Salt is necessary to run the SaltStack Config installation. At a bare minimum, Salt and its dependencies must be installed on the nodes that are involved in a standard SaltStack Config installation scenario.

In an installation context, installing Salt can have two different meanings:

  • Installing Salt on the nodes involved in the SaltStack Config installation in the standard installation scenario.
  • Installing Salt on the infrastructure that will eventually be managed by SaltStack Config.

For instructions about how to install Salt and its dependencies on the nodes involved in a standard insallation, see Install or upgrade Salt.

Installing Salt in your infrastructure

You are strongly encouraged to install Salt beforehand on any infrastructure that you plan to use SaltStack Config to manage. Installing Salt simplifies and streamlines the process of updating to future versions of Salt. Before you begin your SaltStack Config installation, consider installing Salt on your infrastructure and then monitoring it for a period of time to ensure it is stable and running as expected.

Consult these guides to ensure your environment is following best practices when implementing Salt in your infrastructure:

Installing Salt in an air-gapped system

The one exception to the general recommendation to install Salt beforehand is when you are installing SaltStack Config in an air-gapped system. Be aware that there are trade-offs of installing Salt on your infrastructure in an air-gapped system.

The SaltStack Config installer can install the latest stable version of Salt as it runs. However, the version of Salt that is installed by the SaltStack Config installer is called the Salt Crystal package. This package is primarily intended for use in air-gapped systems where it is not possible to update Salt over the Internet. Because it is intended for use in air-gapped systems, the version of Salt in the Salt Crystal package cannot be updated over the Internet and must be manually updated. For information about updating the Salt Crystal package, see Upgrading Salt Crystal.

As the SaltStack Config installer runs in the Lifecycle Manager installation scenario, if it detects the Salt master service and minion service packages, the SaltStack Config installer skips that step in the installation process. If it does not detect Salt, it installs the Salt master service and minion service from the Salt Crystal package.

The inability to update Salt regularly over the Internet could become problematic for your network unless your network is air-gapped. For that reason, it is strongly recommended that you install Salt beforehand rather than using the Salt Crystal package.