Salt – Different Approach to Infrastructure Management


Salt (sometimes called the SaltStack Platform) is a Python-based open-source configuration management software and remote execution engine.

This software offers a different approach to infrastructure management built on a dynamic communication bus. Salt is used for data-driven orchestration, remote execution for any infrastructure, configuration management for any app stack, and much more. It’s easy to setup, understand, and extend.

Salt organizes configs and setups into YAML output files called ‘states’ and centrally-located base configs called ‘pillars’. All these are managed using various modules.

Salt is installed from a package manager, pip, directly from source, or using a bootstrap script. Salt also provides dedicated tools to create machines and install Salt on public and private clouds (salt-cloud and salt-virt).

Features include:

  • Execute commands across thousands of systems in seconds
  • Built around an event infrastructure that can drive reactive provisioning, configuration, and management across all systems in your infrastructure
  • Robust and flexible configuration management framework that allows effortless, simultaneous configuration of tens of thousands of systems
  • Interface to derive information about the underlying system. This is called the grains interface
  • Pillar is an interface for Salt designed to offer global values that can be distributed to minions
  • Uses a small subset of YAML that maps over very commonly used data structures, like lists and dictionaries
  • Salt runners are convenience applications executed with the salt-run command
  • Foundation API for communication
  • Uses the ZeroMq messaging library for transport and deployment
  • Highly modular and easily extensible

The developers of Salt started a project to provide a GUI. Called Halite, the project was retired. However, there is another GUI. It’s called SaltPad, but it hasn’t seen any significant progress for the last couple of years.


Salt Open is tested and packaged to run on CentOS, Debian, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, Windows operating systems.

Developer: SaltStack
License: Apache License 2.0
Written in: Python

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