You can invoke MCollective actions on both *nix and Windows machines, based on commands you run from the command line on a Linux-based Puppet master servers.
MCollective has its own section of the documentation site, which includes more complete details and examples for command line orchestration usage.
The following topics cover basic CLI usage and all PE-specific information; for more details, see the following pages from the full docs:
- MCollective command line usage
Logging into MCollective
To run commands, you must log in to the Puppet master
server as the special
peadmin user account,
which PE creates during
By default, the
peadmin account cannot log in with a password. We recommend you log in
sudo or by adding SSH keys to the
Logging in with
Anyone able to log into the Puppet master server as an admin user with full root
sudo privileges can become the
peadmin user by
$ sudo -i -u peadmin
This is the default way to log in as the
peadmin user. It means that MCollective commands can only be issued by the
group of users who can fully control the Puppet master.
Logging in with SSH keys
If you wish to allow other users to run commands
without giving them full control over the Puppet master, you can add their public
SSH keys to
You can use Puppet's
ssh_authorized_key resource type to do this, or add keys
manually to the
All MCollective actions are invoked with the
mco executable. The
always requires a subcommand to invoke actions.
mcocommand relies on a config file (
/var/lib/peadmin/.mcollective) which is only readable by the
peadminuser. PE automatically configures and manages this file, so do not modify it.
mco command has
several subcommands, and it's possible to add more --- run
mco help for a list of all available subcommands. The
following default subcommands are available:
This is the general purpose client, which can invoke actions from any agent plugin.
These subcommands only invoke certain kinds of actions, but have some extra UI enhancements to make them easier to use than the equivalent
Help and support subcommands
Displays help for subcommands.
mco plugin doccommand can display help for agent plugins.
A helper for shell completion systems.
Inventory and reporting subcommands
Pings all matching nodes and reports on response times
Displays a summary of values for a single fact across all systems
General reporting tool for nodes, collectives and subcollectives
Like ping, but doesn't report response times
Getting help on the command line
You can get information about subcommands, actions, and other plugins on the command line.
Use one of the following commands to get help for a specific subcommand:
$ mco help <SUBCOMMAND> $ mco <SUBCOMMAND> --help
List of plugins
To get a list of the available plugins, which includes agent
plugins, data query plugins, discovery methods, and validator plugins, run
mco plugin doc.
Agent plugin help
Related actions are bundled together in agent plugins.
For example, Puppet-related actions are all in the
To get detailed info on a given plugin's actions and their required inputs, run:
$ mco plugin doc <PLUGIN>
If there is also a data plugin with the same name, you may need
agent/ to the plugin
$ mco plugin doc agent/<PLUGIN>
MCollective actions are invoked with either the general purpose
rpc subcommand or one of the special-purpose subcommands.
Note that unless you specify a filter, commands will be run
on every server in your Puppet Enterprise deployment; make
sure you know what will happen before confirming any potentially disruptive commands.
The most useful
mco rpc. This is the
general purpose client, which can invoke actions from any agent plugin. See the list of built-in actions for more information about
$ mco rpc service restart service=httpd
The general form of an
$ mco rpc <AGENT PLUGIN> <ACTION> <INPUT>=<VALUE>
For a list of available agent plugins, actions, and their required inputs, see the list of built-in actions actions or the information on getting help.
rpc can invoke any action, sometimes a special-purpose application can
provide a more convenient interface.
$ mco puppet runall 5
runall action is
able to run many nodes without exceeding a certain load of concurrent runs. It does this
by repeatedly invoking the
status action, and only sending
runonce action to the next node if
there's enough room in the concurrency limit.
This uses the
same actions that the
mco rpc command
can invoke, but since
rpc doesn't know
that the output of the
status action is
relevant to the timing of the
action, it can't provide that improved UI.
package) has its own CLI syntax. For example,
mco service puts the name of the service before the action, to
mimic the format of the more common platform-specific service
$ mco service httpd status
<SUBCOMMAND> to get specific help for each subcommand.
By default, orchestration actions affect all managed nodes. You can limit any action to a smaller set of nodes by specifying a filter.
For example, the following filter checks the status of the pe-nginx service running on the node defined as the console.
$ mco service pe-nginx status --with-fact fact_is_puppetconsole=true
Note: For more details about filters, see the following pages from the MCollective docs:
All command line actions can accept the same filter options, which are
listed under the "Host Filters" section of any
help <SUBCOMMAND> text:
Host Filters -W, --with FILTER Combined classes and facts filter -S, --select FILTER Compound filter combining facts and classes -F, --wf, --with-fact fact=val Match hosts with a certain fact -C, --wc, --with-class CLASS Match hosts with a certain config management class -A, --wa, --with-agent AGENT Match hosts with a certain agent -I, --wi, --with-identity IDENT Match hosts with a certain configured identity
Each type of filter lets you specify a type of metadata and a desired value. The action will only run on nodes where that data has that desired value.
