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Choria Action Policy authorization plugin


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Version information

  • 3.2.0 (latest)
  • 3.1.0
  • 3.0.0
  • 2.2.0
released Dec 3rd 2019
This version is compatible with:
  • Puppet Enterprise 2023.5.x, 2023.4.x, 2023.3.x, 2023.2.x, 2023.1.x, 2023.0.x, 2021.7.x, 2021.6.x, 2021.5.x, 2021.4.x, 2021.3.x, 2021.2.x, 2021.1.x, 2021.0.x, 2019.8.x, 2019.7.x, 2019.5.x, 2019.4.x, 2019.3.x, 2019.2.x, 2019.1.x, 2019.0.x
  • Puppet >= 6.0.0

Start using this module

  • r10k or Code Manager
  • Bolt
  • Manual installation
  • Direct download

Add this module to your Puppetfile:

mod 'choria-mcollective_util_actionpolicy', '3.2.0'
Learn more about managing modules with a Puppetfile

Add this module to your Bolt project:

bolt module add choria-mcollective_util_actionpolicy
Learn more about using this module with an existing project

Manually install this module globally with Puppet module tool:

puppet module install choria-mcollective_util_actionpolicy --version 3.2.0

Direct download is not typically how you would use a Puppet module to manage your infrastructure, but you may want to download the module in order to inspect the code.



choria/mcollective_util_actionpolicy — version 3.2.0 Dec 3rd 2019

Choria Action Policy Authorization Plugin

This is a plugin that provides fine grained action level authorization for agents. Any MCollective agent plugins based on SimpleRPC can be restricted with authorization plugins like this one.


This agent is installed by default as part of the Choria Orchestrator.


There are three settings available for the actionpolicy plugin:

  • allow_unconfigured -- whether to allow requests to agents that do not have policy files configured. Boolean, with allowed values of 0, 1, y, n; values of true or false are not allowed. Defaults to 1 in Choria.
  • enable_default -- whether to use a default policy file. Boolean, with allowed values of 0, 1, y, n; values of true or false are not allowed. Defaults to 0.
  • default_name -- the name of the default policy file, if enable_default is set to 1 or y.

This plugin is enabled by default in the Choria Orchestrator, you can disable it completely if you wish:

  rpcauthorization: 0

Specific configuration options can be set as follows in Hiera, in general you will not need to adjust any of these it's all configured correctly by Choria:

  allow_unconfigured: false
  enable_default: false
  default_name: default.policy

Default Policy Files

You can optionally have a default policy file that applies in the absence of an agent-specific policy file.

  enable_default: 1
  default_name: default

This allows you to create a policy file called default.policy which will be used unless a specific policy file exists. Note that if both allow_unconfigured and enable_default are configured, all requests will go through the default policy, as enable_default takes precedence over allow_unconfigured.


Policies are defined in files like <configdir>/policies/<agent>.policy, the Choria Orchestrator allows you to configure all of this using Hiera, please consult the Choria AAA Documentation.

Below find references of the configuration files, in Choria all of these are managed by Hiera.

Example: Puppet agent policy file

# /etc/mcollective/policies/puppet.policy
policy default deny
allow   cert=admin          *                       *                *
allow   cert=acme-devs      *                       customer=acme    acme::devserver
allow   cert=acme-devs      enable disable status   customer=acme    *

# /etc/mcollective/policies/service.policy
policy default deny
allow   cert=puppet-admins  restart                 (puppet().enabled=false and environment=production) or environment=development

The above policy can be described as:

  • Allow the admin user to invoke all Puppet actions on all servers.
  • Allow the acme-devs user to invoke all Puppet actions on machines with the fact customer=acme and the config class acme::devserver
  • Allow the acme-devs user to invoke the enable, disable and status actions on all other machines with fact customer=acme
  • Allow the puppet-admins user to restart services at any time in development but in production only when Puppet has been disabled
  • All other commands get denied

Policy File Format

Policy files must have the following format:

  • Any lines starting with # are comments.
  • A single policy default deny or policy default allow line is permitted; it can go anywhere in the file. This default policy will apply to any commands that don't match a specific rule. If you don't specify a default policy, the value of the plugin.actionpolicy.allow_unconfigured setting will be used as the default.
  • Any number of policy lines are permitted. These must be tab delimited lines with either four or five fields (the final field is optional) in the following order:
    1. allow or deny
    2. Caller ID --- must be either * (always matches), a space-separated list of caller ID strings (see below) or a regular expression (see below)
    3. Actions --- must be either * (always matches) or a space-separated list of actions
    4. Facts --- may be either * (always matches), a space-separated list of fact=value pairs (matches if every listed fact matches), or any valid compound filter string
    5. Classes --- may be completely absent (always matches), * (always matches), a space-separated list of class names (matches if every listed class is present), or any valid compound filter string


  • Like firewall rules, policy lines are processed in order --- ActionPolicy will allow or deny each request using the first rule that matches it. A policy line matches a request if every field after the allow/deny field matches.
  • Policy lines must use hard tabs; editor features that convert tabs to spaces (like Vim's expandtab) will result in non-functional policy lines.
  • Compound filter strings may match on facts, classes, and data plugins (MCollective 2.2.x or later). When using data plugins in action policies, you should avoid using slow ones, as this will impact the response times of agents, the client waiting time, etc.

Caller ID

In the case of a single user the Caller ID strings are always of the form <kind>=<value>, but both the kind and the value of the ID will depend on your security plugin. See your security plugin's documentation or code for details. Multiple Caller IDs separated by spaces are supported to allow grouping similar callers together. You can also mix and match in regular expressions, thus cert=bob /cert=.+_admin$/ would be a valid match for cert=bob and cert=db_admin.

You can also define named groups of callers like sysadmin, see the Groups section below.

  • The recommended SSL security plugin sets caller IDs of cert=<NAME>, where <NAME> is the filename of the client's public key file (minus the .pem extension). So a request validated with the puppet-admins.pem public key file would be given a caller ID of cert=puppet-admins. This kind of caller ID is cryptographically authenticated.
  • The PSK security plugin defaults to caller IDs of uid=<UID>, where <UID> is the local UID of the client process. There are several other options available, which can be configured with the plugin.psk.callertype setting. None of PSK's caller IDs are authenticated, and you should generally not be relying on authorization at all if you are using the PSK security plugin.


You can create a file called <configdir>/policies/groups with content as here:

# sample groups file
sysadmins cert=sa1 cert=sa2

Fields are space separated, group names should match ^([\w\.\-]+)$

Here we create a sysadmins group that has 2 Caller IDs in it, the same rules as above for Caller IDs apply here. Only Caller IDs can be references not other groups.

This group can then be used where you would normal put a Caller ID:

allow   sysadmins      *                       customer=acme    acme::devserver

You can list multiple groups in space separated lists. You cannot mix certnames and group names in the same policy line.

Hardcoding ActionPolicy Into a Specific Agent

Instead of using the site-wide authorization settings (as described above), you can also hardcode authorization plugins in your agents:

module MCollective::Agent
  class Service<RPC::Agent
    authorized_by :action_policy

    # ...

By hardcoding, you're indicating that the ActionPolicy rules must allow this action or it will fail.