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SIMPkv providers




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Version information

  • 0.7.2 (latest)
  • 0.7.1
  • 0.7.0
released May 20th 2021
This version is compatible with:
  • Puppet Enterprise 2019.8.x, 2019.7.x, 2019.5.x, 2019.4.x, 2019.3.x, 2019.2.x, 2019.1.x, 2019.0.x, 2018.1.x, 2017.3.x
  • Puppet >= 5.0.0 < 7.0.0
  • CentOS

Start using this module

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

Add this module to your Puppetfile:

mod 'simp-simpkv', '0.7.2'
Learn more about managing modules with a Puppetfile

Add this module to your Bolt project:

bolt module add simp-simpkv
Learn more about using this module with an existing project

Manually install this module globally with Puppet module tool:

puppet module install simp-simpkv --version 0.7.2

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.

Tags: simp, simpkv


simp/simpkv — version 0.7.2 May 20th 2021

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Table of Contents


This is a SIMP module

This module is a component of the System Integrity Management Platform, a compliance-management framework built on Puppet.

If you find any issues, please submit them via JIRA.

Please read our Contribution Guide.

Module Description

Provides an abstract library that allows Puppet to access one or more key/value stores.

This module provides

  • a standard Puppet language API (functions) for using key/value stores

  • a configuration scheme that allows users to specify per-application use of different key/value store instances

  • adapter software that loads and uses store-specific interface software provided by the simpkv module itself and other modules

  • a Ruby API for the store interface software that developers can implement to provide their own store interface

  • a file-based store on the local filesystem and its interface software.

    • Future versions of this module will provide a distributed key/value store.

If you find any issues, they may be submitted to our bug tracker.


The following terminology will be used throughout this document:

  • backend - A specific key/value store, e.g., files on a local filesystem, Consul, Etcd, Zookeeper.
  • plugin - Ruby software that interfaces with a specific backend to affect the operations requested in simpkv Puppet functions.
  • plugin instance - Instance of the plugin that handles a unique backend configuration.
  • plugin adapter - Ruby software that loads, selects, and executes the appropriate plugin software for a simpkv function call.


Using simpkv is simple:

  • Use simpkv functions to store and retrieve key/value pairs in your Puppet code.

  • Configure the backend(s) to use in Hieradata.

  • Reconfigure the backend(s) in Hieradata, as your needs change.

    • No changes to your Puppet code will be required.
    • Just transfer your data from the old key/value store to the new one.

The backend configuration of simpkv can be as simple as you want (one backend) or complex (multiple backends servicing different applications). Examples of both scenarios will be shown in this section, along with a configuration reference.

Single Backend Example

This example will store and retrieve host information using simpkv function signatures that assume the default backend and hieradata that only configures the default backend.

To store a node's hostname and IP address:

simpkv::put("hosts/${facts['clientcert']}", $facts['ipaddress'])

To create a hosts file using the list of stored host information:

$result = simpkv::list('hosts')
$result['keys'].each |$host, $info | {
  host { $host:
    ip => $info['value'],

In hieradata, configure the default backend in the simpkv::options Hash. This example, will configure simpkv's file backend.


  # Hash of backend configurations.
  # - We have only the required 'default' entry which will apply to
  #   all simpkv calls.
      # This is the advertised type for simpkv's file plugin.
      type: file
      # This is a unique id for this configuration of the 'file' plugin.
      id: file

      # plugin-specific configuration
      root_path: "/var/simp/simpkv/file"
      lock_timeout_seconds: 30

Multiple Backends Example

This example will store and retrieve host information using simpkv function signatures that request a backend based on an application id and multi-backend hieradata that supports the request. The function signatures and hieradata are a little more complicated, but still relatively straightforward to understand.

To store a node's hostname and IP address using the backend servicing myapp1:

$simpkv_options = { 'app_id' => 'myapp1' }
$empty_metadata = {}
simpkv::put("hosts/${facts['clientcert']}", $facts['ipaddress'], $empty_metadata, $simpkv_options)

To create a hosts file using the list of stored host information using the backend servicing myapp1:

$simpkv_options = { 'app_id' => 'myapp1' }
$result = simpkv::list('hosts', $simpkv_options)
$result['keys'].each |$host, $info | {
  host { $host:
    ip => $info['value'],

In hieradata, configure multiple backends in the simpkv::options Hash. This example will configure multiple instances of simpkv's file backend.