Any number of fact, class, and agent filters can also be combined in a single command; this will make it so nodes must match every filter to run the action.
Matching strings and regular expressions
Filter values are usually simple strings. These must match exactly and are case-sensitive.
Most filters can also accept regular expressions as their values;
these are surrounded by forward slashes, and are interpreted as standard Ruby regular expressions. (You can even turn on various options for
a subpattern, such as case insensitivity ---
"osfamily=/(?i:redhat)/".) Unlike plain strings, they accept partial
Filtering by identity
A node's "identity" is the same as its certname, as specified during installation. Identities will almost always be unique per node.
$ mco puppet runonce -I web3balancer.example.com
- You can use the
--with-identityoption multiple times to create a filter that matches multiple specific nodes.
- You cannot combine the identity filter with other filter types.
- The identity filter accepts regular expressions.
Filtering by fact, class, and agent
Facts are the standard Puppet facts, which are available
in your Puppet manifests. A list of the core facts is available here. Use the
--with-factoption with a
fact=valuepair to filter on facts.
Classes are the Puppet classes that are assigned to a node.
This includes classes assigned in the console, assigned via Hiera, declared in
site.pp, or declared indirectly by another class. Use the
--with-classoption with a class name to filter on classes.
Agents are MCollective agent plugins. PE's default plugins are available on every node, so
filtering by agent makes more sense if you are distributing custom plugins to only a
subset of your nodes. For example, if you made an emergency change to a custom plugin
that you distribute with Puppet,
you could filter by agent to trigger an immediate run on all affected systems.
mco puppet runall 5 -A my_agent) Use the
--with-agentoption to filter on agents.
Since mixing classes and facts is so common, you can also use
--with option to supply a mixture of class names and
Compound "select" filters
--select option accepts arbitrarily
complex filters. Like
-W, it can accept
a mixture of class names and
pairs, but it has two extra tricks:
-Wfilter always combines facts and classes with "and" logic --- nodes must match all of the criteria to match the filter.
-Sfilter lets you combine values with nested Boolean "and"/"or"/"not" logic:
$ mco service httpd restart -S "((customer=acme and osfamily=RedHat) or domain=acme.com) and /apache/"
In addition, the
-Sfilter lets you use data plugin queries as an additional kind of metadata.
Data plugins can be tricky, but are very powerful. To use them effectively, you must:
- Check the list of data plugins with
mco plugin doc.
- Read the help for the data plugin you want to use, with
mco plugin doc data/<NAME>. Note any required input and the available outputs.
- Use the
get_dataaction on a single node to check the format of the output you're interested in. This action requires
source(the plugin name) and
query(the input) arguments:
$ mco rpc rpcutil get_data source="fstat" query="/etc/hosts" -I web01
This will show all of the outputs for that plugin and input on that node.
- Construct a query fragment of the format
<PLUGIN>('<INPUT>').<OUTPUT>=<VALUE>--- note the parentheses, the fact that the input must be in quotes, the
.outputnotation, and the equals sign. Make sure the value you're searching for matches the expected format, which you saw when you did your test query.
- Use that fragment as part of a
$ mco find -S "fstat('/etc/hosts').md5=/baa3772104/ and osfamily=RedHat"
- Check the list of data plugins with
You can specify multiple data plugin query fragments per
Testing filters with
invoking any potentially disruptive action, like a service restart, you should test the
mco find or
mco ping, to make sure your command will act
on the nodes you expect.
Batching and limiting actions
By default, actions run simultaneously on all of the targeted nodes.
This is fast and powerful, but is sometimes not what you want:
- Sometimes you want the option to cancel out of an action with control-C before all nodes have run it.
- Sometimes, like when retrieving inventory data, you want to run a command on just a sample of nodes and don't need to see the results from everything that matches the filter.
- Certain actions may consume limited capacity on a shared resource (such as the Puppet master server), and invoking them on a "thundering herd" of nodes can disrupt that resource.
In these cases, you can batch actions, to run all of the matching nodes in a controlled series, or limit them, to run only a subset of the matching nodes.
- Use the
--batch <SIZE>option to invoke an action on only
<SIZE>nodes at once. PE will invoke it on the first
<SIZE>nodes, wait briefly, invoke it on the next batch, and so on.
- Use the
--batch-sleep <SECONDS>option to control how long PE should sleep between batches.
- Use the
--limit <COUNT>option to invoke an action on only
<COUNT>can be an absolute number or a percentage. The nodes will be chosen randomly.
- Use the
--oneoption to invoke an action on just one matching node, chosen randomly.