inline templates

  • Iterating over multiple items

  • Writing powerful conditional statements

  • Using regular expressions in if statements

  • Using selectors and case statements

  • Using the in operator

  • Using regular expression substitutions

  • Using the future parser



In this chapter, we'll start with the basics of Puppet syntax and show you how some of the syntactic sugar in Puppet is used. We'll then move on to how Puppet deals with dependencies and how to make Puppet do the work for you.

We'll look at how to organize and structure your code into modules following community conventions, so that other people will find it easy to read and maintain your code. I'll also show you some powerful features of Puppet language, which will let you write concise, yet expressive manifests.


Adding a resource to a node

This recipe will introduce the language and show you the basics of writing Puppet code. A beginner may wish to reference Puppet 3: Beginner's Guide, John Arundel, Packt Publishing in addition to this section. Puppet code files are called manifests; manifests declare resources. A resource in Puppet may be a type, class, or node. A type is something like a file or package or anything that has a type declared in the language. The current list of standard types is available on puppetlabs website at https://docs.puppetlabs.com/references/latest/type.html. I find myself referencing this site very often. You may define your own types, either using a mechanism, similar to a subroutine, named defined types, or you can extend the language using a custom type. Types are the heart of the language; they describe the things that make up a node (node is the word Puppet uses for client computers/devices). Puppet uses resources to describe the state of a node; for example, we will declare the following package resource for a node using a site manifest (site.pp).

How to do it...

Create a site.pp file and place the following code in it:

  node default {
    package { 'httpd':
      ensure => 'installed'


Downloading the example code

You can download the example code files for all Packt books you have purchased from your account at http://www.packtpub.com. If you purchased this book elsewhere, you can visit http://www.packtpub.com/support and register to have the files e-mailed directly to you.

How it works...

This manifest will ensure that any node, on which this manifest is applied, will install a package called 'httpd'. The default keyword is a wildcard to Puppet; it applies anything within the node default definition to any node. When Puppet applies the manifest to a node, it uses a Resource Abstraction Layer (RAL) to translate the package type into the package management system of the target node. What this means is that we can use the same manifest to install the httpd package on any system for which Puppet has a Provider for the package type. Providers are the pieces of code that do the real work of applying a manifest. When the previous code is applied to a node running on a YUM-based distribution, the YUM provider will be used to install the httpd RPM packages. When the same code is applied to a node running on an APT-based distribution, the APT provider will be used to install the httpd DEB package (which may not exist, most debian-based systems call this package apache2; we'll deal with this sort of naming problem later).


Using Facter to describe a node

Facter is a separate utility upon which Puppet depends. It is the system used by Puppet to gather information about the target system (node); facter calls the nuggets of information facts. You may run facter from the command line to obtain real-time information from the system.

How to do it...

  1. Use facter to find the current uptime of the system, the uptime fact:

    [email protected] ~$ facter uptime
    0:12 hours
  2. Compare this with the output of the Linux uptime command:

    [email protected] ~$ uptime
     01:18:52 up 12 min,  1 user,  load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

How it works...

When facter is installed (as a dependency for puppet), several fact definitions are installed by default. You can reference each of these facts by name from the command line.

There's more...

Running facter without any arguments causes facter to print all the facts known about the system. We will see in later chapters that facter can be extended with your own custom facts. All facts are available for you to use as variables; variables are discussed in the next section.


Variables in Puppet are marked with a dollar sign ($) character. When using variables within a manifest, it is preferred to enclose the variable within braces "${myvariable}" instead of "$myvariable". All of the facts from facter can be referenced as top scope variables (we will discuss scope in the next section). For example, the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the node may be referenced by "${::fqdn}". Variables can only contain alphabetic characters, numerals, and the underscore character (_). As a matter of style, variables should start with an alphabetic character. Never use dashes in variable names.


In the variable example explained in the There's more… section, the fully qualified domain name was referred to as ${::fqdn} rather than ${fqdn}; the double colons are how Puppet differentiates scope. The highest level scope, top scope or global, is referred to by two colons (::) at the beginning of a variable identifier. To reduce namespace collisions, always use fully scoped variable identifiers in your manifests. For a Unix user, think of top scope variables as the / (root) level. You can refer to variables using the double colon syntax similar to how you would refer to a directory by its full path. For the developer, you can think of top scope variables as global variables; however, unlike global variables, you must always refer to them with the double colon notation to guarantee that a local variable isn't obscuring the top scope variable.


Installing a package before starting a service

To show how ordering works, we'll create a manifest that installs httpd and then ensures the httpd package service is running.

How to do it...

  1. We start by creating a manifest that defines the service:

      service {'httpd':
        ensure  => running,
        require => Package['httpd'],
  2. The service definition references a package resource named httpd; we now need to define that resource:

      package {'httpd':
        ensure => 'installed',

How it works...

In this example, the package will be installed before the service is started. Using require within the definition of the httpd service ensures that the package is installed first, regardless of the order within the manifest file.


Capitalization is important in Puppet. In our previous example, we created a package named httpd. If we wanted to refer to this package later, we would capitalize its type (package) as follows:


To refer to a class, for example, the something::somewhere class, which has already been included/defined in your manifest, you can reference it with the full path as follows:


When you have a defined type, for example the following defined type:

example::thing {'one':} 

The preceding resource may be referenced later as follows:


Knowing how to reference previously defined resources is necessary for the next section on metaparameters and ordering.

Learning metaparameters and ordering

All the manifests that will be used to define a node are compiled into a catalog. A catalog is the code that will be applied to configure a node. It is important to remember that manifests are not applied to nodes sequentially. There is no inherent order to the application of manifests. With this in mind, in the previous httpd example, what if we wanted to ensure that the httpd process started after the httpd package was installed?

We couldn't rely on the httpd service coming after the httpd package in the manifests. What we have to do is use metaparameters to tell Puppet the order in which we want resources applied to the node. Metaparameters are parameters that can be applied to any resource and are not specific to any one resource type. They are used for catalog compilation and as hints to Puppet but not to define anything about the resource to which they are attached. When dealing with ordering, there are four metaparameters used:

  • before

  • require

  • notify

  • subscribe

The before and require metaparameters specify a direct ordering; notify implies before and subscribe implies require. The notify metaparameter is only applicable to services; what notify does is tell a service to restart after the notifying resource has been applied to the node (this is most often a package or file resource). In the case of files, once the file is created on the node, a notify parameter will restart any services mentioned. The subscribe metaparameter has the same effect but is defined on the service; the service will subscribe to the file.


