Foreman overview and concepts

Foreman is a centralized tool for provisioning, remote management, and monitoring of multiple Enterprise Linux deployments. With Foreman, you can deploy, configure, and maintain your systems across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.

1. Content and patch management with Foreman

With Foreman, you can provide content and apply patches to hosts systematically in all lifecycle stages.

1.1. Content flow in Foreman

Content flow in Foreman involves management and distribution of content from external sources to hosts.

Content in Foreman flows from external content sources to Foreman server. Smart Proxy servers mirror the content from Foreman server to hosts.

External content sources

You can configure many content sources with Foreman. The supported content sources include the Red Hat Customer Portal, Git repositories, Ansible collections, Docker Hub, SCAP repositories, or internal data stores of your organization.

Foreman server

On your Foreman server, you plan and manage the content lifecycle.

Smart Proxy servers

By creating Smart Proxy servers, you can establish content sources in various locations based on your needs. For example, you can establish a content source for each geographical location or multiple content sources for a data center with separate networks.

Hosts

By assigning a host system to a Smart Proxy server or directly to your Foreman server, you ensure the host receives the content they provide. Hosts can be physical or virtual.

The graphics in this section are Red Hat illustrations. Non-Red Hat illustrations are welcome. If you want to contribute alternative images, raise a pull request in the Foreman Documentation GitHub page. Note that in Red Hat terminology, "Satellite" refers to Foreman and "Capsule" refers to Smart Proxy.

Content flow in Foreman
Additional resources

1.2. Content views in Foreman

A content view is a deliberately curated subset of content that your hosts can access. By creating a content view, you can define the software versions used by a particular environment or Smart Proxy server.

Each content view creates a set of repositories across each environment. Your Foreman server stores and manages these repositories. For example, you can create content views in the following ways:

  • A content view with older package versions for a production environment and another content view with newer package versions for a Development environment.

  • A content view with a package repository required by an operating system and another content view with a package repository required by an application.

  • A composite content view for a modular approach to managing content views. For example, you can use one content view for content for managing an operating system and another content view for content for managing an application. By creating a composite content view that combines both content views, you create a new repository that merges the repositories from each of the content views. However, the repositories for the content views still exist and you can keep managing them separately as well.

Default Organization View

A Default Organization View is an application-controlled content view for all content that is synchronized to Foreman. With the Default Organization View, you can register a host to Foreman and access content without manipulating content views and lifecycle environments.

Promoting a content view across environments

When you promote a content view from one environment to the next environment in the application lifecycle, Foreman updates the repository and publishes the packages.

Example 1. Promoting a package from Development to Testing

The repositories for Testing and Production contain the <my_software>-1.0-0.noarch.rpm package:

Development Testing Production

Version of the content view

Version 2

Version 1

Version 1

Contents of the content view

<my_software>-1.1-0.noarch.rpm

<my_software>-1.0-0.noarch.rpm

<my_software>.0-0.noarch.rpm

If you promote Version 2 of the content view from Development to Testing, the repository for Testing updates to contain the <my_software>-1.1-0.noarch.rpm package:

Development Testing Production

Version of the content view

Version 2

Version 2

Version 1

Contents of the content view

<my_software>-1.1-0.noarch.rpm

<my_software>-1.1-0.noarch.rpm

<my_software>-1.0-0.noarch.rpm

This ensures hosts are designated to a specific environment but receive updates when that environment uses a new version of the content view.

Additional resources

1.3. Content types in Foreman

With Foreman, you can import and manage many content types.

For example, Foreman supports the following content types:

RPM packages

Import RPM packages from any repository, for example from Red Hat, SUSE, and custom repositories. Foreman server downloads the RPM files and stores them locally. You can use these repositories and their RPM files in content views.

Deb packages

Import Deb packages from repositories, for example, for Debian or Ubuntu. You can also import single Deb packages or synchronize custom repositories. You can use these repositories and their Deb files in content views.

Kickstart trees

Import the Kickstart trees to provision a host. New systems access these Kickstart trees over a network to use as base content for their installation. Foreman contains predefined Kickstart templates. You can also create your own Kickstart templates.

