At times you need to gather information from a client machine before you can generate its configuration. For example, if some of your machines have both a local scratch disk and a system disk while others only have the system disk, you would want to know this information to correctly generate an /etc/auto.master autofs config file for each type. Here we will look at how to do this.
First, create a Probes directory in our toplevel repository location:
This directory will hold any small scripts we want to use to grab information from client machines. These scripts can be in any scripting language; the shebang line (the #!/usr/bin/env some_interpreter_binary line at the very top of the script) is used to determine the script’s interpreter.
Bcfg2 uses python mkstemp to create the Probe scripts on the client. If your /tmp directory is mounted noexec, you will likely need to modify the TMPDIR environment variable so that the bcfg2 client creates the temporary files in a directory from which it can execute.
New in version 1.3.0.
A probe script must exit with a return value of 0. If it exits with a non-0 return value, the client will abort its run. This behavior can be disabled by setting exit_on_probe_failure = 0 in the [client] section of bcfg2.conf.
Now we need to figure out what exactly we want to do. In this case, we want to hand out an /etc/auto.master file that looks like:
/software /etc/auto.software --timeout 3600 /home /etc/auto.home --timeout 3600 /hometest /etc/auto.hometest --timeout 3600 /nfs /etc/auto.nfs --timeout 3600 /scratch /etc/auto.scratch --timeout 3600
for machines that have a scratch disk. For machines without an extra disk, we want to get rid of that last line:
/software /etc/auto.software --timeout 3600 /home /etc/auto.home --timeout 3600 /hometest /etc/auto.hometest --timeout 3600 /nfs /etc/auto.nfs --timeout 3600
So, from the Probes standpoint we want to create a script that counts the number of SCSI disks in a client machine. To do this, we create a very simple Probes/scratchlocal script:
grep -c Vendor /proc/scsi/scsi
Running this on a node with n disks will return the number n+1, as it also counts the controller as a device. To differentiate between the two classes of machines we care about, we just need to check the output of this script for numbers greater than 2. We do this in the template.
This example uses Cheetah Templates, but Cheetah templates are not required in order for Probes to operate properly.
For the template we will want to create a Cfg/etc/auto.master directory to hold the template of the file in question. Inside of this template we will need to check the result of the Probe script that got run and act accordingly. The Cfg/etc/auto.master/auto.master.cheetah file looks like:
/software /etc/auto.software --timeout 3600 /home /etc/auto.home --timeout 3600 /hometest /etc/auto.hometest --timeout 3600 /nfs /etc/auto.nfs --timeout 3600 #if int($self.metadata.Probes["scratchlocal"]) > 2 /scratch /etc/auto.scratch --timeout 3600 #end if
Any Probe script you run will store its output in $self.metadata.Probes["scriptname"], so we get to our scratchlocal script’s output as seen above. (See Handling Probe Output, below, for more information on how this is done.) Note that we had to wrap the output in an int() call; the script output is treated as a string, so it needs to be converted before it can be tested numerically.
With all of these pieces in place, the following series of events will happen when the client is run:
Now we have a nicely dynamic /etc/auto.master that can gracefully handle machines with different numbers of disks. All that’s left to do is to add the /etc/auto.master to a Bundle:
Bcfg2 stores output from probes in the Probes property of a client’s metadata object. To access this data in Genshi Templates, for instance, you could do:
This is not the full output of the probe; any lines that start with “group:” have been stripped from the output. The data is a string-like object that has some interesting and salient features:
If these conditions are not met, then the named properties will be None. In all other fashions, the probe data objects should act like strings.
Bcfg2 has the ability to alter probes based on client hostname and group membership. These files work similarly to files in Cfg.
If multiple files with the same basename apply to a client, the most specific one is used. Only one instance of a probe is served to a given client, so if a host-specific version and generic version apply, only the client-specific one will be used.
If you want to to detect information about the client operating system, the Ohai plugin can help.
New in version 1.3.0.
The Probes plugin stores the output of client probes locally on the Bcfg2 server in order to ensure that probe data and groups are available on server startup (rather than having to wait until all probes have run every time the server is restarted) and to bcfg2-info and related tools. There are two options for storing this data: Probes/probed.xml, a plain XML file stored in the Bcfg2 specification; or in a database.
Advantages and disadvantages of using the database:
To use the database-backed storage model, set use_database in the [probes] section of bcfg2.conf to true. You will also need to configure the Global Database Settings.
The file-based storage model is the default, although that is likely to change in future versions of Bcfg2.