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Automated patching through desired state code


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Version information

  • 1.1.7 (latest)
  • 1.1.6
  • 1.1.5
  • 1.1.4
  • 1.1.3
  • 1.1.2
  • 1.1.1
  • 1.1.0
  • 1.0.5
  • 1.0.4
  • 1.0.3
  • 1.0.2
  • 1.0.1
  • 1.0.0
  • 0.7.11
  • 0.7.10
  • 0.7.9
  • 0.7.8
  • 0.7.7
  • 0.7.6
  • 0.7.5
  • 0.7.4
  • 0.7.3
  • 0.7.2
  • 0.7.1
  • 0.7.0
  • 0.6.2
  • 0.6.1
  • 0.6.0
  • 0.5.0
  • 0.4.3
  • 0.4.2
  • 0.4.1
  • 0.4.0
  • 0.3.0
  • 0.2.9
  • 0.2.8
  • 0.2.7
  • 0.2.6
  • 0.2.5
  • 0.2.4
  • 0.2.3
  • 0.2.2
  • 0.2.1
  • 0.2.0
  • 0.1.0
released Nov 1st 2022
This version is compatible with:
  • Puppet Enterprise 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 < 8.0.0
  • , , , , , , ,
  • install_kb

Start using this module

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

Add this module to your Puppetfile:

mod 'puppetlabs-patching_as_code', '1.1.7'
Learn more about managing modules with a Puppetfile

Add this module to your Bolt project:

bolt module add puppetlabs-patching_as_code
Learn more about using this module with an existing project

Manually install this module globally with Puppet module tool:

puppet module install puppetlabs-patching_as_code --version 1.1.7

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.



puppetlabs/patching_as_code — version 1.1.7 Nov 1st 2022


This module is supported by the Puppet community. We expect it to be of the same high quality as our own Supported modules, but it does not qualify for Puppet Support plans. See the CODEOWNERS file for usernames of the maintainers.

Table of Contents


This module provides automatic patch management for Linux, Windows and Chocolatey through desired state code.


What this module affects

This module will leverage the fact data provided by either the albatrossflavour/os_patching or PE 2019.8's builtin pe_patch module for OS patches and Linux application patches (when based on Linux package manager repositories). It is also able to detect outdated Chocolatey packages. Once available patches are known via the above facts, the module will install the patches during the configured patch window.

  • For Linux operating systems, this happens through the native Package resource in Puppet.
  • For Windows operating systems, this happens through the patching_as_code::kb class, which comes with this module.
  • For Chocolatey packages on Windows, this happens through the native Package resource in Puppet.
  • By default, a reboot is performed before patching when a pre-existing pending reboot is detected, as well as at the end of a patch run when one or more patches caused an OS reboot to become pending. You can change this behavior though, to either always reboot or never reboot.
  • You can define pre-patch, post-patch and pre-reboot commands for patching runs. We recommend that for Windows, you use Powershell-based commands for these. Specifically for pre-reboot commands on Windows, you must use Powershell-based commands.
  • This module will report the details of the last successful patch run in a patching_as_code fact.
  • This module will report the configuration for each node in a patching_as_code_config fact.
  • This module will report outdated Chocolatey packages for each node in a patching_as_code_choco fact.
  • You can define an alternate patch schedule for high priority patches, to allow patches on the high_priority_list to be installed on a different (often faster) patch cycle.

Setup Requirements

To start with patching_as_code, complete the following prerequirements:

  • Ensure this module and its dependencies are added to your control repo's Puppetfile.
  • If you are not running Puppet Enterprise 2019.8.0 or higher, you'll also need to add the albatrossflavour/os_patching module to your control repo's Puppetfile.
  • If you are running Puppet Enterprise 2019.8.0 or higher, the built-in pe_patch module will be used by default. You can however force the use of the os_patching module if so desired, by setting the optional patching_as_code::use_pe_patch parameter to false. To prevent duplicate declarations of the pe_patch class in PE 2019.8.0+, this module will default to NOT declaring the pe_patch class. This allows you to use the builtin "PE Patch Management" classification groups to classify pe_patch. If you however would like this module to control the classification of pe_patch for you (and sync the patch_group parameter, which is recommened), please set the patching_as_code::classify_pe_patch parameter to true.
  • For Linux operating systems, ensure your package managers are pointing to repositories that are publishing new package versions as needed
  • For Windows operating systems, ensure Windows Update is configured to check with a valid update server (either WSUS, Windows Update or Microsoft Update). If you want, you can use the puppetlabs/wsus_client module to manage the Windows Update configuration.
  • For Chocolatey packages, ensure your Chocolatey is pointing to repositories that are publishing new package versions as needed

Beginning with patching_as_code

To get started with the patching_as_code module, include it in your manifest:

include patching_as_code


class {'patching_as_code':}

This enables automatic detection of available OS patches, and puts all the nodes in the primary patch group. By default this will patch your systems on the 3rd Friday of the month, between 22:00 and midnight (00:00), and perform a reboot if necessary. On PE 2019.8 or newer this will not automatically classify the pe_patch class, so that you can control this through PE's builtin "PE Patch Management" node groups.