Provisioning templates

Templates to provision hosts running EL based on synchronized content and Debian, Ubuntu, or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server based on local installation media. Foreman contains predefined AutoYaST, Kickstart, and Preseed templates as well as the ability to create your own, which are used to provision systems and customize the installation.

ISO and KVM images

Download and manage media for installation and provisioning. For example, Foreman downloads, stores, and manages ISO images and guest images for specific Red Hat Enterprise Linux and non-Red Hat operating systems.

OSTree

Import OSTree branches and publish this content to an HTTP location for consumption by OSTree clients.

Custom file type

Manage content for any type of file you require, such as SSL certificates, ISO images, and OVAL files.

1.4. Additional resources

  • For information about how to manage content with Foreman, see Managing content.

2. Subscription management with Foreman

With Foreman, you can track usage of software subscriptions and assign subscriptions according to your needs.

2.1. Simple content access (SCA) in Foreman

Simple Content Access (SCA) in Foreman simplifies management of software entitlements. With SCA, you can add valid subscriptions to a subscription allocation or manifest and refresh within Foreman. Therefore, with SCA enabled, you do not need to attach subscriptions individually to hosts.

Note

Simple Content Access (SCA) replaces the previous entitlement-based method of subscription management. New organizations default to having SCA enabled. Entitlement-based subscription management is deprecated. For more information, see Release notes.

2.2. Additional resources

  • For more information about how to manage subscriptions with Foreman, see Managing content.

3. Provisioning management with Foreman

With Foreman, you can provision hosts on various compute resources with many provisioning methods from a unified interface.

3.1. Provisioning methods in Foreman

With Foreman, you can provision hosts by using multiple methods.

Bare-Metal Provisioning

Foreman provisions bare-metal hosts primarily by using PXE boot and MAC address identification. When provisioning bare-metal hosts with Foreman, you can do the following:

  • Create host entries and specify the MAC address of the physical host to provision.

  • Boot blank hosts to use the Foreman Discovery service, which creates a pool of hosts that are ready to be provisioned.

  • Boot and provision hosts by using PXE-less methods.

Cloud Providers

Foreman connects to private and public cloud providers to provision instances of hosts from images that are stored with the cloud environment. When provisioning from cloud with Foreman, you can do the following:

  • Select which hardware profile or flavor to use.

  • Provision cloud instances from specific providers by using their APIs.

Virtualization Infrastructure

Foreman connects to virtualization infrastructure services, such as oVirt and VMware. When provisioning virtual machines with Foreman, you can do the following:

  • Provision virtual machines from virtual image templates.

  • Use the same PXE-based boot methods as bare-metal providers.

3.2. Additional resources

4. Major Foreman components

A typical Foreman deployment consists of the following components: a Foreman server, Smart Proxy servers that mirror content from Foreman server, and hosts that receive content and configuration from Foreman server and Smart Proxy servers.

4.1. Foreman Server overview

Foreman server is the central component of a Foreman deployment where you plan and manage the content lifecycle.

A typical Foreman deployment includes one Foreman server on which you perform the following operations:

  • Content lifecycle management

  • Configuration of Smart Proxy servers

  • Configuration of hosts

  • Host provisioning

  • Patch management

  • Subscription management

Foreman server delegates content distribution, host provisioning, and communication to Smart Proxy servers. Foreman server itself also includes a Smart Proxy.

Foreman server also contains a fine-grained authentication system. You can grant Foreman users permissions to access precisely the parts of the infrastructure for which they are responsible.

Additional resources

4.2. Organizations and locations in Foreman

On your Foreman server, you can define multiple organizations and locations to help organize content, hosts, and configurations.

Organizations

Organizations typically represent different business units, departments, or teams, such as Finance, Marketing, or Web Development.

By creating organizations, you can create logical containers to isolate and manage their configurations separately according to their specific requirements.

Locations

Locations typically represent physical locations, such as countries or cities.

By creating locations, you can define geographical sites where hosts are located. For example, this is useful in environments with multiple data centers.

4.3. Smart Proxy overview

With Smart Proxy servers, you can extend the reach and scalability of your Foreman deployment. Smart Proxy servers provide the following functionalities in a Foreman deployment:

  • Mirroring content from Foreman server to establish content sources in various geographical or logical locations. By registering a host to a Smart Proxy server, you can configure this host to receive content and configuration from the Smart Proxy in their location instead of from the central Foreman server.