The relationship between package and service previously mentioned is an important and powerful paradigm of Puppet. Adding one more resource-type file into the fold, creates what puppeteers refer to as the trifecta. Almost all system administration tasks revolve around these three resource types. As a system administrator, you install a package, configure the package with files, and then start the service.

Diagram of Trifecta (Files require package for directory, service requires files and package)


A key concept of Puppet is that the state of the system when a catalog is applied to a node cannot affect the outcome of Puppet run. In other words, at the end of Puppet run (if the run was successful), the system will be in a known state and any further application of the catalog will result in a system that is in the same state. This property of Puppet is known as idempotency. Idempotency is the property that no matter how many times you do something, it remains in the same state as the first time you did it. For instance, if you had a light switch and you gave the instruction to turn it on, the light would turn on. If you gave the instruction again, the light would remain on.


Installing, configuring, and starting a service

There are many examples of this pattern online. In our simple example, we will create an Apache configuration file under /etc/httpd/conf.d/cookbook.conf. The /etc/httpd/conf.d directory will not exist until the httpd package is installed. After this file is created, we would want httpd to restart to notice the change; we can achieve this with a notify parameter.

How to do it...

We will need the same definitions as our last example; we need the package and service installed. We now need two more things. We need the configuration file and index page (index.html) created. For this, we follow these steps:

  1. As in the previous example, we ensure the service is running and specify that the service requires the httpd package:

      service {'httpd':
        ensure => running,
        require => Package['httpd'],
  2. We then define the package as follows:

      package {'httpd':
        ensure => installed,
  3. Now, we create the /etc/httpd/conf.d/cookbook.conf configuration file; the /etc/httpd/conf.d directory will not exist until the httpd package is installed. The require metaparameter tells Puppet that this file requires the httpd package to be installed before it is created:

      file {'/etc/httpd/conf.d/cookbook.conf':
        content => "<VirtualHost *:80>\nServernamecookbook\nDocumentRoot/var/www/cookbook\n</VirtualHost>\n",
        require => Package['httpd'],
        notify => Service['httpd'],
  4. We then go on to create an index.html file for our virtual host in /var/www/cookbook. This directory won't exist yet, so we need to create this as well, using the following code:

      file {'/var/www/cookbook':
        ensure => directory,
      file {'/var/www/cookbook/index.html':
        content => "<html><h1>Hello World!</h1></html>\n",
        require => File['/var/www/cookbook'],

How it works…

The require attribute to the file resources tell Puppet that we need the /var/www/cookbook directory created before we can create the index.html file. The important concept to remember is that we cannot assume anything about the target system (node). We need to define everything on which the target depends. Anytime you create a file in a manifest, you have to ensure that the directory containing that file exists. Anytime you specify that a service should be running, you have to ensure that the package providing that service is installed.

In this example, using metaparameters, we can be confident that no matter what state the node is in before running Puppet, after Puppet runs, the following will be true:

  • httpd will be running

  • The VirtualHost configuration file will exist

  • httpd will restart and be aware of the VirtualHost file

  • The DocumentRoot directory will exist

  • An index.html file will exist in the DocumentRoot directory


Using community Puppet style

If other people need to read or maintain your manifests, or if you want to share code with the community, it's a good idea to follow the existing style conventions as closely as possible. These govern such aspects of your code as layout, spacing, quoting, alignment, and variable references, and the official puppetlabs recommendations on style are available at http://docs.puppetlabs.com/guides/style_guide.html.

How to do it…

In this section, I'll show you a few of the more important examples and how to make sure that your code is style compliant.


Indent your manifests using two spaces (not tabs), as follows:

service {'httpd':
  ensure  => running,


Always quote your resource names, as follows:

package { 'exim4':

We cannot do this as follows though:

package { exim4:

Use single quotes for all strings, except when:

  • The string contains variable references such as "${::fqdn}"

  • The string contains character escape sequences such as "\n"

Consider the following code:

file { '/etc/motd':
  content => "Welcome to ${::fqdn}\n"

Puppet doesn't process variable references or escape sequences unless they're inside double quotes.

Always quote parameter values that are not reserved words in Puppet. For example, the following values are not reserved words:

name => 'Nucky Thompson',
mode => '0700',
owner => 'deploy',

However, these values are reserved words and therefore not quoted:

ensure => installed,
enable => true,
ensure => running,


There is only one thing in Puppet that is false, that is, the word false without any quotes. The string "false" evaluates to true and the string "true" also evaluates to true. Actually, everything besides the literal false evaluates to true (when treated as a Boolean):

if "false" {
  notify { 'True': }
if 'false' {
  notify { 'Also true': }
if false {
  notify { 'Not true': }

When this code is run through puppet apply, the first two notifies are triggered. The final notify is not triggered; it is the only one that evaluates to false.


Always include curly braces ({}) around variable names when referring to them in strings, for example, as follows:

source => "puppet:///modules/webserver/${brand}.conf",

Otherwise, Puppet's parser has to guess which characters should be a part of the variable name and which belong to the surrounding string. Curly braces make it explicit.


Always end lines that declare parameters with a comma, even if it is the last parameter:

service { 'memcached':
  ensure => running,
  enable => true,

This is allowed by Puppet, and makes it easier if you want to add parameters later, or reorder the existing parameters.

When declaring a resource with a single parameter, make the declaration all on one line and with no trailing comma, as shown in the following snippet:

package { 'puppet': ensure => installed }

Where there is more than one parameter, give each parameter its own line:

package { 'rake':
  ensure   => installed,
  provider => gem,
  require  => Package['rubygems'],

To make the code easier to read, line up the parameter arrows in line with the longest parameter, as follows:

file { "/var/www/${app}/shared/config/rvmrc":
  owner   => 'deploy',
  group   => 'deploy',
  content => template('rails/rvmrc.erb'),
  require => File["/var/www/${app}/shared/config"],

The arrows should be aligned per resource, but not across the whole file, otherwise it can make it difficult for you to cut and paste code from one file to another.


When declaring file resources which are symlinks, use ensure => link and set the target attribute, as follows:

file { '/etc/php5/cli/php.ini':
  ensure => link,
  target => '/etc/php.ini',

Creating a manifest

If you already have some Puppet code (known as a Puppet manifest), you can skip this section and go on to the next. If not, we'll see how to create and apply a simple manifest.

