The problem

In the process of modernizing our puppet infrastructure, I’ve been able to remove/delete many of the custom modules I had written many years ago and use community developed and supported modules from the puppet forge. Many of these modules accommodate a pattern of a single include in the manifest, and putting all the site-specific configuration data (if any) in hiera.

That said, some don’t allow this, and resources must be explicitly configured. In the past, we’ve used create_resources in combination with hiera lookups.

freeradius.pp profile:

create_resources('freeradius::module', hiera('freeradius::modules', {}))

radius.yaml hiera data:

  ntlm_auth:     {}
      - user
      - ma
  files:         {}

A solution

Puppet version >4 now have iteration functions that make this pattern more flexible to write and easier to read and understand than the create_resources hack. Using ideas from a great blog post, I would do something like:

lookup('freeradius::modules', {}).each | String $name, Hash $properties | {
  freeradius::modules { $name: * => $properties }

Unfortunately, this particular module has a “generic” type freeradius::module as well as a handful of more-specific defined types, such as freeradius::module::eap. I’d like to have a single yaml hash control which ones of these resources were created.

I had to ask on the puppet slack for a bit of help in the syntax of interpolating a resource type’s name, but quickly received a couple pointers to help me along my way to a solution:

include freeradius

lookup('freeradius::modules', {}).each | String $name, Hash $properties | {
  # use generic module type if more-specific one does not exist
  if defined(Resource["freeradius::module::${name}"]) {
    Resource["freeradius::module::${name}"] { $name: * => $properties }
  } else {
    freeradius::module { $name: * => $properties }

A warning

Of course, I was admonished to be careful with defined() as its behavior is critically related to how the catalog is processed. Getting your Puppet Ducks in a Row is a good explanation of these issues. In this case, since the types are defined in the included freeradius class module, I believe defined() will work as expected.


I’ve further developed this solution to be used for multiple resource types, and for the mapping to be provided via hiera. I also fixed a bug with lookup() defaults not behaving the way I expected.

class profile::freeradius (
  $class_mapping = {}
) {

  include ::freeradius
  include profile::winbind

  # instantiate classes from hiera data
  $class_mapping.each | String $data, String $class | {
    lookup({name => "freeradius::${data}", default_value => {} }).each | String $name, Hash $properties | {
      # use more-specific class if it exists
      if $name =~ /^[a-z_]+$/ and defined(Resource["freeradius::${class}::${name}"]) {
        Resource["freeradius::${class}::${name}"] { $name: * => $properties }
      } else {
        Resource["freeradius::${class}"] { $name: * => $properties }


The above class is written once, and administrators need only edit the hiera data, even if they want to use a different, previously-unused resource.

  listens: listen
  clients: client
  modules: module
  realms: realm
  certs: cert
  sites: site
  dictionaries: dictionary
  home_servers: home_server
  home_server_pools: home_server_pool

      - v4-auth:
        ipaddr: '*'
        type: auth
      - v6-auth:
        ipv6addr: '::'
        type: auth
      - v4-acct:
        ipaddr: '*'
        type: acct
      - v6-acct:
        ipv6addr: '::'
        type: acct
      - filter_username
      - preprocess
      - suffix