7. QuickstartΒΆ

This tutorial is aimed at people learning cdist and shows typical approaches as well as gives an easy start into the world of configuration management.

For those who just want to configure a system with the cdist configuration management and do not need (or want) to understand everything.

This tutorial assumes you are configuring localhost, because it is always available. Just replace localhost with your target host for real life usage.

Cdist uses ssh for communication and transportation and usually logs into the target host as the root user. So you need to configure the ssh server of the target host to allow root logins: Edit the file /etc/ssh/sshd_config and add one of the following lines:

# Allow login only via public key
PermitRootLogin without-password

# Allow login via password and public key
PermitRootLogin yes

As cdist uses ssh intensively, it is recommended to setup authentication with public keys:

# Generate pubkey pair as a normal user

# Copy pubkey over to target host
ssh-copy-id root@localhost

Have a look at ssh-agent(1) and ssh-add(1) on how to cache the password for your public key. Usually it looks like this:

# Start agent and export variables
eval `ssh-agent`

# Add keys (requires password for every identity file)

At this point you should be able to ssh root@localhost without re-entering the password. If something failed until here, ensure that all steps went successfully and you have read and understood the documentation.

As soon as you are able to login without password to localhost, we can use cdist to configure it. You can copy and paste the following code into your shell to get started and configure localhost:

# Get cdist
git clone git@code.ungleich.ch:ungleich-public/cdist.git

# Create manifest (maps configuration to host(s)
cd cdist
echo '__file /etc/cdist-configured' > cdist/conf/manifest/init

# Configure localhost in verbose mode
./bin/cdist config -v localhost

# Find out that cdist created /etc/cdist-configured
ls -l /etc/cdist-configured

Note: cdist/conf is configuration directory shipped with cdist distribution. If exists, ~/.cdist, is also automatically used as cdist configuration directory. So in the above example you could create ~/.cdist directory, then ~/.cdist/manifest sub-directory and create init manifest ~/.cdist/manifest/init.

That's it, you've successfully used cdist to configure your first host! Continue reading the next sections, to understand what you did and how to create a more sophisticated configuration.