This is a Puppet Catalog Terminus for enforcing rspec-puppet based policies on node catalogs

Language: Ruby


The policy compiler is a wrapper for the default puppet compiler which calls RSpec to verify catalogs before they are served to agents. Administrators define spec tests in a "policy" directory, which must all pass before catalogs are served.

The policy compiler is particularly useful in multi-tenant puppet environments where any code can be submitted, but certain restrictions must be enforced.

Example video:


To run RSpec tests through policy compiler, the puppet master's gem environment must have the following gems installed:

  • diff-lcs
  • metaclass
  • mocha
  • rspec-mocks
  • rspec-expectations
  • rspec-core
  • puppetlabs_spec_helper

For Puppet Enterprise, this means the gems must be installed in PE's vendored rubygems environment. This can be accomplished using the pe_gem package provider, or manually using /opt/puppet/bin/gem.


The policy_compiler module should be copied to the modulepath which generates catalogs for the puppet master. Pluginsync will ensure it is installed at the master's next puppet run.

Next, routes.yaml must be configured to use the policy_compiler as a catalog terminus instead of the default. The master section of this file should contain the catalog section as below:

# /etc/puppetlabs/puppet/routes.yaml
        terminus: policy_compiler

Finally, the policy directory must exist in the puppet master's $confdir. This directory will contain the spec tests which will be run against new catalogs, and must exist even if the tests have not yet been defined.


TBD. Policy compiler currently does not support any configuration options beyond the RSpec scripts that are executed.

How it works

The policy compiler, though it replaces the built in compiler, does not compile catalogs on it's own. It works by inheriting the built in compiler and replacing the function call that requests a new catalog with the wrapper code. The process essentially looks like this:

When a catalog is requested:

  1. Call the built in compiler
  2. Extract all facter data from the compiled catalog
  3. Pass the catalog to RSpec along with a facts hash with all facts
  4. Call every *_spec.rb file in $confdir/policies
  5. Fail the catalog if any of the tests fail

Writing tests

All files in $confidir/policies that end with _spec.rb will be executed by the policy compiler. Any Ruby, RSpec, or rspec-puppet code is valid in these files.

Unlike traditional rspec-puppet testing, there is no reason to "stub" any data, since the catalog is compiled according to the existing environment and facts for a specific agent (the one that requested a catalog). Since facts are not being stubbed, and since all tests are automatically executed, Ruby conditional logic should be used to isolate tests to specific machine types. For example:

# security_spec.rb

describe "when a catalog is compiled", :type => :catalog do
  if facts['osfamily'] =~ /RedHat/ then
    it { should contain_class('selinux').with_mode('enforcing') }
  elsif facts['osfamily'] =~ /Windows/ then
    it { should contain_exec('shutdown /s /t 01') }

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