Using Puppet Environments with the DPK

Using Puppet Environments with the DPK

Since the Deployment Packages were released with PeopleTools 8.55, one of my criticisms has been that the DPK is a bit of a sledgehammer. If you define multiple PeopleSoft environments on a server and you want to configure one web server, ALL the domains that the DPK knows about are shut down.

Puppet has an Environments feature that lets you segregate your code and data. While the DPK does not support Puppet Environments out of the box, we can use them to make the DPK less of a sledgehammer when managing our domains. (There is still some sledgehammering going on, so go vote for this idea).

While environments let you separate the modules, manifests and data folder, in this post we’ll separate just the data folder. This will let us share a common set of code (the manifests and modules folders) but the configuration of each domain will be different.

If you want to extend this to the modules and manifests folder, copy those into the environment folders with the environment-specific changes. This is useful for testing new code changes or if you want an environment to use a different DPK Role in the site.pp file.

Create Environment Folders

  1. Make a new dev and tst folders under c:\programdata\puppetlabs\puppet\etc\environments

You can have multiple environments under this folder – as many as you want. A strategy that I’m testing is using the database name as the environment name. For this post, I’ll stick with dev and tst

  1. Copy your YAML files from puppet\etc\data to puppet\etc\environments\dev\data and puppet\etc\ environments\tst\data.

Configure Puppet Environment

Under the puppet\etc folder, add (or modify) the puppet.conf file to look like this:


This file tells Puppet where to look for your environments, your Hiera configuration, your default module location, and the default Puppet Environment.

Last, we’ll modify the hiera.yaml file in c:\programdata\puppetlabs\hiera\etc to include environments:

  - yaml

  - "environments/%{::environment}/data/psft_customizations"
  - "environments/%{::environment}/data/psft_configuration"
  - "environments/%{::environment}/data/psft_deployment"
  - "environments/%{::environment}/data/psft_unix_system"
  - "environments/%{::environment}/data/defaults"

  :datadir: c:\programdata\puppetlabs\puppet\etc

If you want to share some of the files, like the defaults.yaml or the psft_unix_system.yaml file, you could keep those under the main puppet\etc\data folder. Your hiera.yaml file would look like this:

  - yaml

  - "environments/%{::environment}/data/psft_customizations"
  - "environments/%{::environment}/data/psft_configuration"
  - "environments/%{::environment}/data/psft_deployment"
  - data/psft_unix_system
  - data/defaults

  :datadir: c:\programdata\puppetlabs\puppet\etc

Test the Environments

Once our Puppet changes are complete we can test some builds. When we run puppet apply, we’ll add an additional paratemer: the environment. To build my dev environment domains, I’ll use this procedure:

cd c:\programdata\puppetlabs\puppet\etc\manifests
puppet apply .\site.pp --environment=dev --debug

Once the dev domains are built and running, you can kick off the tst build with:

puppet apply .\site.pp --environment=tst --debug

As the tst environment is building, your dev domains should stay up and not be affected by the Puppet run. If they are affected, you may have some YAML changes that need to be made. Make sure your configuration’s between the environment don’t overlap (e.g, same PS_CFG_HOME and domain names).

#95 – You are here

This week on the podcast, we share Eric Bolinger’s DPK module for WebLogic, Graham’s 5 Things about PeopleSoft Images, more Fluid Ideas, and dive into ELM’s Find Learning page behavior. We finish the episode discussing about Matt Tremblay’s “Reverse Proxy Server with Docker” post.

Show Notes

Convert the DPK to use Hiera Hash Merging

The way PeopleSoft delivers Puppet and the Hiera backend, is that everything you define in psft_customizations.yaml overrides configuration defined elsewhere. This is a useful setup when getting started with the DPK and Puppet. But when using YAML files to manage your configuration across multiple servers, you’ll quickly find that you are re-entering the same configuration in many files.

Hiera, the tool Puppet uses to read YAML files, has multiple ways to look up data. First, let’s cover what a YAML hash is. A hash is a key-value structure used in the DPK to store configuration. For example, this is the hash for PS_HOME information:

  db_type:    "%{hiera('db_platform')}"
  unicode_db: "%{hiera('unicode_db')}"
  location:   "%{hiera('ps_home_location')}"
  remove:     true

The main hash key is ps_home, and its value is all the configuration below it. The next level down has 4 keys with 4 corresponding values. The appserver_domain_list hash is a large one that contains all the configuration for one or more app server domains.

Under the delivered setup, if you want to change a value for a domain you need to copy the entire appserver_domain_list hash into your psft_customizations.yaml file and make the change. With Hiera hashing, you could define your domains in a file named appservers.yaml and any specific server changes can be defined in hostname.yaml. For example, the hostname.yaml file could contain this hash to override a configuration:

      SERVER_EVENTS: "Yes"
      DOMAIN_GW:     "Yes"

This provides far more flexibility when working with YAML files, but it does introduce some complexity. If you want to give this a try, here is how you can convert the current DPK to use Hiera hasing.


I used VisualStudio Code to do the find/replace. Open up the etc\modules directory and do these against the modules\pt_profile folder:

  • Find: hiera('tns_admin_list
  • Replace: hiera_hash('tns_admin_list

I repeated this step for the following lookups.

  • tns_admin_list
  • appserver_domain_list
  • prcs_domain_list
  • pia_domain_list

You don’t want to replace all the lookups – that will cause errors. But, you can replace additional lookups if you want. Anything that is a hash in YAML files can use the hiera_hash() lookup function. If you wanted to make the ps_home: key support hash merging, you could replace hiera('ps_home with hiera_hash('ps_home.

