Maintaining the Console & Databases

A newer version is available; see the version menu above for details.

If PE’s console becomes sluggish or begins taking up too much disk space, there are several maintenance tasks that can improve its performance.

Pruning the Console Database with a Cron Job

For new PE installs (3.2 and later), a cron job, managed by a class in the puppetlabs-pe_console_prune module, is installed that will prevent bloating in the console database by deleting old data (mainly uploaded puppet run reports) after a set number of days. You can tweak the parameters of this class as needed, primarily the prune_upto parameter, which sets the time to keep records in the database. This parameter is set to 30 days by default.

However, to prevent users from deleting data without notice, the cron job is not installed on upgrades from versions earlier than 3.2.

To prevent bloating in the console database, we recommend adding the pe_console_prune class to the puppet_console group after upgrading to PE 3.2.

To access the prune_upto parameter:

  1. In the PE console, navigate to the Groups page.

  2. Select the puppet_console group.

  3. From the puppet_console group page, click the Edit button.

  4. From the class list, select pe_console_prune.

  5. From the pe_console_prune parameters dialog, edit the parameters as needed. The prune_upto parameter is at the bottom of the list.

  6. Click the Done button when finished.

Restarting the Background Tasks

The console uses several worker services to process reports in the background, and it displays a running count of pending tasks in the upper left corner of the interface:

The background tasks box with one pending task

If the number of pending tasks appears to be growing linearly, the background task processes may have died and left invalid PID files. To restart the worker tasks, run:

$ sudo /etc/init.d/pe-puppet-dashboard-workers restart

The number of pending tasks shown in the console should start decreasing rapidly after restarting the workers.

Optimizing the Database

PostgreSQL should have autovacuum=on set by default. If you’re having issues with the database growing too large and unwieldy, make sure this setting did not get turned off. In most cases, this should suffice. In some cases, more heavyweight maintenance measures may be needed (e.g. in cases of data corruption from hardware failures). To help with this, PE provides a rake task that performs advanced database maintenance.

This task, rake db:raw:optimize[mode], runs in three modes:

  • reindex mode will run the REINDEX DATABASE command on the console database. This is also the default mode if no mode is specified.
  • vacuum mode will run the VACUUM FULL command on the console database.
  • reindex+vacuum will run both of the above commands on the console database.

To run the task, change your working directory to /opt/puppet/share/puppet-dashboard and make sure your PATH variable contains /opt/puppet/bin (or use the full path to the rake binary). Then run the task rake db:raw:optimize[mode]. You can disregard any error messages about insufficient privileges to vacuum certain system objects because these objects should not require vacuuming. If you believe they do, you can do so manually by logging in to psql (or your tool of choice) as a database superuser.

Please note that you should have at least as much free space available as is currently in use, on the partition where your postgresql data is stored, prior to attempting a full vacuum. If you are using the PE-vendored postgresql, the postgres data is kept in /opt/puppet/var/lib/pgsql/.

The PostgreSQL docs contain more detailed information about vacuuming and reindexing.

Cleaning Old Reports

Agent node reports will build up over time in the console’s database. If you wish to delete the oldest reports for performance, storage, or policy reasons, you can use the reports:prune rake task.

For example, to delete reports more than one month old:

$ sudo /opt/puppet/bin/rake \
-f /opt/puppet/share/puppet-dashboard/Rakefile \
RAILS_ENV=production \
reports:prune upto=1 unit=mon

Although this task should be run regularly as a cron job, the actual frequency at which you set it to run will depend on your site’s policies.

If you run the reports:prune task without any arguments, it will display further usage instructions. The available units of time are yr, mon, wk, day, hr, and min.

Database Backups

You can back up and restore your PE databases by using the standard PostgreSQL tool, pg dump. At a minimum, we recommend nightly backups to a remote system for the console, console_auth, and PuppetDB databases, or as dictated by your company policy.

Providing comprehensive documentation about backing up and restoring PostgreSQL databases is beyond the scope of this guide, but the following commands should provide you enough guidance to perform back ups and restorations of your PE databases.

To backup the databases, run:

su - pe-postgres -s /bin/bash
pg_dump pe-puppetdb -f /tmp/pe-puppetdb.backup --create
pg_dump console -f /tmp/console.backup --create
pg_dump console_auth -f /tmp/console_auth.backup --create

To restore the databases, run:

su - pe-postgres -s /bin/bash
psql -f /tmp/pe-puppetdb.backup
psql -f /tmp/console.backup
psql -f /tmp/console_auth.backup

Changing the Console’s Database User/Password

The console uses a database user account to access its PostgreSQL database. If this user’s password is compromised, or if it needs to be changed periodically, do the following:

  1. Stop the pe-httpd service on the console server:

     $ sudo /etc/init.d/pe-httpd stop
  2. On the database server (which may or may not be the same as the console, depending on your deployment’s architecture) use the PostgreSQL administration tool of your choice to change the user’s password. With the standard psql client, you can do this with:

     ALTER USER console PASSWORD '<new password>';
  3. Edit /etc/puppetlabs/puppet-dashboard/database.yml on the console server and change the password: line under common (or under production, depending on your configuration) to contain the new password.
  4. Start the pe-httpd service on the console server:

     $ sudo /etc/init.d/pe-httpd start

You will use the same procedure to change the console_auth database user’s password, except you will need to edit both the /opt/puppet/share/console-auth/db/database.yml and /opt/puppet/share/rubycas-server/config.yml files.

The same procedure is also used for the PuppetDB user’s password, except you’ll edit /etc/puppetlabs/puppetdb/conf.d/database.ini and will restart the pe-puppetdb service.

Changing PuppetDB’s Parameters

PuppetDB parameters are set in the jetty.ini file, which is contained in the pe-puppetdb module. Jetty.ini is managed by PE, so if you change any PuppetDB parameters directly in the file, those changes will be overwritten on the next puppet run.

Instead, you should use the console to make changes to the parameters of the pe-puppetdb class. For example, the PuppetDB performance dashboard requires the listen_address parameter to be set to “”. So, in the console, you would edit the pe_puppetdb class so that the value of the listen_address parameter is set to “”.

Warning: This procedure will enable insecure access to the PuppetDB instance on your server.

If you are unfamiliar with editing class parameters in the console, refer to Editing Class Parameters on Nodes.

↑ Back to top