How to Install SaltStack on a Raspberry Pi

Once you have the OS installed and (in the case of a Raspberry,) ntp working, you can install stuff. The first thing I want to install is SaltStack. With SaltStack, I can get the bulk of my system administrator tasks completed without having to remember everything to install. This will also be a little test, because the rest of my network computers are running Raspberry OS and I’m doing this install on Ubuntu 20.04. So, let’s get SaltStack running and we’ll see what the differences are. (Spoiler: didn’t find any differences in the procedure.)

Install SaltStack

The minion can be downloaded from here. Salt actually makes an automated install routine! It even works in our situation: Ubuntu 20 running on an armhf processor, so we can do the install really easily! Run these commands on each system that you want to manage using Salt. This also works to install saltstack on Raspberry Pi 10.

curl -L -o
sudo sh -P

You’ll see the curl command run and download the shell script. The next line runs that script and downloads what it needs and runs the install. If you get nervous about downloading scripts from the Internet and running them on your precious system (you should), you can follow the methods that I used to use that I outlined here. If you need to install saltstack on Raspbian 11, then follow this guide!

After a couple of minutes, you should see:

Setting up python3-croniter (0.3.29-2ubuntu1) …
Setting up python3-zmq (18.1.1-3) …
Setting up salt-common (3001.1+ds-1) …
Setting up salt-minion (3001.1+ds-1) …
Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/ → /lib/systemd/system/salt-minion.service.
Processing triggers for systemd (245.4-4ubuntu3.2) …
Processing triggers for man-db (2.9.1-1) …
Processing triggers for libc-bin (2.31-0ubuntu9.1) …
INFO: Running install_ubuntu_stable_post()
INFO: Running install_ubuntu_check_services()
INFO: Running install_ubuntu_restart_daemons()
INFO: Running daemons_running()
INFO: Salt installed!


The first thing I like to do after the installation is complete is check the minion_id. Edit the file: /etc/salt/minion_id and make sure you see the expected hostname in there. The install process likes to tack the local domain name. I routinely delete it. Some people just copy the hostname file:

sudo cp /etc/hostname /etc/salt/minion_id

Check that the service is enabled:

root@ubu2:~# systemctl enable --now salt-minion.service
Synchronizing state of salt-minion.service with SysV service script with /lib/systemd/systemd-sysv-install.
Executing: /lib/systemd/systemd-sysv-install enable salt-minion

Looks great. Restart:

root@ubu2:~# systemctl restart salt-minion.service
root@ubu2:~# systemctl status salt-minion.service
● salt-minion.service - The Salt Minion
Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/salt-minion.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
Active: active (running) since Fri 2020-10-09 12:25:58 EDT; 1s ago
Docs: man:salt-minion(1)
Main PID: 7573 (salt-minion)
Tasks: 4 (limit: 4436)
CGroup: /system.slice/salt-minion.service
├─7573 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-minion
├─7576 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-minion
├─7578 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/salt-minion
└─7630 [salt-minion]

Salt Master Tasks

It runs! Next, jump over to the salt-master and run salt-key to see if we can grab the key:

root@salt:~# salt-key
Denied Keys:
Unaccepted Keys:
Rejected Keys:

#winning! I’m going to delete the .local one and accept the naked one:

root@salt:~# salt-key -d ubu2.local
The following keys are going to be deleted:
Unaccepted Keys:
Proceed? [N/y] y
Key for minion ubu2.local deleted.
root@salt:~# salt-key -a ubu2
The following keys are going to be accepted:
Unaccepted Keys:
Proceed? [n/Y] y
Key for minion ubu2 accepted.

Finally, go for the gold! Try to pull the kernel name for a simple test:

The Final Test

root@salt:~# salt 'ubu2' 'uname -a'
Linux ubu2 5.4.0-1019-raspi #21-Ubuntu SMP PREEMPT Mon Sep 14 07:20:34 UTC 2020 aarch64 aarch64 aarch64 GNU/Linux
root@salt:~# salt 'ubu2' test.version

Hold your BINGO cards, Folks! We have a winner!

Next post, writing some initial SLS files to try to control our new minion!

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