To allow patching_as_code to control & declare the pe_patch class, change the declaration to:

class {'patching_as_code':
  classify_pe_patch => true

This will change the behavior to also declare the pe_patch class, and match its patch_group parameter with this module's patch_group parameter. In this scenario, make sure you do not classify your nodes with pe_patch via the "PE Patch Management" node groups or other means.

To allow patching_as_code to control & declare the pe_patch class, and also patch Chocolatey packages, set the declaration to:

class {'patching_as_code':
  classify_pe_patch => true,
  patch_choco       => true


To control which patch group(s) a node belongs to, you need to set the patch_group parameter of the class. It is highly recommended to use Hiera to set the correct value for each node, for example:

patching_as_code::patch_group: early

The module provides 6 patch groups out of the box:

weekly:    patches each Thursday of the month, between 09:00 and 11:00, performs a reboot if needed
testing:   patches every 2nd Thursday of the month, between 07:00 and 09:00, performs a reboot if needed
early:     patches every 3rd Monday   of the month, between 20:00 and 22:00, performs a reboot if needed
primary:   patches every 3rd Friday   of the month, between 22:00 and 00:00, performs a reboot if needed
secondary: patches every 3rd Saturday of the month, between 22:00 and 00:00, performs a reboot if needed
late:      patches every 4th Saturday of the month, between 22:00 and 00:00, performs a reboot if needed

There are also 2 special built-in patch groups:

always:    patches immediately when a patch is available, can patch in any agent run, performs a reboot if needed
never:     never performs any patching and does not reboot

If you want to assign a node to multiple patch groups, specify an array of values in Hiera:

  - testing
  - early

or, in flow style:

patching_as_code::patch_group: [ testing, early ]

Note: if you assign a node to multiple patch groups, the value for the patch group provided to pe_patch/os_patching will be a space-separated list of the assigned patch groups. This is because pe_patch/os_patching do not natively support multiple patch groups, so we work around this by converting our list a single string that pe_patch/os_patching can work with. This is purely for cosmetic purposes and does not affect the functionality of either solution.

When using a local apply for iterative development, the default fact_upload => true for pe_patch or os_patching may be problematic. If so, you can set fact_upload => false for patching_os_code to temporarily disable this behavior.

Customizing the patch groups

You can customize the patch groups to whatever you need. To do so, simply copy the patching_as_code::patch_schedule hash from the data/common.yaml in this module, and paste it into your own Hiera store (recommended to place it in your Hiera's own common.yaml). This Hiera value will now override the defaults that the module provides. Customize the hash to your needs.

The hash has the following structure:

  <name of patch group>:
    day_of_week:   <day to patch systems>
    count_of_week: <the Nth time day_of_week occurs in the month>
    hours:         <start of patch window> - <end of patch window>
    max_runs:      <max number of times that Puppet can perform patching within the patch window>
    reboot:        always | never | ifneeded

For example, say you want to have the following 2 patch groups:

group1: patches every 2nd Sunday of the month, between 10:00 and 11:00, max 1 time, reboots if needed
group2: patches every 3nd and 4th Monday of the month, between 20:00 and 22:00, max 3 times, does not reboot
group3: patches every day in the 3rd week of the month, between 18:00 and 20:00, max 4 times, always reboots

then define the hash as follows:

    day_of_week: Sunday
    count_of_week: 2
    hours: 10:00 - 11:00
    max_runs: 1
    reboot: ifneeded
    day_of_week: Monday
    count_of_week: [3,4]
    hours: 20:00 - 22:00
    max_runs: 3
    reboot: never
    day_of_week: Any
    count_of_week: 3
    hours: 18:00 - 20:00
    max_runs: 4
    reboot: always

Controlling which patches get installed

If you need to limit which patches can get installed, use the blocklist/allowlist capabilties. This is best done through Hiera by defining an array values for patching_as_code::blocklist and/or patching_as_code::allowlist for Windows Updates and Linux packages. For Chocolatey packages, separate Hiera values patching_as_code::blocklist_choco and/or patching_as_code::allowlist_choco can be set.

To prevent KB2881685 and the 7zip Chocolatey package from getting installed/updated on Windows:

  - KB2881685
  - 7zip

To only allow the patching of a specific set of 3 Linux packages:

  - grafana
  - redis
  - nano

Allow lists and block lists can be combined, in that case the list of available updates first gets reduced to the what is allowed by the allowlist, and then gets further reduced by any blocklisted updates.

Setting a High Priority patch schedule and list

If you would like to install certain patches on a different, often faster, schedule compared to regular patches, you can configure this in the module. This requires specifying patches for the patching_as_code::high_priority_list and/or patching_as_code::high_priority_list_choco values in Hiera, and setting a patching_as_code::high_priority_patch_group to associate one of the patch schedules to this list.

