This version of Puppet is not included in Puppet Enterprise. The latest version of PE includes Puppet 4.10. A newer version is available; see the version menu above for details.
This frees you to use different versions of the same modules for different populations of nodes, which is useful for testing changes to your Puppet code before implementing them on production machines. (You could also do this by running a separate puppet master for testing, but using environments is often easier.)
Directory Environments vs. Config File Environments
There are two ways to set up environments on a puppet master: directory environments, and config file environments. Note that these are mutually exclusive — enabling one will completely disable the other.
This page is about directory environments, which are easier to use and will eventually replace config file environments completely. However, in Puppet 3.5, they cannot:
- Change the order of the
modulepathor remove parts of it
Those features are coming soon, probably in Puppet 3.6.
Enabling Directory Environments
In Puppet 3.5.1 and later, directory environments are disabled by default. To enable them, you must:
- Set a value for the
environmentpathsetting in the puppet master’s puppet.conf file.
- Most people should set
environmentpath = $confdir/environments. See the “About environmentpath” section below for more details.
- Most people should set
- Create at least one directory environment; you must have a directory environment for every environment that any nodes are assigned to. At minimum, you must have a
- Most people should move their
$confdir/environments/production/manifests. See the “Setting Up Environments on a Puppet Master” section below for details.
- Most people should move their
- Optionally, set the
basemodulepathsetting for global modules that should be available in all environments.
- Most people are fine with the default value. See the “About basemodulepath” section below for more details.
Warning: This Will Disable Config File Environments
If directory environments are enabled with the
environmentpath setting, they will completely disable config file environments. This means:
- Puppet will always ignore the
manifestsetting in puppet.conf.
- Puppet will always ignore the
modulepathsetting in puppet.conf.
- Puppet will always ignore any environment config sections in puppet.conf.
- If a node is assigned to a non-existent environment, the puppet master will fail compilation of its catalog.
The puppet master will only look for environments in certain directories, and only if the
environmentpath setting is set, in the
[main] section of puppet.conf. The recommended value for
$confdir/environments. (See here for info on the confdir.)
If you need to manage environments in multiple directories, you can set
environmentpath to a colon-separated list of directories. (For example:
$confdir/temporary_environments:$confdir/environments.) Puppet will search these directories in order, with earlier directories having precedence.
Note: In Puppet 3.5, there is a problem with setting
[master]section of puppet.conf, which causes
puppet config printto display wrong info about the effective modulepath or manifest values. You should set it in
Although environments should contain their own modules, you might want some modules to be available to all environments. (Since the environment’s module directory comes first in the modulepath, global modules can be overridden by duplicates in the environment’s directory.)
basemodulepath setting configures the global module directories. By default, it includes
$confdir/modules, which is good enough for most users. The default may also include another directory for “system” modules, depending on your OS and Puppet distribution:
|OS and Distro||Default basemodulepath|
|*nix (Puppet Enterprise)||
|*nix (open source)||
|Windows (PE and foss)||
To add additional directories containing global modules, you can set your own value for
basemodulepath. See the page on the modulepath for more details about how Puppet loads modules from the modulepath.
Setting Up Environments on a Puppet Master
A directory environment is just a directory that follows a few conventions:
- The directory name is the environment name.
- It should contain a
modulesdirectory and a
manifestsdirectory. (These are allowed to be empty or absent; see sections below for details.)
- It must be located in a directory that the puppet master searches for environments. (By default, that’s
$confdir/environments. See below for more info about this directory, including how to search additional directories.)
Once those conditions are met, the environment is fully configured. When serving nodes assigned to that environment, the puppet master will use the modules and the main manifest from that environment.
Manifests Directory → Main Manifest
If empty or absent: If a directory environment exists for the active environment, Puppet will not fall back to the default main manifest; instead, it will behave as though you used a totally blank main manifest. The global
manifest setting won’t be used.
Modules Directory → First Directory in Modulepath
When serving nodes from a directory environment, the effective modulepath will be:
<MODULES DIRECTORY FROM ENVIRONMENT>:$basemodulepath
That is, Puppet will add the environment’s
modules directory to the value of the
basemodulepath setting, with the environment getting priority.
You can view the effective modulepath by specifying the environment when requesting the setting value:
$ sudo puppet config print modulepath --section master --environment test /etc/puppet/environments/test/modules:/etc/puppet/modules:/usr/share/puppet/modules
- The puppet master is serving a node in the
- …which is located in the default
- …and the value of the
- …and the confdir is located at
…then the effective modulepath would be:
That is, modules from the environment will be used first, and modules from the global module directories will be used only if they aren’t overridden by a module of the same name in the active environment.
If empty or absent: If a directory environment exists for the active environment, Puppet will only use modules from directories in the
basemodulepath. The global
modulepath setting won’t be used.
Environment names can contain letters, numbers, and underscores. That is, they must match the following regular expression:
Additionally, there are four forbidden environment names:
These names can’t be used because they conflict with the primary config sections. This can be a problem with Git, because its default branch is named
master. You may need to rename the
master branch to something like
git branch -m master production).
No Interaction with Config File Environments
If directory environments are enabled (by setting the
environmentpath setting; see Enabling Directory Environments above), any config file environments will be completely ignored.
If you previously used dynamic environments and your
modulepath setting included additional global module directories, you may need to set a value for the
basemodulepath setting so that your directory environments will include those extra global directories.
Unconfigured Environments → Catalog Failure
If a node is assigned to an environment which doesn’t exist — that is, there is no directory of that name in any of the
environmentpath directories — the puppet master will fail compilation of its catalog.
Assigning Nodes to Environments
By default, all nodes are assigned to a default environment named
There are two ways to assign nodes to a different environment:
The value from the ENC is authoritative, if it exists. If the ENC doesn’t specify an environment, the node’s config value is used.
Via an ENC
The interface to set the environment for a node will be different for each ENC. Some ENCs cannot manage environments.
When writing an ENC, simply ensure that the
environment: key is set in the YAML output that the ENC returns. See the documentation on writing ENCs for details.
If the environment key isn’t set in the ENC’s YAML output, the puppet master will just use the environment requested by the agent.
Via the Agent’s Config File
In puppet.conf on each agent node, you can set the
environment setting in either the
main config section. When that node requests a catalog from the puppet master, it will request that environment.
If you are using an ENC and it specifies an environment for that node, it will override whatever is in the config file.
Referencing the Environment in Manifests
In Puppet manifests, you can get the name of the current environment by using the
$environment variable, which is set by the puppet master.
Other Information About Environments
This section of the Puppet reference manual has several other pages about environments:
- Suggestions for Use — common patterns and best practices for using environments.
- Limitations of Environments — environments mostly work, but they can be a bit wobbly in several situations.
- Environments and Puppet’s HTTPS Interface — this page explains how environment information is embedded in Puppet’s HTTPS requests, and how you can query environment data in order to build Puppet extensions.