Install and Manage MySQL Databases with Puppet Hiera on Ubuntu 16.04

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Install and Manage MySQL Databases with Puppet Hiera on Ubuntu 16.04

Puppet is a configuration management system that helps simplify the use and deployment of different types of software, making system administration more reliable and replicable. In this guide, we use Puppet to manage an installation of MySQL, a popular relational database used for applications such as WordPress, Ruby on Rails, and others. Hiera is a method of defining configuration values that Puppet will use to simplify MySQL configuration.

In this guide, you’ll use Puppet to deploy modules on your server. At the end, you will have MySQL installed, configured, and ready to use for a variety of applications that require a database backend.

This guide is written for a non-root user. Commands that require elevated privileges are prefixed with sudo. If you’re not familiar with the sudo command, see the Users and Groups guide.

Before You Begin

  1. A Linode 1GB plan should be sufficient to run MySQL. Consider using a larger plan if you plan to use MySQL heavily, or for more than just a simple personal website.

  2. Familiarize yourself with our Getting Started guide and complete the steps for setting your Linode’s hostname and timezone.

  3. This guide will use sudo wherever possible. Complete the sections of our Securing Your Server to create a standard user account, harden SSH access and remove unnecessary network services.

  4. Update your system:

    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Install and Configure Puppet

Follow these steps to set up Puppet for single-host, local-only deployment. If you need to configure more than one server or to deploy a Puppet master, follow our multi-server Puppet guide.

Install the Puppet Package

  1. Install the puppetlabs-release repository to add the Puppet packages:

    sudo dpkg -i puppetlabs-release-pc1-xenial.deb
  2. Update the apt package index to make the Puppet Labs repository packages available, then install Puppet. This will install the puppet-agent package, which provides the puppet executable within in a compatible Ruby environment:

    sudo apt update && sudo apt install puppet-agent=1.10.4-1xenial
  3. Confirm the version of Puppet installed:

    puppet --version

    Note that the puppet-agent package includes a different version of Puppet, which is expected:


Install the Puppet MySQL Module

Puppet Forge is a collection of modules that aid in the installation of different types of software. The MySQL module handles the installation and configuration of MySQL without you needing to manage various configuration files and services by hand.

  1. Install the MySQL module:

    sudo -i puppet module install puppetlabs-mysql --version 3.11

    This will install the mysql module into the default path /etc/puppetlabs/code/environments/production/modules/.

Puppet MySQL Manifest

This guide uses a Puppet manifest to provide Puppet with installation and configuration instructions. Alternatively, you can configure a Puppet master.

While the entirety of a Puppet manifest can contain the desired configuration for a host, values for Puppet classes or types can also be defined in a Hiera configuration file to simplify writing Puppet manifests in most cases. In this example, the mysql::server class parameters will be defined in Hiera, but the class must first be applied to the host.

To apply the mysql::server class to all hosts by default, create the following Puppet manifest:

include ::mysql::server

Note that site.pp is the default manifest file. Without a qualifying node { .. } line, this applies the class to any host applying the manifest. Puppet now knows to apply the mysql::server class, but still needs values for resources like databases, users, and other settings. Configure Hiera to provide these values in the next section.

Install and Configure Puppet Hiera

To understand how Hiera works, consider this excerpt from the default hiera.yaml file:

  - yaml
  - "nodes/%{::trusted.certname}"
  - common

This Hiera configuration instructs Puppet to accept variable values from nodes/%{::trusted.certname}.yaml. If your Linode’s hostname is examplehostname, define a file called nodes/examplehostname.yaml). Any variables found in YAML files higher in the hierarchy are preferred, while any variable names that do not exist in those files will fall-through to files lower in the hierarchy (in this example, common.yaml).

The following configuration will define Puppet variables in common.yaml to inject variables into the mysql::server class.