  • Running localized services to discover, provision, control, and configure hosts.

By using content views, you can specify the exact subset of content that Smart Proxy server makes available to hosts. For more information, see Content and patch management with Foreman.

4.4. Overview of hosts in Foreman

A host is any Linux client that Foreman manages. Hosts can be physical or virtual.

You can deploy virtual hosts on any platform supported by Foreman, such as Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, KVM, libvirt, Microsoft Azure, OpenStack, oVirt, Proxmox, Rackspace Cloud Services, or VMware vSphere.

With Foreman, you can manage hosts at scale, including monitoring, provisioning, remote execution, configuration management, software management, and subscription management.

4.5. List of key open source components of Foreman Server

Foreman consists of several open source projects integrated with each other, such as the following:

Foreman

Foreman is a lifecycle management application for physical and virtual systems. It helps manage hosts throughout their lifecycle, from provisioning and configuration to orchestration and monitoring.

Katello

Katello is an optional plugin of Foreman that extends Foreman capabilities with additional features for content, subscription, and repository management. Katello enables Foreman to subscribe to repositories and to download content.

Candlepin

Candlepin is a service for subscription management.

Pulp

Pulp is a service for repository and content management.

4.6. Smart Proxy features

Smart Proxy servers provide local host management services. With the Katello plugin, they can also mirror content from Foreman server.

If you have the Katello plugin installed, you can use Smart Proxy to mirror content from Foreman server:

Repository synchronization

Smart Proxy servers pull content for selected lifecycle environments from Foreman server and make this content available to the hosts they manage.

Content delivery

Hosts configured to use Smart Proxy server download content from that Smart Proxy rather than from Foreman server.

Host action delivery

Smart Proxy server executes scheduled actions on hosts.

Red Hat Subscription Management (RHSM) proxy

Hosts are registered to their associated Smart Proxy servers rather than to the central Foreman server or the Red Hat Customer Portal.

You can use Smart Proxy to run the following services for infrastructure and host management:

DHCP

Smart Proxy can manage a DHCP server, including integration with an existing solution, such as ISC DHCP servers, Active Directory, and Libvirt instances.

DNS

Smart Proxy can manage a DNS server, including integration with an existing solution, such as ISC BIND and Active Directory.

TFTP

Smart Proxy can integrate with any UNIX-based TFTP server.

Realm

Smart Proxy can manage Kerberos realms or domains so that hosts can join them automatically during provisioning. Smart Proxy can integrate with an existing infrastructure, including FreeIPA and Active Directory.

Puppet server

Smart Proxy can act as a configuration management server by running a Puppet server.

Puppet Certificate Authority

Smart Proxy can integrate with the Puppet certificate authority (CA) to provide certificates to hosts.

Baseboard Management Controller (BMC)

Smart Proxy can provide power management for hosts by using the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) or Redfish standards.

Provisioning template proxy

Smart Proxy can serve provisioning templates to hosts.

OpenSCAP

Smart Proxy can perform security compliance scans on hosts.

Remote Execution (REX)

Smart Proxy can run remote job execution on hosts.

You can configure a Smart Proxy server for a specific limited purpose by enabling only selected features on that Smart Proxy. Common configurations include the following:

Infrastructure Smart Proxies: DNS + DHCP + TFTP

Smart Proxies with these services provide infrastructure services for hosts and have all necessary services for provisioning new hosts.

Content Smart Proxies: Pulp

Smart Proxies with this service provide content synchronized from Foreman server to hosts.

Configuration Smart Proxies: Pulp + Puppet + PuppetCA

Smart Proxies with these services provide content and run configuration services for hosts.

Smart Proxies with DNS + DHCP + TFTP + Pulp + Puppet + PuppetCA

Smart Proxies with these services provide a full set of Smart Proxy features. By configuring a Smart Proxy with all these features, you can isolate hosts assigned to that Smart Proxy by providing a single point of connection for the hosts.

4.7. Smart Proxy networking

The communication between Foreman server and hosts registered to a Smart Proxy server is routed through that Smart Proxy server. Smart Proxy server also provides Foreman services to hosts.

Many of the services that Smart Proxy server manages use dedicated network ports. However, Smart Proxy server ensures that all communications from the host to Foreman server use a single source IP address, which simplifies firewall administration.

