Methods to assist beaker acceptance tests for SIMP.

Table of Contents



Beginning with simp-beaker-helpers

Add this to your project's Gemfile:

gem 'simp-beaker-helpers'

Add this to your project's spec/spec_helper_acceptance.rb:

require 'simp/beaker_helpers'
include Simp::BeakerHelpers

Rake Tasks

New rake tasks are available to help you use beaker more effectively.

These can be included in your Rakefile by adding the following:

require 'simp/rake/beaker'

rake beaker:suites

The 'beaker:suites' rake task provides the ability to run isolated test sets with a full reset of the Beaker environment.

These are entirely isolated runs of Beaker and have been designed to be used for situations where you need to eliminate all of the cruft from your previous runs to perform a new type of test.

Suite Execution

By default the only suite that will be executed is default. Since each suite is executed in a new environment, spin up can take a lot of time. Therefore, the default is to only run the default suite.

If there is a suite where the metadata contains default_run set to the Boolean true, then that suite will be part of the default suite execution.

You can run all suites by setting the passed suite name to ALL (case sensitive).

Environment Variables

Beaker Management
  • BEAKER_suite_runall [yes|no]

    • Run all Suites
  • BEAKER_suite_basedir [String]

    • The base directory where suites will be defined
    • Default: spec/acceptance
Beaker Helpers Adjustments
  • BEAKER_SIMP_parallel [yes|no]

    • yes => Run simp-beaker-helpers methods on SUTs in parallel if possible
    • no => Do not run methods in parallel
  • BEAKER_docker_cmd [String]

    • The specific command to use for performing docker operations
  • BEAKER_helpers_verbose [yes|no]

    • yes => Enable verbose output
    • no => Do not enable verbose output
  • BEAKER_copy_fixtures [yes|no]

    • yes => Enable copying fixtures to the SUT
    • no => Disable copying fixtures to the SUT
  • BEAKER_use_fixtures_dir_for_modules [yes|no]

    • yes => Pull fixtures directly from spec/fixtures/modules
    • no => Ignore spec/fixtures/modules content
  • BEAKER_stringify_facts [yes|no]

    • yes => Enable fact stringification
  • BEAKER_fips_module_version [String]

    • The specific version of the FIPS module to install from the puppet forge

    • The username for using with RHSM

    • The password for using with RHSM
  • BEAKER_fips [yes|no]

    • yes => Enable FIPS on the SUT
    • no => Do not manage FIPS on the SUT (will not disable if enabled)
  • BEAKER_no_fix_interfaces [Boolean]

    • If present, will not try to fix the interfaces on the SUT
  • BEAKER_SIMP_install_repos [yes|no]

    • yes => Install the SIMP YUM repositories
    • no => No not install the SIMP YUM repositories
  • BEAKER_SIMP_disable_repos [String]

    • Comma delimited list of YUM repositories to disable on the SUT
  • BEAKER_SIMP_repo_release [String]

    • The release of SIMP to target in the YUM repos (usually a number)
  • BEAKER_SIMP_repo_release_type [String]

    • The release type of SIMP to target in the YUM repos
    • Something like stable, rolling, or unstable

Global Suite Configuration

A file config.yml can be placed in the suites directory to control certain aspects of the suite run.

Supported Config:
# Fail the entire suite at the first failure
'fail_fast' : <true|false> => Default: true

Individual Suite Configuration

Each suite may contain a YAML file, metadata.yml, which will be used to provide information to the suite of tests.

Supported Config:
'name' : '<User friendly name for the suite>'

# Run this suite by default
'default_run' : <true|false> => Default: false

Nodeset Enhancements

YUM Repo Support

Nodes in your nodesets will create YUM repository entries according to the following Hash:

     <yum_resource_parameter>: <value>

The baseurl and gpgkey parameters can also take an Array if you need to point at more than one location.

This would look like the following:




Abstracts copying files and directories in the most efficient manner possible.

  • If your system is a docker container it uses docker cp
  • If your system is anything else:
    • Attempts to use rsync if it is present on both sides
    • Falls back to scp

All copy semantics are consistent with what you would expect from scp_to


Copies the local fixture modules (under spec/fixtures/modules) onto a list of SUTs.

copy_fixture_modules_to( suts = hosts, opts = {} )
  • suts = (Array,String) list of SUTs to copy modules to
  • opts = (Hash) Options passed on to copy_module_to() for each SUT

By default, this will copy modules to the first path listed in each SUT's modulepath and simulate a pluginsync so the Beaker DSL's facter_on will still work.