For example, to allow the Microsoft Defender definition update and 7zip Chocolatey package to always be installed immediately:

patching_as_code::high_priority_patch_group: always
  - KB4052623
  - 7zip

Note that if you want to prevent any reboots from happening for your high priority runs, you should create a custom patch group that sets the reboot parameter to never, and use that group for the patching_as_code::high_priority_patch_group parameter.

Compatibility with puppetlabs/change_window

If you leverage the puppetlabs/change_window module to define custom change windows and want to use that module in combination with the High Priority patch window support in this module, you should leverage the high_priority_only parameter for the patching_as_code class to get the correct behavior. In this case, your logic should be something as follows:

$in_patch_window = Boolean(change_window::change_window($tz, $type, $window_wday, $window_time, $window_week, $window_month))

if $in_patch_window {
  class {'patching_as_code':
    high_priority_only => false,
else {
  class {'patching_as_code':
    high_priority_only => true,

This will allow patching_as_code to keep patch information up to date outside of the change window(s) defined by puppetlabs/change_window, and only perform regular patch runs when inside those change window(s). If you don't put any patches on the high_priority_list, running with high_priority_only => true will cause nothing to happen. Conversely, if you do need a high priority patch to be deployed, running with high_priority_only => true will allow those high priority patches to be installed. Use the patch schedule capabilities of patching_as_code to control when high priority patches are allowed to be installed, as well as whether reboots are allowed to happen at all.

To assist with the use case of combining with puppetlabs/change_window, the high_priority_only => true setting, when used with a patch schedule that allows reboots, will skip acting on pre-existing pending OS reboots at the start of the patch run. This is to ensure a reboot only occurs after patching and only when at least 1 high priority patch was installed. No changes are made to the system this way unless absolutely necessary because of a high priority patch.

Defining situations when patching needs to be skipped

There could be situations where you don't want patching to occur if certain conditions are met. This module supports two such situations:

  • A specific process is running that must not be interrupted by patching
  • The node to be patched is currently connected via a metered link (Windows only)

Managing unsafe processes for patching

You can define a list of unsafe processes which, if any are found to be active on the node, should cause patching to be skipped. This is best done through Hiera, by defining an array value for patching_as_code::unsafe_process_list.

To skip patching if application1 or application2 is among the active processes:

  - application1
  - application2

This works on both Linux and Windows, and the matching is done case-insensitive. If one process from the unsafe_process_list is found as an active process, patching will be skipped.

If you need to match on a specific process including its arguments, prepend the entry with {full}:

  - application1
  - '{full} /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/networkd-dispatcher --run-startup-triggers'

You can have whitespace between {full} and the process value for sake of readability, this will be automatically stripped before the matching happens.

Managing patching over metered links (Windows only)

By default, this module will not perform patching over metered links (e.g. 3G/4G connections). You can control this behavior through the patch_on_metered_links parameter. To force patching to occur even over metered links, either define this value in Hiera:

patching_as_code::patch_on_metered_links: true

or set this parameter as part of calling the class:

class {'patching_as_code':
  patch_on_metered_links => true

Defining pre/post-patching and pre-reboot commands

You can control additional commands that get executed at specific times, to facilitate the patch run. For example, you may want to shutdown specific applications before patching, or drain a kubernetes node before rebooting. The order of operations is as follows: 1) If reboots are enabled, check for pending reboots and reboot system immediately if a pending reboot is found 2) Run pre-patching commands 3) Install patches 4) Run post-patching commands 5) If reboots are enabled, run pre-reboot commands (if a reboot is pending, or when reboots are set to always) 6) If reboots are enabled, reboot system (if a reboot is pending, or when reboots are set to always)

To define the pre/post-patching and pre-reboot commands, you need to create hashes in Hiera. The commands will be executed as Exec resources, and you can use any of the allowed attributes for that resource (just don't use metaparameters). There are 3 hashes you can define:


It's best to define this in Hiera, so that the commands can be tailored to individual nodes or groups of nodes. A hash for a command (let's use pre-reboot as an example) looks like this in Hiera:

  prep k8s for reboot:
    command: /usr/bin/kubectl drain --ignore-daemonsets --delete-local-data

Here's another example, this time for a pre-patch powershell command on Windows:

  shutdown SQL server:
    command: Stop-Service MSSQLSERVER -Force
    provider: powershell

As you can see, it's just like defining Exec resources.

Note that specifically for patching_as_code::pre_reboot_commands, the provider:, onlyif: and unless: parameters will be ignored, as these are overwritten by the internal logic to detect pending reboots. On Linux the provider: is forced to posix, on Windows it is forced to powershell.


This solution will patching to initiate whenever an agent run occurs inside the patch window. On Windows, patch runs for Cumulative Updates can take a long time, so you may want to tune the hours of your patch windows to account for a patch run getting started near the end of the window and still taking a significant amount of time.