How to do it...

To create and apply a simple manifest, follow these steps:

  1. First, install Puppet locally on your machine or create a virtual machine and install Puppet on that machine. For YUM-based systems, use https://yum.puppetlabs.com/ and for APT-based systems, use https://apt.puppetlabs.com/. You may also use gem to install Puppet. For our examples, we'll install Puppet using gem on a Debian Wheezy system (hostname: cookbook). To use gem, we need the rubygems package as follows:

    [email protected]:~$ sudo apt-get install rubygems
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree        
    Reading state information... Done
    The following NEW packages will be installed:
    0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
    Need to get 0 B/597 kB of archives.
    After this operation, 3,844 kB of additional disk space will be used.
    Selecting previously unselected package rubygems.
    (Reading database ... 30390 files and directories currently installed.)
    Unpacking rubygems (from .../rubygems_1.8.24-1_all.deb) ...
    Processing triggers for man-db ...
    Setting up rubygems (1.8.24-1) ...
  2. Now, use gem to install Puppet:

    [email protected] $ sudo gem install puppet
    Successfully installed hiera-1.3.4
    Fetching: facter-2.3.0.gem (100%)
    Successfully installed facter-2.3.0
    Fetching: puppet-3.7.3.gem (100%)
    Successfully installed puppet-3.7.3
    Installing ri documentation for hiera-1.3.4
    Installing ri documentation for facter-2.3.0
    Installing ri documentation for puppet-3.7.3
    Done installing documentation for hiera, facter, puppet after 239 seconds
  3. Three gems are installed. Now, with Puppet installed, we can create a directory to contain our Puppet code:

    [email protected]:~$ mkdir -p .puppet/manifests
    [email protected]:~$ cd .puppet/manifests
    [email protected]:~/.puppet/manifests$
  4. Within your manifests directory, create the site.pp file with the following content:

      node default {
        file { '/tmp/hello':
          content => "Hello, world!\n",
  5. Test your manifest with the puppet apply command. This will tell Puppet to read the manifest, compare it to the state of the machine, and make any necessary changes to that state:

    [email protected]:~/.puppet/manifests$ puppet apply site.pp
    Notice: Compiled catalog for cookbook in environment production in 0.14 seconds
    Notice: /Stage[main]/Main/Node[default]/File[/tmp/hello]/ensure: defined content as '{md5}746308829575e17c3331bbcb00c0898b'
    Notice: Finished catalog run in 0.04 seconds
  6. To see if Puppet did what we expected (create the /tmp/hello file with the Hello, world! content), run the following command:

    [email protected]:~/puppet/manifests$ cat /tmp/hello
    Hello, world!
     [email protected]:~/puppet/manifests$


Note that creating the file in /tmp did not require special permissions. We did not run Puppet via sudo. Puppet need not be run through sudo; there are cases where running via an unprivileged user can be useful.

There's more…

When several people are working on a code base, it's easy for style inconsistencies to creep in. Fortunately, there's a tool available which can automatically check your code for compliance with the style guide: puppet-lint. We'll see how to use this in the next section.


Checking your manifests with Puppet-lint

The puppetlabs official style guide outlines a number of style conventions for Puppet code, some of which we've touched on in the preceding section. For example, according to the style guide, manifests:

  • Must use two-space soft tabs

  • Must not use literal tab characters

  • Must not contain trailing white space

  • Should not exceed an 80 character line width

  • Should align parameter arrows (=>) within blocks

Following the style guide will make sure that your Puppet code is easy to read and maintain, and if you're planning to release your code to the public, style compliance is essential.

The puppet-lint tool will automatically check your code against the style guide. The next section explains how to use it.

Getting ready

Here's what you need to do to install Puppet-lint:

  1. We'll install Puppet-lint using the gem provider because the gem version is much more up to date than the APT or RPM packages available. Create a puppet-lint.pp manifest as shown in the following code snippet:

      package {'puppet-lint':
        ensure => 'installed',
        provider => 'gem',
  2. Run puppet apply on the puppet-lint.pp manifest, as shown in the following command:

    [email protected] ~$ puppet apply puppet-lint.pp Notice: Compiled catalog for node1.example.com in environment production in 0.42 seconds
    Notice: /Stage[main]/Main/Package[puppet-lint]/ensure: created
    Notice: Finished catalog run in 2.96 seconds
    [email protected] ~$ gem list puppet-lint *** LOCAL GEMS *** puppet-lint (1.0.1)

How to do it...

Follow these steps to use Puppet-lint:

  1. Choose a Puppet manifest file that you want to check with Puppet-lint, and run the following command:

    [email protected] ~$ puppet-lint puppet-lint.pp 
    WARNING: indentation of => is not properly aligned on line 2
    ERROR: trailing whitespace found on line 4
  2. As you can see, Puppet-lint found a number of problems with the manifest file. Correct the errors, save the file, and rerun Puppet-lint to check that all is well. If successful, you'll see no output:

    [email protected] ~$ puppet-lint puppet-lint.pp 
    [email protected] ~$

There's more...

You can find out more about Puppet-lint at https://github.com/rodjek/puppet-lint.

Should you follow Puppet style guide and, by extension, keep your code lint-clean? It's up to you, but here are a couple of things to think about:

  • It makes sense to use some style conventions, especially when you're working collaboratively on code. Unless you and your colleagues can agree on standards for whitespace, tabs, quoting, alignment, and so on, your code will be messy and difficult to read or maintain.

  • If you're choosing a set of style conventions to follow, the logical choice would be that issued by puppetlabs and adopted by the community for use in public modules.

Having said that, it's possible to tell Puppet-lint to ignore certain checks if you've chosen not to adopt them in your codebase. For example, if you don't want Puppet-lint to warn you about code lines exceeding 80 characters, you can run Puppet-lint with the following option:

[email protected] ~$ puppet-lint --no-80chars-check

Run puppet-lint --help to see the complete list of check configuration commands.

See also

  • The Automatic syntax checking with Git hooks recipe in Chapter 2, Puppet Infrastructure

  • The Testing your Puppet manifests with rspec-puppet recipe in Chapter 9, External Tools and the Puppet Ecosystem


Using modules

One of the most important things you can do to make your Puppet manifests clearer and more maintainable is to organize them into modules.