# The backend configurations here will be inserted into simpkv::options
# below via the alias function.

  type: file
  id: default
  root_path: "/var/simp/simpkv/file"

  type: file
  id: myapp
  root_path: "/path/to/myapp"

  type: file
  id: yourapp
  root_path: "/path/to/yourapp"

  # Hash of backend configurations.
  # * Includes application-specific backends and the required default backend.
  # * simpkv will use the appropriate backend for each simpkv function call.
    # backend for specific myapp application
    "myapp_special_snowflake": "%{alias('simpkv::backend::file_default')}"

    # backend for remaining myapp* applications, including myapp1
    "myapp":                   "%{alias('simpkv::backend::file_myapp')}"

    # backend for all yourapp* applications
    "yourapp":                 "%{alias('simpkv::backend::file_yourapp')}"

    # required default backend
    "default":                 "%{alias('simpkv::backend::file_default')}"

In this example, we are setting the application identifier to myapp1 in our simpkv function calls. simpkv selects myapp as the backend to use for myapp1 using the following simple search algorithm:

  • First, it looks for a backend named for the application id.
  • Next, it looks for the longest backend name matching the start of the application id.
  • Finally, if no match is found, it defaults to a backend named default.

Binary Value Example

simpkv is able to store and retrieve binary values, provided the Puppet code uses the appropriate configuration and functions/types for binary data.

  • IMPORTANT: Puppet 5 does not fully support binary data. So, although simpkv will properly serialize and deserialize the data, the binary data can only be used for Puppet file resources when applied with puppet apply, not puppet agent.

Below is an example of using simpkv for a binary value.

To store the content of a generated keytab file:

# Load in the binary content from a file.  Returns a Binary Puppet type.
$original_binary_content = binary_file('/path/to/keytabs/app.keytab')

# Set a key/value pair with the binary content
simpkv::put('app/keytab', $original_binary_content)

To retrieve the keytab binary content and use it in a file resource:

# Retrieve a binary value from a key/value store and set a Binary variable
$retrieved_result = simpkv::get('app/keytab')
$retrieved_binary_content =$retrieved_result['value'], '%r')

# Persist binary data to another file
file { '/different/path/to/keytabs/app.keytab':
  content => $retrieved_binary_content

Auto-Default Backend

simpkv is intended to be configured via simpkv::options and any application-specific configuration passed to the simpkv Puppet functions. However, to facilitate rollout of simpkv capabilities, (specifically use of simpkv internally in simplib::passgen), when simpkv::options is not set in hieradata, simpkv will automatically use the simpkv file store with the configuration that is equivalent to the following hieradata:

  environment: "%{server_facts.environment}"
  softfail: false
  backend: default
      type: file
      id: auto_default

Backend Folder Layout

The storage in a simpkv backend can be notionally represented as a folder tree with key files at terminal nodes. simpkv automatically sets up the folder layout at the top level and the user specifies key files below that. Specifically,

  • simpkv stores global keys directly off the root folder.

  • simpkv stores all other keys in a sub-folder named for the Puppet environment in which the key was created.

  • Further sub-folder trees are allowed for the global or environment-specific keys.

    • A relative paths in a key name indicates a sub-folder tree.
  • The actual representation of the root folder is backend specific.

    • For the 'file' backend, the root folder is a directory on the local file system of the Puppet server.

Below is an example of a folder tree for the file backend configured with an id of default:

├── app1/ ............. Folder for 'app1' global keys
│   └── global_keyQ ... simpkv::put('app1/global_keyQ', { 'env'=>'' }) in any environment
├── dev/ .............. Folder for 'dev' Puppet environment keys
│   └── app1/
│       └── keyA ...... simpkv::put('app1/keyA') in a 'dev' node
├── production/ ....... Folder for 'production' Puppet environment keys
│   ├── app1/
│   │   └── keyA ...... simpkv::put('app1/keyA') in a 'production' node
│   ├── app2/
│   │   ├── groupX/
│   │   │   └── keyB
│   │   └── groupY/
│   │       └── keyC .. simpkv::put('app2/groupY/keyC') in a 'production' node
│   └── keyD .......... simpkv::put('keyD') in a 'production' node
└── global_keyR ....... simpkv::put('global_keyR', { 'env'=>'' }) in any environment.

simpkv Configuration Reference

The simpkv configuration used for each simpkv function call is comprised of a merge of a function-provided options Hash, Hiera configuration specified by the simpkv::options Hash, and global configuration defaults. The merge is executed in a fashion to ensure the function-provided options take precedence over the simpkv::options Hiera values.

The merged simpkv configuration contains global and backend-specific configurations, along with an optional application identifier. The primary keys in this Hash are as follows:

  • app_id: Optional String in simpkv function calls, only. Specifies an application name that can be used to identify which backend configuration to use via fuzzy name matching, in the absence of the backend option. (See Backend Selection).

    • More flexible option than backend.
    • Useful for grouping together simpkv function calls found in different catalog resources.
  • backend: Optional String. Specifies a definitive backend configuration to use.

    • Takes precedence over app_id.

    • When present, must match a key in backends and will be used unequivocally.

      • If that backend does not exist in backends, the simpkv function will fail.
    • When absent, the backend configuration will be selected from the set of entries in backends, using the app_id option if specified. (See Backend Selection).

  • backends: Required Hash. Specifies backend configurations. Each key is the name of a backend configuration and its value contains the corresponding configuration Hash.