Foreman topology with hosts connecting to a Smart Proxy

In this topology, Smart Proxy provides a single endpoint for all host network communications so that in remote network segments, only firewall ports to the Smart Proxy itself must be open.

The graphics in this section are Red Hat illustrations. Non-Red Hat illustrations are welcome. If you want to contribute alternative images, raise a pull request in the Foreman Documentation GitHub page. Note that in Red Hat terminology, "Satellite" refers to Foreman and "Capsule" refers to Smart Proxy.

Foreman topology with a host
Figure 1. How Foreman components interact when hosts connect to a Smart Proxy
Foreman topology with hosts connecting directly to Foreman server

In this topology, hosts connect to Foreman server rather than a Smart Proxy. This applies also to Smart Proxies themselves because the Smart Proxy server is a host of Foreman server.

The graphics in this section are Red Hat illustrations. Non-Red Hat illustrations are welcome. If you want to contribute alternative images, raise a pull request in the Foreman Documentation GitHub page. Note that in Red Hat terminology, "Satellite" refers to Foreman and "Capsule" refers to Smart Proxy.

Foreman topology with a direct host
Figure 2. How Foreman components interact when hosts connect directly to Foreman server
Additional resources

You can find complete instructions for configuring the host-based firewall to open the required ports in the following documents:

4.8. Additional resources

5. Tools for administration of Foreman

You can use multiple tools to manage Foreman.

5.1. Foreman web UI overview

You can manage and monitor your Foreman infrastructure from a browser with the Foreman web UI. For example, you can use the following navigation features in the Foreman web UI:

Navigation feature Description

Organization dropdown

Choose the organization you want to manage.

Location dropdown

Choose the location you want to manage.

Monitor

Provides summary dashboards and reports.

Content

Provides content management tools. This includes content views, activation keys, and lifecycle environments.

Hosts

Provides host inventory and provisioning configuration tools.

Configure

Provides general configuration tools and data, including host groups and Ansible content.

Infrastructure

Provides tools on configuring how Foreman interacts with the environment.

notification bell

Provides event notifications to keep administrators informed of important environment changes.

Administer

Provides advanced configuration for settings such as users, role-based access control (RBAC), and general settings.

Additional resources

5.2. Hammer CLI overview

You can configure and manage your Foreman server with CLI commands by using Hammer.

Using Hammer has the following benefits:

  • Create shell scripts based on Hammer commands for basic task automation.

  • Redirect output from Hammer to other tools.

  • Use the --debug option with Hammer to test responses to API calls before applying the API calls in a script. For example: hammer --debug organization list.

To issue Hammer commands, a user must have access to your Foreman server.

Note

To ensure a user-friendly and intuitive experience, the Foreman web UI takes priority when developing new functionality. Therefore, some features that are available in the Foreman web UI might not yet be available for Hammer.

In the background, each Hammer command first establishes a binding to the API, then sends a request. This can have performance implications when executing a large number of Hammer commands in sequence. In contrast, scripts that use API commands communicate directly with the Satellite API and they establish the binding only once.

5.3. Foreman API overview

You can write custom scripts and external applications that access the Foreman API over HTTP with the Representational State Transfer (REST) API provided by Foreman server. Use the REST API to integrate with enterprise IT systems and third-party applications, perform automated maintenance or error checking tasks, and automate repetitive tasks with scripts.

Using the REST API has the following benefits:

  • Configure any programming language, framework, or system with support for HTTP protocol to use the API.

  • Create client applications that require minimal knowledge of the Foreman infrastructure because users discover many details at runtime.

  • Adopt the resource-based REST model for intuitively managing a virtualization platform.

Scripts based on API commands communicate directly with the Foreman API, which makes them faster than scripts based on Hammer commands or Ansible playbooks relying on modules within theforeman.foreman.

Important
API commands differ between versions of Foreman. When you prepare to upgrade Foreman server, update all the scripts that contain Foreman API commands.

5.4. Remote execution in Foreman

With remote execution, you can run jobs on hosts remotely from Smart Proxies using shell scripts or Ansible tasks and playbooks.

Use remote execution for the following benefits in Foreman:

  • Run jobs on multiple hosts at once.