If you need to use a non-default module path:

# WARNING: this will use the same :target_module_dir for each SUT
copy_fixture_modules_to( hosts, {
   :target_module_dir => '/path/to/my/modules',

If you want to disable pluginsync:

# WARNING: `fact_on` will not see custom facts
copy_fixture_modules_to( hosts, {
   :pluginsync => false


Apply any OS fixes we need on each SUT fix_errata_on( suts = hosts )


Generate a fake openssl CA + certs for each host on a given SUT and copy the files back to a local directory.

NOTE: this needs to generate everything inside an SUT. It is assumed the SUT will have the appropriate openssl in its environment.

run_fake_pki_ca_on( ca_sut = master, suts = hosts, local_dir = '' )

  • ca_sut = the SUT to generate the CA & certs on
  • suts = list of SUTs to generate certs for
  • local_dir = local path where the CA+cert directory tree should copied back to


Copy a single SUT's PKI certs (with cacerts) onto the SUT. This simulates the result of pki::copy without requiring a full master and simp-pki module.

The directory structure copied to the SUT is:


copy_pki_to(sut, local_pki_dir, sut_base_dir = '/etc/pki/simp-testing')


Copy a CA keydist/ directory of CA+host certs into an SUT.

This simulates the output of FakeCA's into keydist/ and is useful for constructing a Puppet master SUT that will distribute PKI keys via agent runs.

copy_keydist_to( ca_sut = master )


Look up a fact on a given SUT using the puppet fact face. This honors whatever facter-related settings the SUT's Puppet installation has been configured to use (i.e., factpath, stringify_facts, etc).

pfact_on( sut, fact_name )


Simulates a pluginsync (useful for deploying custom facts) on given SUTs.

pluginsync_on( suts = hosts )


Writes a YAML file in the Hiera :datadir of a Beaker::Host.

NOTE: This is useless unless Hiera is configured to use the data file. Beaker::DSL::Helpers::Hiera#write_hiera_config_on from beaker-hiera may be used to configure Hiera.

write_hieradata_to(host, hieradata, terminus = 'default')

  • host = (Array,String,Symbol) One or more hosts to act upon
  • hieradata = (Hash) The full hiera data structure to write to the system
  • terminus = (String) The file basename minus the file extension in which to write the Hiera data


Writes a YAML file in the Hiera :datdir of a Beaker::Host, then configures the host to use that file exclusively.

NOTE: This is authoritative; you cannot mix this with other Hiera data sources.

set_hieradata_on(host, hieradata, terminus = 'default')

  • host = (Array,String,Symbol) One or more hosts to act upon
  • hieradata = (Hash) The full hiera data structure to write to the system
  • terminus = (String) The file basename minus the file extension in which to write the Hiera data


Clean up all temporary hiera data files; meant to be called from after(:all)



Finds the latest puppet-agent version based on the passed gem version and can accept the usual Gem comparison syntax (e.g., '4.0', '=4.2', '~> 4.3.1', '5')

Returns the puppet-agent package version or nil if not found.


Performs an assessment of all set parameters and installs the correct puppet-agent based on those parameters based on the following logic.

If the environment variable BEAKER_PUPPET_AGENT_VERSION or PUPPET_INSTALL_VERSION or PUPPET_VERSION is set, it will use that value to determine the puppet-agent version to install.

If it is unable to determine the puppet-agent version from any *VERSION environment variables and the environment variable BEAKER_PUPPET_COLLECTION is set, it will use this to determine which puppet collection to install from. (Presently, this only works with Puppet 5.x and is set as puppet5.)

If it cannot determinte the puppet-agent version from any environment variables, it will default the version to the value of Simp::BeakerHelpers::DEFAULT_PUPPET_AGENT_VERSION, which is currently '1.10.4'.

Environment variables


(Default: no) When set to yes, Beaker will enable FIPS mode on all SUTs before running tests.

NOTE: FIPS mode is only enabled on RedHat family hosts.


(Default: unset) Set to a version of the simp-fips Puppet module released to Puppet Forge, when you want to specify the version of that module used to implement enable FIPS. When unset, the latest version is used.

NOTE: This has no effect if the simp-fips module is already included in your fixtures.yml


(Default: yes) Ensures that each fixture module is present under spec/fixtures/modules. If any fixture modules are missing, it will run rake spec_prep to populate the missing modules using .fixtures.yml. Note that this will not update modules that are already present under spec/fixtures/modules.


(Default: no) Execute each SIMP host setup method such as Simp::BeakerHelpers::copy_fixure_modules_to and Simp::BeakerHelpers::fix_errata_on on all hosts in a node set in parallel. Uses parallelization provided by Beaker.