Initial Hiera Configuration

Hiera configuration files are formatted as yaml, with keys defining the Puppet parameters to inject their associated values. To get started, set the MySQL root password. The following example of a Puppet manifest is one way to control this password:

class { '::mysql::server':
  root_password => 'examplepassword',

We can also define the root password with the following Hiera configuration file. Create the following YAML file and note how the root_password parameter is defined as Hiera yaml:

mysql::server::root_password: examplepassword

Replace examplepassword with the secure password of your choice. Run Puppet to set up MySQL with default settings and the chosen root password:

sudo -i puppet apply /etc/puppetlabs/code/environments/production/manifests/site.pp

Puppet will output its progress before completing. To confirm MySQL has been configured properly, run a command:

mysql -u root -p -e 'select version();'

Enter the password and MySQL returns its version:

| version()               |
| 5.7.19-0ubuntu0.16.04.1 |

Define MySQL Resources

Using Hiera, we can define the rest of the MySQL configuration entirely in yaml. The following steps will create a database and user for use in a WordPress installation.

  1. Create a pre-hashed MySQL password. Replace the password wordpresspassword in this example, and when prompted for a the root MySQL password, use the first root password chosen in the previous section to authenticate. Note the string starting with a * that the command returns for Step 2:

    mysql -u root -p -NBe 'select password("wordpresspassword")'
  2. With the MySQL password hash ready, we can define Hiera values. The following YAML defines parameters to create a database called wordpress and a user named wpuser that has permission to connect from localhost. The YAML also defines a GRANT allowing wpuser to operate on the wordpress database with ALL permissions:

     1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 91011121314
    mysql::server::root_password: examplepassword
        ensure: present
        ensure: present
        password_hash: '*E62D3F829F44A91CC231C76347712772B3B9DABC'
        ensure: present
        privileges: ALL
        table: wordpress.*
        user: wpuser@localhost
  3. Re-run Puppet:

    sudo -i puppet apply /etc/puppetlabs/code/environments/production/manifests/site.pp
  4. The wpuser should now be able to connect to the wordpress database. To verify, connect to the MySQL daemon as the user wpuser to the wordpress database:

    mysql -u wpuser -p wordpress

    After you enter the password for wpuser, exit the MySQL prompt:


Add Hierarchies for Specific Environments

Additional configurations can be added that will only be applied to specific environments. For example, backup jobs may only be applied for hosts in a certain region, or specific databases can be created in a particular deployment.

In the following example, Puppet will configure the MySQL server with one additional database, but only if that server’s distribution is Debian-based.

  1. Modify hiera.yaml to contain the following:

      - yaml
      - "%{}"
      - common

    This change instructs Hiera to look for Puppet parameters first in "%{}.yaml" and then in common.yaml. The first, fact-based element of the hierarchy is dynamic, and dependent upon the host that Puppet and Hiera control. In this Ubuntu-based example, Hiera will look for Debian.yaml, while on a distribution such as CentOS, the file RedHat.yaml will automatically be referenced instead.

  2. Create the following YAML file:

        merge: deep
          ensure: present

    Though similar to the common.yaml file defined in previous steps, this file will add the ubuntu-backup database only on Debian-based hosts (like Ubuntu). In addition, the lookup_options setting ensures that the mysql::server:databases parameter is merged between Debian.yaml and common.yaml so that all databases are managed. Without lookup_options set to deeply merge these hashes, only the most specific hierarchy file will be applied to the host, in this case, Debian.yaml.

    • Alternatively, because our Puppet manifest is short, we can test the same command using the -e flag to apply an inline manifest:

      sudo -i puppet apply -e 'include ::mysql::server'
  3. Run Puppet and observe the changes:

    sudo -i puppet apply /etc/puppetlabs/code/environments/production/manifests/site.pp
  4. Verify that the new database exists:

    mysql -u root -p -e 'show databases;'

    This includes the new ubuntu-backup database:

    | Database            |
    | information_schema  |
    | mysql               |
    | performance_schema  |
    | sys                 |
    | ubuntu-backup       |
    | wordpress           |

Congratulations! You can now control your Puppet configuration via highly configurable Hiera definitions.

More Information

You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.

See Also

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This guide is published under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license.