  • Use variables in your commands for more granular control over the jobs you run.

  • Use host facts and parameters to populate the variable values.

  • Specify custom values for templates when you run the command.

Communication for remote execution occurs through Smart Proxy server, which means that Foreman server does not require direct access to the target host, and can scale to manage many hosts.

To use remote execution, you must define a job template. A job template is a command that you want to apply to remote hosts. You can execute a job template multiple times.

Foreman uses ERB syntax job templates. For more information, see Template Writing Reference in Managing hosts.

By default, Foreman includes several job templates for shell scripts and Ansible. For more information, see Setting up Job Templates in Managing hosts.

Additional resources

5.5. Managing Foreman with Ansible collections

Foreman Ansible Collections is a set of Ansible modules that interact with the Foreman API. You can manage and automate many aspects of Foreman with Foreman Ansible collections.

5.6. Kickstart workflow

You can automate the installation process of a Foreman server or Smart Proxy server by creating a Kickstart file that contains all the information that is required for the installation.

When you run a Foreman Kickstart script, the script performs the following actions:

  1. It specifies the installation location of a Foreman server or a Smart Proxy server.

  2. It installs the predefined packages.

  3. It installs Subscription Manager.

  4. It uses Activation Keys to subscribe the hosts to Foreman.

  5. It installs Puppet, and configures a puppet.conf file to indicate the Foreman or Smart Proxy instance.

  6. It enables Puppet to run and request a certificate.

  7. It runs user defined snippets.

Additional resources

For more information about Kickstart, see Performing an automated installation using Kickstart in Performing an advanced RHEL 8 installation.

6. Supported usage and versions of Foreman components

Foreman supports the following use cases, architectures, and versions.

6.1. Foreman server operating system

Foreman has packages for Enterprise Linux 8 and 9, Debian 11 and Ubuntu 20.04 and 22.04. Katello plugin packages, which provide content management capabilities, are only available for Enterprise Linux.

Foreman community only packages Foreman for x86_64.

6.2. Client operating systems

Using Foreman, you can manage multiple operating systems that have clients Foreman can integrate with: For example:

  • Ansible

  • OpenSCAP

  • OpenSSH

  • Puppet

  • Windows Remote Management (WinRM)

  • Operating system installers that can perform unattended installations, such as Anaconda or Debian-installer

  • Other clients where integration is provided by external plugins

Foreman is actively tested with the following client operating systems:

  • CentOS 7 and 8

  • Debian stable

  • Enterprise Linux 7, 8, and 9

  • Ubuntu LTS

The Katello plugin provides functionality for content and subscription management. The following utilities are provided for supported client operating systems:

  • Katello host tools

  • Subscription manager

  • Tracer utility

Foreman deployment planning

7. Common deployment scenarios

This section provides a brief overview of common deployment scenarios for Foreman. Note that many variations and combinations of the following layouts are possible.

7.1. Single location

An integrated Smart Proxy is a virtual Smart Proxy server that is created by default in Foreman server during the installation process. This means Foreman server can be used to provision directly connected hosts for Foreman deployment in a single geographical location, therefore only one physical server is needed. The base systems of isolated Smart Proxies can be directly managed by Foreman server, however it is not recommended to use this layout to manage other hosts in remote locations.

7.2. Single location with segregated subnets

Your infrastructure might require multiple isolated subnets even if Foreman is deployed in a single geographic location. This can be achieved for example by deploying multiple Smart Proxy servers with DHCP and DNS services, but the recommended way is to create segregated subnets using a single Smart Proxy. This Smart Proxy is then used to manage hosts and compute resources in those segregated networks to ensure they only have to access the Smart Proxy for provisioning, configuration, errata, and general management. For more information on configuring subnets see Managing Hosts.

7.3. Multiple locations

It is recommended to create at least one Smart Proxy server per geographic location. This practice can save bandwidth since hosts obtain content from a local Smart Proxy server. Synchronization of content from remote repositories is done only by the Smart Proxy, not by each host in a location. In addition, this layout makes the provisioning infrastructure more reliable and easier to configure.

The graphics in this section are Red Hat illustrations. Non-Red Hat illustrations are welcome. If you want to contribute alternative images, raise a pull request in the Foreman Documentation GitHub page. Note that in Red Hat terminology, "Satellite" refers to Foreman and "Capsule" refers to Smart Proxy.