NOTE: Beaker's parallelization capability does not always work, so a word to the wise is sufficient.




Set to skip code that makes sure all interfaces are up


The PUPPET_VERSION environment variable will install the latest puppet-agent package that provides that version of Puppet. This honors Gemfile-style expressions like "~> 4.8.0"



The username to use with Red Hat Subscription Manager when dealing with a RHEL host.

Will not be output to the screen.


The password to use with Red Hat Subscription Manager when dealing with a RHEL host.

Will not be output to the screen.

Note: When using Subscription Manager, make sure your nodeset has the setting validation: false. Otherwise Beaker:Rspec might try to install packages before subscription manager is configured.


The version of InSpec to use when running inspec tests. Currently hard-coded to 4.16.14 due to a bug introduced in 4.16.15.

Set to 'latest' to use the latest available in the upstream repos.


Prep OS, Generate and copy PKI certs to each SUT

This pattern serves to prepare component modules that use PKI

# spec/spec_acceptance_helpers.rb
require 'beaker-rspec'
require 'tmpdir'
require 'simp/beaker_helpers'
include Simp::BeakerHelpers

unless ENV['BEAKER_provision'] == 'no'
  hosts.each do |host|
    # Install Puppet
    if host.is_pe?

RSpec.configure do |c|
  # ensure that environment OS is ready on each host
  fix_errata_on hosts

  # Readable test descriptions
  c.formatter = :documentation

  # Configure all nodes in nodeset
  c.before :suite do
      # Install modules and dependencies from spec/fixtures/modules
      copy_fixture_modules_to( hosts )
      Dir.mktmpdir do |cert_dir|
        run_fake_pki_ca_on( default, hosts, cert_dir )
        hosts.each{ |host| copy_pki_to( host, cert_dir, '/etc/pki/simp-testing' )}
    rescue StandardError, ScriptError => e
      require 'pry'; binding.pry if ENV['PRY']

Specify the version of Puppet to run in the SUTs

# puppet-agent 1.8.3 will be installed in VMs
PUPPET_VERSION="~> 4.8.0" bundle exec rake beaker:suites

# puppet-agent 1.9.2 will be installed in VMs
PUPPET_INSTALL_VERSION=1.9.2 bundle exec rake beaker:suites

# The latest puppet 5 will be installed in VMs
PUPPET_VERSION="5" bundle exec rake beaker:suites

# puppet-agent 1.10.4 will be installed in VMs
bundle exec rake beaker:suites

Experimental Features

Snapshot Support

Rudimentary support for snapshotting VMs has been added. This currently only works for local vagrant systems and relies on the underlying vagrant snapshot command working for the underlying hypervisor. VirtualBox is highly recommended and libvirt is known to not work due to limitiations in vagrant.

This was added to attempt to be able to restart tests from given checkpoints that encompass extremely long running test segments. This is particularly relevant when you are trying to set up a large support infrastructure but need to debug later stages of your tests over time.

Running Tests with Snapshots

To enable snapshots during your initial test runs, run your test as follows:

BEAKER_destroy=no BEAKER_simp_snapshot=yes rake beaker:suites

Then, on subsequent runs, run your test as follows:

BEAKER_provision=no BEAKER_destroy=no BEAKER_simp_snapshot=yes rake beaker:suites

Adding Snapshots to your Tests

The following demonstrates the general idea behind using snapshots. Note, the decision to directly call the module methods was made to ensure that people knew explicitly when this capability was being called since it affects the underlying OS configuration.

Taking a Snapshot, '<name of snapshot>') will save a snapshot with the given name. If the snapshot already exists, it will be forcibly overwritten.

Base Snapshots

Any time a snapshot is saved, if an initial base snapshot doesn't exist, one will be created. You can restore back to the base snapshot using Simp::BeakerHelpers::Snapshot.restore_to_base(sut).

These are specifically created to ensure that we don't run into issues with trying to remove the parent of all snapshots since some hypervisors do not allow this.

Restoring a Snapshot

Simp::BeakerHelpers::Snapshot.restore(sut, '<name of snapshot>) will restore to the named snapshot.

Attempting to restore to a snapshot that doesn't exist is an error.

Listing Snapshots

Simp::BeakerHelpers::Snapshot.list(sut) will return an Array of all snapshot names for that system.

Simp::BeakerHelpers::Snapshot.exist?(sut, '<name of snapshot>') will return a Boolean based on whether or not the snapshot with the given name is present on the system.