Modules are self-contained bundles of Puppet code that include all the files necessary to implement a thing. Modules may contain flat files, templates, Puppet manifests, custom fact declarations, augeas lenses, and custom Puppet types and providers.

Separating things into modules makes it easier to reuse and share code; it's also the most logical way to organize your manifests. In this example, we'll create a module to manage memcached, a memory caching system commonly used with web applications.

How to do it…

Following are the steps to create an example module:

  1. We will use Puppet's module subcommand to create the directory structure for our new module:

    [email protected]:~$ mkdir -p .puppet/modules
    [email protected]:~$ cd .puppet/modules
    [email protected]:~/.puppet/modules$ puppet module generate thomas-memcached
    We need to create a metadata.json file for this module.  Please answer the following questions; if the question is not applicable to this module, feel free to leave it blank. Puppet uses Semantic Versioning (semver.org) to version modules.What version is this module?  [0.1.0]
    --> Who wrote this module?  [thomas]
    --> What license does this module code fall under?  [Apache 2.0]
    --> How would you describe this module in a single sentence?
    --> A module to install memcached Where is this module's source code repository?
    --> Where can others go to learn more about this module?
    --> Where can others go to file issues about this module?
      "name": "thomas-memcached",
      "version": "0.1.0",
      "author": "thomas",
      "summary": "A module to install memcached",
      "license": "Apache 2.0",
      "source": "",
      "issues_url": null,
      "project_page": null,
      "dependencies": [
          "version_range": ">= 1.0.0",
          "name": "puppetlabs-stdlib"
    About to generate this metadata; continue? [n/Y]
    --> y
    Notice: Generating module at /home/thomas/.puppet/modules/thomas-memcached...
    Notice: Populating ERB templates...
    Finished; module generated in thomas-memcached.

    This command creates the module directory and creates some empty files as starting points. To use the module, we'll create a symlink to the module name (memcached).

    [email protected]:~/.puppet/modules$ ln –s thomas-memcached memcached
  2. Now, edit memcached/manifests/init.pp and change the class definition at the end of the file to the following. Note that puppet module generate created many lines of comments; in a production module you would want to edit those default comments:

    class memcached {
      package { 'memcached':
        ensure => installed,
      file { '/etc/memcached.conf':
        source  => 'puppet:///modules/memcached/memcached.conf',
        owner   => 'root',
        group   => 'root',
        mode    => '0644',
        require => Package['memcached'],
      service { 'memcached':
        ensure  => running,
        enable  => true,
        require => [Package['memcached'],
  3. Create the modules/thomas-memcached/files directory and then create a file named memcached.conf with the following contents:

    -m 64
    -p 11211
    -u nobody
  4. Change your site.pp file to the following:

    node default {
      include memcached
  5. We would like this module to install memcached. We'll need to run Puppet with root privileges, and we'll use sudo for that. We'll need Puppet to be able to find the module in our home directory; we can specify this on the command line when we run Puppet as shown in the following code snippet:

    [email protected]:~$ sudo puppet apply --modulepath=/home/thomas/.puppet/modules /home/thomas/.puppet/manifests/site.pp
    Notice: Compiled catalog for cookbook.example.com in environment production in 0.33 seconds
    Notice: /Stage[main]/Memcached/File[/etc/memcached.conf]/content: content changed '{md5}a977521922a151c959ac953712840803' to '{md5}9429eff3e3354c0be232a020bcf78f75'
    Notice: Finished catalog run in 0.11 seconds
  6. Check whether the new service is running:

    [email protected]:~$ sudo service memcached status
    [ ok ] memcached is running.

How it works…

When we created the module using Puppet's module generate command, we used the name thomas-memcached. The name before the hyphen is your username or your username on Puppet forge (an online repository of modules). Since we want Puppet to be able to find the module by the name memcached, we make a symbolic link between thomas-memcached and memcached.

Modules have a specific directory structure. Not all of these directories need to be present, but if they are, this is how they should be organized:

  └MODULE_NAME/  never use a dash (-) in a module name
     └examples/ example usage of the module
     └files/ flat files used by the module
        └facter/ define new facts for facter
              └functions/ define a new puppet function, like sort() 
           └provider/ define a provider for a new or existing type
           └util/ define helper functions (in ruby)
           └type/ define a new type in puppet
        └init.pp  class MODULE_NAME { }
     └spec/ rSpec tests
     └templates/ erb template files used by the module

All manifest files (those containing Puppet code) live in the manifests directory. In our example, the memcached class is defined in the manifests/init.pp file, which will be imported automatically.

Inside the memcached class, we refer to the memcached.conf file:

file { '/etc/memcached.conf':
  source => 'puppet:///modules/memcached/memcached.conf',

The preceding source parameter tells Puppet to look for the file in:

MODULEPATH/ (/home/thomas/.puppet/modules)




There's more…

Learn to love modules because they'll make your Puppet life a lot easier. They're not complicated, however, practice and experience will help you judge when things should be grouped into modules, and how best to arrange your module structure. Modules can hold more than manifests and files as we'll see in the next two sections.


If you need to use a template as a part of the module, place it in the module's templates directory and refer to it as follows:

file { '/etc/memcached.conf':
  content => template('memcached/memcached.conf.erb'),

Puppet will look for the file in:


Facts, functions, types, and providers

Modules can also contain custom facts, custom functions, custom types, and providers.

For more information about these, refer to Chapter 9, External Tools and the Puppet Ecosystem.

Third-party modules

You can download modules provided by other people and use them in your own manifests just like the modules you create. For more on this, see Using Public Modules recipe in Chapter 7, Managing Applications.

Module organization

For more details on how to organize your modules, see puppetlabs website:


See also

  • The Creating custom facts recipe in Chapter 9, External Tools and the Puppet Ecosystem

  • The Using public modules recipe in Chapter 7, Managing Applications

  • The Creating your own resource types recipe in Chapter 9, External Tools and the Puppet Ecosystem

  • The Creating your own providers recipe in Chapter 9, External Tools and the Puppet Ecosystem


Using standard naming conventions

Choosing appropriate and informative names for your modules and classes will be a big help when it comes to maintaining your code. This is even truer if other people need to read and work on your manifests.