Change the Hiera Merge Behavior

By default, Hiera will look at the top-level keys of a hash and not merge the underlying settings. Hiera hashing will merge all the values inside the hash. This means you can you define a hash with default settings in a common file (e.g, default app server settings). Then you can specify server or application specific settings in a YAML file for that domain or server.

To enable the hash merging, open the hiera.yaml file under c:\programdata\puppetlabs\hiera\etc.

Add this line to the file:

:merger_behavior: deeper

Hiera Lookup Order

With Hiera hash merging, we can utilize more than the psft_customizations.yaml file to manage our configuration. We can use multiple YAML files to control our configuration. For example, we could have:

  • [hostname].yaml
  • dev.yaml
  • hr.yaml
  • common.yaml

So, this setup would let us define common configuration that is shared across all applications in the common.yaml. Next, we could define anything related to servers that run HR applications in the hr.yaml. For any settings that are specific to the Development region, we can add them into dev.yaml. Last, for anything that is specific to the server, we can add into the [hostname].yaml file. This setup would let you re-use the common, hr, and dev YAML files across multiple servers, and anything specific to the server would be defined in [hostname].yaml.

In the hiera.yaml file, we can define this setup like this:

  - "%{::hostname}"
  - dev
  - hr
  - common

Test Hiera Hashing

On the command line, you can use the hiera utility to test lookups with Hiera. To do a normal Hiera lookup, use

hiera appserver_domain_list

To test a hiera hash lookup, use

hiera --hash appserver_domain_list

If you have multiple YAML files with the appserver_domain_list hash, the first option will only show you the results from the top of the list. The second test should show you a merged appserver_domain_list hash.

#92 – Advanced Puppet with the DPK

This week on the podcast, Dan dives into some advanced Puppet configuration to use with the DPK. Dan and Kyle discuss Hiera hash merging, using Puppet environments, and using the ACM with the DPK. Kyle talks about a bug with the Interaction Hub and My Favorites and some odd finds in PeopleBooks.

Show Notes

#89 – Gotchas

This week Kyle and Dan discuss UI improvements from Sasank and Dan’s new Fluid Stylesheets, using Git and GitLab to manage DPK files, managing Favorites with Unified Navigation and some “Gotchas” Kyle found during his 8.55 upgrade project.

Show Notes

#84 – No Agenda

This week on the podcast Dan and Kyle talk with no agenda. We discuss our week and talk about Portal, PeopleTools Bugs, Fluid, Git, Deployment Packages, Puppet, OneNote, Kanban Boards and more.

Show Notes

  • Portal Projects @ 1:45
  • PeopleTools Bugs and Puppet @ 10:45
  • Community @ 21:00
  • Job changes @ 23:30
  • Spreading the Fluid Excitement @ 25:00
  • Selecting Fluid Nav Images @ 28:00
  • The Git “Trojan Horse” @ 31:30
  • Git Hooks, Puppet Server and getting crazy @ 39:30
  • Changes to the DPK? @ 47:00
  • Kanban Boards @ 57:00
  • Svchost.exe @ 58:30
  • OneNote Templates @ 60:30
  • Kanban Boards and Task Management @ 71:00

#83 – DPK – What We’d Do Different Next Time

This week on the podcast Dan and Kyle discuss changes they would make if they started working on the DPK for the first again. They also discuss setting up Elasticsearch clusters, monitoring Tuxedo queues with Elasticsearch and an annoying Bash on Windows bug.

Show Notes

  • Bash on Windows VPN Bug @ 3:15
  • 9.2 Upgrade Process @ 10:00
  • Monitoring Tuxedo Queueing in Elasticsearch @ 13:30
  • Tuxbeat Project @ 17:00
  • Elasticsearch DPK @ 21:45
  • Elasticsearch Clustering @ 27:00
  • Puppet on Linux @ 32:00
  • DPK Extract Only @ 34:30
  • What we’d do differently with the DPK @ 37:30
    • Co-locating Regions
    • Admin-only Test Servers
    • Config Homes
    • Use Git for managing code and YAML changes
    • Integrate all Puppet code into Classes and Modules
    • DPK Course
    • Use ACM via DPK
    • Go Vanilla

App Capacity Visualization

#71 – DevOps and Ansible w/ Jason Gilfoil and Eric Bolinger

This week we podcast from the Alliance 2017 Conference in Las Vegas. Jason Gilfoil and Eric Bolinger join us to talk about DevOps and Ansible with PeopleSoft. We talk about application orchestration, mixing Ansible and Puppet, customizing the DPK and more.

Show Notes

  • Introducing Jason Gilfoil @ 1:30
  • Introducing Eric Bolinger @ 2:45
  • What is Ansible? @ 3:30
  • What is Orchestration? @ 8:00
  • Differences between Puppet and Ansible @ 12:00
  • Puppet Master, Hiera Hash and the DPK @ 15:15
  • Managing infrastructure code with Git @ 20:45
  • Adjusting to a DevOps culture @ 27:00
  • Getting automation started in your organization @ 30:30
  • Calculating Time Saving for Automation @ 35:30
  • Choosing an automation tool @ 41:30
  • Docker @ 43:00
  • Personal Development Environments @ 45:45
  • Starting to think “cloud” @ 50:00

#61 – Jolt Failover

This week on the podcast, Dan and Kyle launch a new course about Deployment Packages. Dan tests out a new text editor and discovers you can run OPatch on MOS. Kyle digs into Jolt Failover options with the IB and brainstorms some great configuration ideas.

Show Notes

#59 – Security Deployment

This week on the podcast Dan and Kyle talk about the new CFO tool, applying CPU patches with the DPK, and how the DPK could improve with newer versions of Puppet. Then Dan digs into the new Security Deployment tool and how you can use it improve security migrations.

Show Notes