    • Each key is a String.
    • Must include a 'default' key.
    • More than one key can use the same backend configuration.
    • See Backend Configuration Entries for more details about a backend configuration Hash.
  • environment: Optional String. Puppet environment to prepend to keys.

    • When set to a non-empty string, it is prepended to the key or key folder used in a backend operation.
    • Should only be set to an empty string when the key being accessed is truly global.
    • Defaults to the Puppet environment for the node when absent.
  • softfail: Optional Boolean. Whether to ignore simpkv operation failures.

    • When true, each simpkv function will return a result object even when the operation failed at the backend.
    • When false, each simpkv function will fail when the backend operation failed.
    • Defaults to false when absent.

Backend Configuration Entries

Each backend configuration entry in backends is a Hash. The Hash must contain type and id keys, where the (type,id) pair defines a unique configuration.

  • type must be unique across all backend plugins, including those provided by other modules.
  • id must be unique for a each distinct configuration for a type.
  • Other keys for configuration specific to the backend may also be present.

Backend Selection

The backend to use for a simpkv Puppet function call will be determined from the merged simpkv options Hash as follows:

  • If a specific backend is requested via the backend key in the merged simpkv options Hash, that backend will be selected.

    • If that backend does not exist in backends, the simpkv function will fail.
  • Otherwise, if an app_id option is specified in the merged simpkv options Hash and it matches a key in the backends Hash, exactly, that backend will be selected.

  • Otherwise, if an app_id option is specified in the merged simpkv options Hash and it starts with the key in the backends Hash, that backend will be selected.

    • When multiple backends satisfy the 'start with' match, the backend with the most matching characters is selected.
  • Otherwise, if the app_id option does not match any key in in the backends Hash or is not present, the default backend will be selected.

File Store and Plugin

simpkv provides a file-based key/value store and its plugin. This file store maintains individual key files on a local filesystem, has a backend type file, and supports the following plugin-specific configuration parameters.

  • root_path: Root directory path for the key files

    • Defaults to /var/simp/simpkv/file/<id> when that directory can be created or '<Puppet[:vardir]>/simp/simpkv/' otherwise.
  • lock_timeout_seconds: Maximum number of seconds to wait for an exclusive file lock on a file modifying operation before failing the operation.

    • Defaults to 5 seconds.


  • SIMP Puppet modules are generally intended to be used on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux-compatible distribution such as EL6 and EL7.

  • simpkv's file plugin is only guaranteed to work on local filesystems. It may not work on shared filesystems, such as NFS.

  • simpkv only supports the use of binary data for the value when that data is a Puppet Binary. It does not support binary data which is a sub-element of a more complex value type (e.g. Array[Binary] or Hash that has a key or value that is a Binary).

Plugin Development

Plugin Loading

Each plugin (store interface) is written in pure Ruby and, to prevent cross-environment contamination, is implemented as an anonymous class that is automatically loaded by the simpkv adapter with each Puppet compile. You do not have to do anything special to have your plugin loaded, provided you follow the instructions in the next section.

Implementing the Store Interface API

To create your own plugin

  • Create a lib/puppet_x/simpkv directory within your store plugin module.
  • Copy lib/puppet_x/simpkv/plugin_template.rb from the simpkv module into that directory with a name <your plugin name>_plugin.rb. For example, nfs_file_plugin.rb.
  • READ all the documentation in your plugin skeleton, paying close attention the IMPORTANT NOTES discussion.
  • Implement the body of each method as identified by a FIXME. Be sure to conform to the API for the method.
  • Write unit tests for your plugin, using the unit tests for simpkv's file plugin, spec/unit/puppet_x/simpkv/file_plugin_spec.rb as an example. That test shows you how to instantiate an object of your plugin for testing purposes.
  • Write acceptance tests for your plugin, using the acceptance tests for simpkv's file plugin, spec/acceptances/suites/default/file_plugin_spec.rb, as an example. That test uses a test module, spec/support/simpkv_test to exercise the the simpkv API and verify its operation.
  • Document your plugin's type and configuration parameters in the for your store plugin module.

simpkv Development

Please read our [Contribution Guide] (

Unit tests

Unit tests, written in rspec-puppet can be run by calling:

bundle exec rake spec

Acceptance tests

To run the system tests, you need Vagrant installed. Then, run:

bundle exec rake beaker:suites

Some environment variables may be useful:

  • BEAKER_debug: show the commands being run on the STU and their output.
  • BEAKER_destroy=no: prevent the machine destruction after the tests finish so you can inspect the state.
  • BEAKER_provision=no: prevent the machine from being recreated. This can save a lot of time while you're writing the tests.
  • BEAKER_use_fixtures_dir_for_modules=yes: cause all module dependencies to be loaded from the spec/fixtures/modules directory, based on the contents of .fixtures.yml. The contents of this directory are usually populated by bundle exec rake spec_prep. This can be used to run acceptance tests to run on isolated networks.