How to do it…

Here are some tips on how to name things in your manifests:

  1. Name modules after the software or service they manage, for example, apache or haproxy.

  2. Name classes within modules (subclasses) after the function or service they provide to the module, for example, apache::vhosts or rails::dependencies.

  3. If a class within a module disables the service provided by that module, name it disabled. For example, a class that disables Apache should be named apache::disabled.

  4. Create a roles and profiles hierarchy of modules. Each node should have a single role consisting of one or more profiles. Each profile module should configure a single service.

  5. The module that manages users should be named user.

  6. Within the user module, declare your virtual users within the class user::virtual (for more on virtual users and other resources, see the Using virtual resources recipe in Chapter 5, Users and Virtual Resources).

  7. Within the user module, subclasses for particular groups of users should be named after the group, for example, user::sysadmins or user::contractors.

  8. When using Puppet to deploy the config files for different services, name the file after the service, but with a suffix indicating what kind of file it is, for example:

    • Apache init script: apache.init

    • Logrotate config snippet for Rails: rails.logrotate

    • Nginx vhost file for mywizzoapp: mywizzoapp.vhost.nginx

    • MySQL config for standalone server: standalone.mysql

  9. If you need to deploy a different version of a file depending on the operating system release, for example, you can use a naming convention like the following:

  10. You can have Puppet automatically select the appropriate version as follows:

    source = > "puppet:///modules/memcached
  11. If you need to manage, for example, different Ruby versions, name the class after the version it is responsible for, for example, ruby192 or ruby186.

There's more…

Puppet community maintains a set of best practice guidelines for your Puppet infrastructure, which includes some hints on naming conventions:


Some people prefer to include multiple classes on a node by using a comma-separated list, rather than separate include statements, for example:

  node 'server014' inherits 'server' {
    include mail::server, repo::gem, repo::apt, zabbix

This is a matter of style, but I prefer to use separate include statements, one on a line, because it makes it easier to copy and move around class inclusions between nodes without having to tidy up the commas and indentation every time.

I mentioned inheritance in a couple of the preceding examples; if you're not sure what this is, don't worry, I'll explain this in detail in the next chapter.


Using inline templates

Templates are a powerful way of using Embedded Ruby (ERB) to help build config files dynamically. You can also use ERB syntax directly without having to use a separate file by calling the inline_template function. ERB allows you to use conditional logic, iterate over arrays, and include variables.

How to do it…

Here's an example of how to use inline_template:

Pass your Ruby code to inline_template within Puppet manifest, as follows:

cron { 'chkrootkit':
  command => '/usr/sbin/chkrootkit >
    /var/log/chkrootkit.log 2>&1',
  hour    => inline_template('<%= @hostname.sum % 24 %>'),
  minute  => '00',

How it works…

Anything inside the string passed to inline_template is executed as if it were an ERB template. That is, anything inside the <%= and %> delimiters will be executed as Ruby code, and the rest will be treated as a string.

In this example, we use inline_template to compute a different hour for this cron resource (a scheduled job) for each machine, so that the same job does not run at the same time on all machines. For more on this technique, see the Distributing cron jobs efficiently recipe in Chapter 6, Managing Resources and Files.

There's more...

In ERB code, whether inside a template file or an inline_template string, you can access your Puppet variables directly by name using an @ prefix, if they are in the current scope or the top scope (facts):

<%= @fqdn %>

To reference variables in another scope, use scope.lookupvar, as follows:

<%= "The value of something from otherclass is " + scope.lookupvar('otherclass::something') %>

You should use inline templates sparingly. If you really need to use some complicated logic in your manifest, consider using a custom function instead (see the Creating custom functions recipe in Chapter 9, External Tools and the Puppet Ecosystem).

See also

  • The Using ERB templates recipe in Chapter 4, Working with Files and Packages

  • The Using array iteration in templates recipe in Chapter 4, Working with Files and Packages


Iterating over multiple items

Arrays are a powerful feature in Puppet; wherever you want to perform the same operation on a list of things, an array may be able to help. You can create an array just by putting its content in square brackets:

$lunch = [ 'franks', 'beans', 'mustard' ]

How to do it…

Here's a common example of how arrays are used:

  1. Add the following code to your manifest:

    $packages = [ 'ruby1.8-dev',
      'libopenssl-ruby' ]
    package { $packages: ensure => installed }
  2. Run Puppet and note that each package should now be installed.

How it works…

Where Puppet encounters an array as the name of a resource, it creates a resource for each element in the array. In the example, a new package resource is created for each of the packages in the $packages array, with the same parameters (ensure => installed). This is a very compact way to instantiate many similar resources.

There's more…

Although arrays will take you a long way with Puppet, it's also useful to know about an even more flexible data structure: the hash.

Using hashes

A hash is like an array, but each of the elements can be stored and looked up by name (referred to as the key), for example (hash.pp):

$interface = {
  'name' => 'eth0',
  'ip'   => '',
  'mac'  => '52:54:00:4a:60:07' 
notify { "(${interface['ip']}) at ${interface['mac']} on ${interface['name']}": }

When we run Puppet on this, we see the following notify in the output:

[email protected]:~/.puppet/manifests$ puppet apply hash.pp
Notice: ( at 52:54:00:4a:60:07 on etho

Hash values can be anything that you can assign to variables, strings, function calls, expressions, and even other hashes or arrays. Hashes are useful to store a bunch of information about a particular thing because by accessing each element of the hash using a key, we can quickly find the information for which we are looking.

Creating arrays with the split function

You can declare literal arrays using square brackets, as follows:

define lunchprint() {
  notify { "Lunch included ${name}":}": }

$lunch = ['egg', 'beans', 'chips']
lunchprint { $lunch: }

Now, when we run Puppet on the preceding code, we see the following notice messages in the output:

[email protected] ~ $ puppet apply lunchprint.pp 
Notice: Lunch included chips
Notice: Lunch included beans
Notice: Lunch included egg

However, Puppet can also create arrays for you from strings, using the split function, as follows:

$menu = 'egg beans chips'
$items = split($menu, ' ')
lunchprint { $items: }

Running puppet apply against this new manifest, we see the same messages in the output:

[email protected] ~ $ puppet apply lunchprint2.pp 
Notice: Lunch included chips
Notice: Lunch included beans
Notice: Lunch included egg.

Note that split takes two arguments: the first argument is the string to be split. The second argument is the character to split on; in this example, a single space. As Puppet works its way through the string, when it encounters a space, it will interpret it as the end of one item and the beginning of the next. So, given the string 'egg beans chips', this will be split into three items.

The character to split on can be any character or string:

$menu = 'egg and beans and chips'
$items = split($menu, ' and ')

The character can also be a regular expression, for example, a set of alternatives separated by a | (pipe) character:

$lunch = 'egg:beans,chips'
$items = split($lunch, ':|,')

Writing powerful conditional statements

Puppet's if statement allows you to change the manifest behavior based on the value of a variable or an expression. With it, you can apply different resources or parameter values depending on certain facts about the node, for example, the operating system, or the memory size.

You can also set variables within the manifest, which can change the behavior of included classes. For example, nodes in data center A might need to use different DNS servers than nodes in data center B, or you might need to include one set of classes for an Ubuntu system, and a different set for other systems.

How to do it…

Here's an example of a useful conditional statement. Add the following code to your manifest:

  if $::timezone == 'UTC' {
    notify { 'Universal Time Coordinated':}
  } else {
    notify { "$::timezone is not UTC": }

How it works…

Puppet treats whatever follows an if keyword as an expression and evaluates it. If the expression evaluates to true, Puppet will execute the code within the curly braces.

Optionally, you can add an else branch, which will be executed if the expression evaluates to false.

There's more…

Here are some more tips on using if statements.

Elseif branches

You can add further tests using the elseif keyword, as follows:

if $::timezone == 'UTC' {
  notify { 'Universal Time Coordinated': }
} elseif $::timezone == 'GMT' {
  notify { 'Greenwich Mean Time': }
} else {
  notify { "$::timezone is not UTC": }


You can check whether two values are equal using the == syntax, as in our example:

if $::timezone == 'UTC' {

Alternatively, you can check whether they are not equal using !=:

if $::timezone != 'UTC' {

You can also compare numeric values using < and >:

if $::uptime_days > 365 {
  notify { 'Time to upgrade your kernel!': }

To test whether a value is greater (or less) than or equal to another value, use <= or >=:

if $::mtu_eth0 <= 1500 {
  notify {"Not Jumbo Frames": }

Combining expressions

You can put together the kind of simple expressions described previously into more complex logical expressions, using and, or, and not:

if ($::uptime_days > 365) and ($::kernel == 'Linux') {

if ($role == 'webserver') and ( ($datacenter == 'A') or ($datacenter == 'B') ) {

See also

  • The Using the in operator recipe in this chapter

  • The Using selectors and case statements recipe in this chapter


Using regular expressions in if statements

Another kind of expression you can test in if statements and other conditionals is the regular expression. A regular expression is a powerful way to compare strings using pattern matching.

How to do it…

This is one example of using a regular expression in a conditional statement. Add the following to your manifest:

if $::architecture =~ /64/ {
  notify { '64Bit OS Installed': }
} else {
  notify { 'Upgrade to 64Bit': }
  fail('Not 64 Bit')

How it works…

Puppet treats the text supplied between the forward slashes as a regular expression, specifying the text to be matched. If the match succeeds, the if expression will be true and so the code between the first set of curly braces will be executed. In this example, we used a regular expression because different distributions have different ideas on what to call 64bit; some use amd64, while others use x86_64. The only thing we can count on is the presence of the number 64 within the fact. Some facts that have version numbers in them are treated as strings to Puppet. For instance, $::facterversion. On my test system, this is 2.0.1, but when I try to compare that with 2, Puppet fails to make the comparison:

Error: comparison of String with 2 failed at /home/thomas/.puppet/manifests/version.pp:1 on node cookbook.example.com

If you wanted instead to do something if the text does not match, use !~ rather than =~:

if $::kernel !~ /Linux/ {
  notify { 'Not Linux, could be Windows, MacOS X, AIX, or ?': }

There's more…

Regular expressions are very powerful, but can be difficult to understand and debug. If you find yourself using a regular expression so complex that you can't see at a glance what it does, think about simplifying your design to make it easier. However, one particularly useful feature of regular expressions is the ability to capture patterns.

Capturing patterns

You can not only match text using a regular expression, but also capture the matched text and store it in a variable:

$input = 'Puppet is better than manual configuration'
if $input =~ /(.*) is better than (.*)/ {
  notify { "You said '${0}'. Looks like you're comparing ${1}
    to ${2}!": }

The preceding code produces this output:

You said 'Puppet is better than manual configuration'. Looks like you're comparing Puppet to manual configuration!

The variable $0 stores the whole matched text (assuming the overall match succeeded). If you put brackets around any part of the regular expression, it creates a group, and any matched groups will also be stored in variables. The first matched group will be $1, the second $2, and so on, as shown in the preceding example.

Regular expression syntax

Puppet's regular expression syntax is the same as Ruby's, so resources that explain Ruby's regular expression syntax will also help you with Puppet. You can find a good introduction to Ruby's regular expression syntax at this website:


See also

  • Refer to the Using regular expression substitutions recipe in this chapter


Using selectors and case statements

Although you could write any conditional statement using if, Puppet provides a couple of extra forms to help you express conditionals more easily: the selector and the case statement.

How to do it…

Here are some examples of selector and case statements:

  1. Add the following code to your manifest:

    $systemtype = $::operatingsystem ? {
      'Ubuntu' => 'debianlike',
      'Debian' => 'debianlike',
      'RedHat' => 'redhatlike',
      'Fedora' => 'redhatlike',
      'CentOS' => 'redhatlike',
      default  => 'unknown',
    notify { "You have a ${systemtype} system": }
  2. Add the following code to your manifest:

    class debianlike {
      notify { 'Special manifest for Debian-like systems': }
    class redhatlike {
      notify { 'Special manifest for RedHat-like systems': }
    case $::operatingsystem {
      'Debian': {
        include debianlike
      'Springdale': {
        include redhatlike
      default: {
        notify { "I don't know what kind of system you have!":

How it works…

Our example demonstrates both the selector and the case statement, so let's see in detail how each of them works.


In the first example, we used a selector (the ? operator) to choose a value for the $systemtype variable depending on the value of $::operatingsystem. This is similar to the ternary operator in C or Ruby, but instead of choosing between two possible values, you can have as many values as you like.

Puppet will compare the value of $::operatingsystem to each of the possible values we have supplied in Ubuntu, Debian, and so on. These values could be regular expressions (for example, for a partial string match, or to use wildcards), but in our case, we have just used literal strings.

As soon as it finds a match, the selector expression returns whatever value is associated with the matching string. If the value of $::operatingsystem is Fedora, for example, the selector expression will return the redhatlike string and this will be assigned to the variable $systemtype.

Case statement

Unlike selectors, the case statement does not return a value. case statements come in handy when you want to execute different code depending on the value of some expression. In our second example, we used the case statement to include either the debianlike or redhatlike class, depending on the value of $::operatingsystem.

Again, Puppet compares the value of $::operatingsystem to a list of potential matches. These could be regular expressions or strings, or as in our example, comma-separated lists of strings. When it finds a match, the associated code between curly braces is executed. So, if the value of $::operatingsystem is Ubuntu, then the code including debianlike will be executed.

There's more…

Once you've got a grip of the basic use of selectors and case statements, you may find the following tips useful.

Regular expressions

As with if statements, you can use regular expressions with selectors and case statements, and you can also capture the values of the matched groups and refer to them using $1, $2, and so on:

case $::lsbdistdescription {
  /Ubuntu (.+)/: {
    notify { "You have Ubuntu version ${1}": }
  /CentOS (.+)/: {
    notify { "You have CentOS version ${1}": }
  default: {}


Both selectors and case statements let you specify a default value, which is chosen if none of the other options match (the style guide suggests you always have a default clause defined):

$lunch = 'Filet mignon.'
$lunchtype =  $lunch ? {
  /fries/ => 'unhealthy',
  /salad/ => 'healthy',
  default => 'unknown',

notify { "Your lunch was ${lunchtype}": }

The output is as follows:

[email protected] ~ $ puppet apply lunchtype.pp
Notice: Your lunch was unknown
Notice: /Stage[main]/Main/Notify[Your lunch was unknown]/message: defined 'message' as 'Your lunch was unknown'

When the default action shouldn't normally occur, use the fail() function to halt the Puppet run.


Using the in operator

The in operator tests whether one string contains another string. Here's an example:

if 'spring' in 'springfield'

The preceding expression is true if the spring string is a substring of springfield, which it is. The in operator can also test for membership of arrays as follows:

if $crewmember in ['Frank', 'Dave', 'HAL' ]

When in is used with a hash, it tests whether the string is a key of the hash:

$ifaces = { 'lo'   => '', 
            'eth0' => '' }
if 'eth0' in $ifaces {
  notify { "eth0 has address ${ifaces['eth0']}": }

How to do it…

The following steps will show you how to use the in operator:

  1. Add the following code to your manifest:

    if $::operatingsystem in [ 'Ubuntu', 'Debian' ] {
      notify { 'Debian-type operating system detected': }
    } elseif $::operatingsystem in [ 'RedHat', 'Fedora', 'SuSE', 'CentOS' ] {
      notify { 'RedHat-type operating system detected': }
    } else {
      notify { 'Some other operating system detected': }
  2. Run Puppet:

    [email protected]:~/.puppet/manifests$ puppet apply in.pp
    Notice: Compiled catalog for cookbook.example.com in environment production in 0.03 seconds
    Notice: Debian-type operating system detected
    Notice: /Stage[main]/Main/Notify[Debian-type operating system detected]/message: defined 'message' as 'Debian-type operating system detected'
    Notice: Finished catalog run in 0.02 seconds

There's more…

The value of an in expression is Boolean (true or false) so you can assign it to a variable:

$debianlike = $::operatingsystem in [ 'Debian', 'Ubuntu' ]

if $debianlike {
  notify { 'You are in a maze of twisty little packages, all alike': }

Using regular expression substitutions

Puppet's regsubst function provides an easy way to manipulate text, search and replace expressions within strings, or extract patterns from strings. We often need to do this with data obtained from a fact, for example, or from external programs.

In this example, we'll see how to use regsubst to extract the first three octets of an IPv4 address (the network part, assuming it's a /24 class C address).

How to do it…

Follow these steps to build the example:

  1. Add the following code to your manifest:

    $class_c = regsubst($::ipaddress, '(.*)\..*', '\1.0')
    notify { "The network part of ${::ipaddress} is ${class_c}": }
  2. Run Puppet:

    [email protected]:~/.puppet/manifests$ puppet apply ipaddress.pp 
    Notice: Compiled catalog for cookbook.example.com in environment production in 0.02 seconds
    Notice: The network part of is
    Notice: /Stage[main]/Main/Notify[The network part of is]/message: defined 'message' as 'The network part of is'
    Notice: Finished catalog run in 0.03 seconds

How it works…

The regsubst function takes at least three parameters: source, pattern, and replacement. In our example, we specified the source string as $::ipaddress, which, on this machine, is as follows:

We specify the pattern function as follows:


We specify the replacement function as follows:


The pattern captures all of the string up to the last period (\.) in the \1 variable. We then match on .*, which matches everything to the end of the string, so when we replace the string at the end with \1.0, we end up with only the network portion of the IP address, which evaluates to the following:

We could have got the same result in other ways, of course, including the following:

$class_c = regsubst($::ipaddress, '\.\d+$', '.0')

Here, we only match the last octet and replace it with .0, which achieves the same result without capturing.

There's more…

The pattern function can be any regular expression, using the same (Ruby) syntax as regular expressions in if statements.

See also

  • The Importing dynamic information recipe in Chapter 3, Writing Better Manifests

  • The Getting information about the environment recipe in Chapter 3, Writing Better Manifests

  • The Using regular expressions in if statements recipe in this chapter


Using the future parser

Puppet language is evolving at the moment; many features that are expected to be included in the next major release (4) are available if you enable the future parser.

Getting ready

  • Ensure that the rgen gem is installed.

  • Set parser = future in the [main] section of your puppet.conf(/etc/puppet/puppet.conf for open source Puppet as root,/etc/puppetlabs/puppet/puppet.conf for Puppet Enterprise, and~/.puppet/puppet.conf for a non-root user running puppet).

  • To temporarily test with the future parser, use --parser=future on the command line.

How to do it...

Many of the experimental features deal with how code is evaluated, for example, in an earlier example we compared the value of the $::facterversion fact with a number, but the value is treated as a string so the code fails to compile. Using the future parser, the value is converted and no error is reported as shown in the following command line output:

[email protected]:~/.puppet/manifests$ puppet apply --parser=future version.pp 
Notice: Compiled catalog for cookbook.example.com in environment production in 0.36 seconds
Notice: Finished catalog run in 0.03 seconds

Appending to and concatenating arrays

You can concatenate arrays with the + operator or append them with the << operator. In the following example, we use the ternary operator to assign a specific package name to the $apache variable. We then append that value to an array using the << operator:

$apache = $::osfamily ? {
  'Debian' => 'apache2',
  'RedHat' => 'httpd'
$packages = ['memcached'] << $apache
package {$packages: ensure => installed}

If we have two arrays, we can use the + operator to concatenate the two arrays. In this example, we define an array of system administrators ($sysadmins) and another array of application owners ($appowners). We can then concatenate the array and use it as an argument to our allowed users:

$sysadmins = [ 'thomas','john','josko' ]
$appowners = [ 'mike', 'patty', 'erin' ]
$users = $sysadmins + $appowners
notice ($users)

When we apply this manifest, we see that the two arrays have been joined as shown in the following command line output:

[email protected]:~/.puppet/manifests$ puppet apply --parser=future concat.pp Notice: [thomas, john, josko, mike, patty, erin]
Notice: Compiled catalog for cookbook.example.com in environment production in 0.36 seconds
Notice: Finished catalog run in 0.03 seconds
Merging Hashes

If we have two hashes, we can merge them using the same + operator we used for arrays. Consider our $interfaces hash from a previous example; we can add another interface to the hash:

$iface = {
  'name' => 'eth0',
  'ip'   => '',
  'mac'  => '52:54:00:4a:60:07' 
}  + {'route' => ''}
notice ($iface)

When we apply this manifest, we see that the route attribute has been merged into the hash (your results may differ, the order in which the hash prints is unpredictable), as follows:

[email protected]:~/.puppet/manifests$ puppet apply --parser=future hash2.pp
Notice: {route =>, name => eth0, ip =>, mac => 52:54:00:4a:60:07}
Notice: Compiled catalog for cookbook.example.com in environment production in 0.36 seconds
Notice: Finished catalog run in 0.03 seconds

Lambda functions

Lambda functions are iterators applied to arrays or hashes. You iterate through the array or hash and apply an iterator function such as each, map, filter, reduce, or slice to each element of the array or key of the hash. Some of the lambda functions return a calculated array or value; others such as each only return the input array or hash.

Lambda functions such as map and reduce use temporary variables that are thrown away after the lambda has finished. Use of lambda functions is something best shown by example. In the next few sections, we will show an example usage of each of the lambda functions.


Reduce is used to reduce the array to a single value. This can be used to calculate the maximum or minimum of the array, or in this case, the sum of the elements of the array:

$count = [1,2,3,4,5]
$sum = reduce($count) | $total, $i | { $total + $i }
notice("Sum is $sum")

This preceding code will compute the sum of the $count array and store it in the $sum variable, as follows:

[email protected]:~/.puppet/manifests$ puppet apply --parser future lambda.pp
Notice: Sum is 15
Notice: Compiled catalog for cookbook.example.com in environment production in 0.36 seconds
Notice: Finished catalog run in 0.03 seconds

Filter is used to filter the array or hash based upon a test within the lambda function. For instance to filter our $count array as follows:

$filter = filter ($count) | $i | { $i > 3 } notice("Filtered array is $filter")

When we apply this manifest, we see that only elements 4 and 5 are in the result:

Notice: Filtered array is [4, 5]

Map is used to apply a function to each element of the array. For instance, if we wanted (for some unknown reason) to compute the square of all the elements of the array, we would use map as follows:

$map = map ($count) | $i | { $i * $i } notice("Square of array is $map")

The result of applying this manifest is a new array with every element of the original array squared (multiplied by itself), as shown in the following command line output:

Notice: Square of array is [1, 4, 9, 16, 25]

Slice is useful when you have related values stored in the same array in a sequential order. For instance, if we had the destination and port information for a firewall in an array, we could split them up into pairs and perform operations on those pairs:

$firewall_rules = ['','80','','443']
slice ($firewall_rules,2) |$ip, $port| { notice("Allow $ip on $port") }

When applied, this manifest will produce the following notices:

Notice: Allow on 80
Notice: Allow on 443

To make this a useful example, create a new firewall resource within the block of the slice instead of notice:

slice ($firewall_rules,2) |$ip, $port| { firewall {"$port from $ip": dport  => $port, source => "$ip", action => 'accept', }

Each is used to iterate over the elements of the array but lacks the ability to capture the results like the other functions. Each is the simplest case where you simply wish to do something with each element of the array, as shown in the following code snippet:

each ($count) |$c| { notice($c) }

As expected, this executes the notice for each element of the $count array, as follows:

Notice: 1
Notice: 2
Notice: 3
Notice: 4
Notice: 5
Other features

There are other new features of Puppet language available when using the future parser. Some increase readability or compactness of code. For more information, refer to the documentation on puppetlabs website at http://docs.puppetlabs.com/puppet/latest/reference/experiments_future.html.

About the Authors

  • Thomas Uphill

    Thomas Uphill has been working with Unix and Linux since the 90s. He primarily works on Linux and has an RHCA from RedHat. He's written several books on Puppet and routinely presents on Linux and Puppet at conferences such as Puppet Conf and LISA. He enjoys writing code in Ruby and Python. When not working, he blogs at ramblings.narrabilis.com and @uphillian on Twitter and IRC.

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  • John Arundel

    John Arundel is a DevOps consultant, which means he helps people build world-class web operations teams and infrastructures and has fun doing it. He was formerly a senior operations engineer at global telco Verizon, designing resilient, high-performance infrastructures for major corporations such as Ford, McDonald's, and Bank of America. He is now an independent consultant, working closely with selected clients to deliver web-scale performance and enterprise-grade resilience on a startup budget.

    He likes writing books, especially about Puppet (Puppet 2.7 Cookbook and Puppet 3 Cookbook are available from Packt). He also provides training and coaching on Puppet and DevOps, which, it turns out, is far harder than simply doing the work himself.

    Off the clock, he is a medal-winning, competitive rifle and pistol shooter and a decidedly uncompetitive piano player. He lives in a small cottage in Cornwall, England and believes, like Cicero, that, if you have a garden and a library, then you have everything you need.

    You may like to follow him on Twitter at @bitfield.

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Puppet Cookbook - Third Edition
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