Content Flow in Foreman

7.4. Smart Proxy with external services

You can configure a Smart Proxy server (integrated or standalone) to use external DNS, DHCP, or TFTP service. If you already have a server that provides these services in your environment, you can integrate it with your Foreman deployment. For information about how to configure a Smart Proxy with external services, see Configuring Smart Proxy server with External Services in Installing a Smart Proxy Server nightly on Enterprise Linux.

8. Deployment considerations

This section provides an overview of general topics to be considered when planning a Foreman deployment together with recommendations and references to more specific documentation.

8.1. Foreman server with external database

When you install Foreman, the foreman-installer command creates databases on the same server that you install Foreman. Depending on your requirements, moving to external databases can provide increased working memory for Foreman, which can improve response times for database operating requests. Moving to external databases distributes the workload and can increase the capacity for performance tuning.

Consider using external databases if you plan to use your Foreman deployment for the following scenarios:

  • Frequent remote execution tasks. This creates a high volume of records in PostgreSQL and generates heavy database workloads.

  • High disk I/O workloads from frequent repository synchronization or Content View publishing. This causes Foreman to create a record in PostgreSQL for each job.

  • High volume of hosts.

  • High volume of synced content.

For more information about using an external database, see Using External Databases with Foreman in Installing Foreman Server with Katello nightly plugin on Enterprise Linux.

8.2. Locations and topology

This section outlines general considerations that should help you to specify your Foreman deployment scenario. The most common deployment scenarios are listed in Common deployment scenarios. The defining questions are:

  • How many Smart Proxy servers do I need? – The number of geographic locations where your organization operates should translate to the number of Smart Proxy servers. By assigning a Smart Proxy to each location, you decrease the load on Foreman server, increase redundancy, and reduce bandwidth usage. Foreman server itself can act as a Smart Proxy (it contains an integrated Smart Proxy by default). This can be used in single location deployments and to provision the base system’s of Smart Proxy servers. Using the integrated Smart Proxy to communicate with hosts in remote locations is not recommended as it can lead to suboptimal network utilization.

  • What services will be provided by Smart Proxy servers? – After establishing the number of Smart Proxies, decide what services will be enabled on each Smart Proxy. Even though the whole stack of content and configuration management capabilities is available, some infrastructure services (DNS, DHCP, TFTP) can be outside of a Foreman administrator’s control. In such case, Smart Proxies have to integrate with those external services (see Smart Proxy with external services).

  • What compute resources do I need for my hosts? – Apart from provisioning bare-metal hosts, you can use various compute resources supported by Foreman. To learn about provisioning on different compute resources see Provisioning hosts.

8.3. Content sources

The Red Hat Subscription Manifest determines what Red Hat repositories are accessible from your Foreman server. Once you enable a Red Hat repository, an associated Foreman Product is created automatically. For distributing content from custom sources you need to create products and repositories manually. Red Hat repositories are signed with GPG keys by default, and it is recommended to create GPG keys also for your custom repositories.

Yum repositories that contain only RPM packages support the On demand download policy, which reduces synchronization time and storage space. The On demand download policy saves space and time by only downloading packages when requested by hosts. For detailed instructions on setting up content sources, see Importing Content in Managing content.

A custom repository within Foreman server is in most cases populated with content from an external staging server. Such servers lie outside of the Foreman infrastructure, however, it is recommended to use a revision control system (such as Git) on these servers to have better control over the custom content.

8.4. Content lifecycle

Foreman provides features for precise management of the content lifecycle. A lifecycle environment represents a stage in the content lifecycle, a Content View is a filtered set of content, and can be considered as a defined subset of content. By associating Content Views with lifecycle environments, you make content available to hosts in a defined way.

The graphics in this section are Red Hat illustrations. Non-Red Hat illustrations are welcome. If you want to contribute alternative images, raise a pull request in the Foreman Documentation GitHub page. Note that in Red Hat terminology, "Satellite" refers to Foreman and "Capsule" refers to Smart Proxy.

Content Lifecycle in Foreman

For a detailed overview of the content management process see Importing Custom Content in Managing content. The following section provides general scenarios for deploying content views as well as lifecycle environments.

The default lifecycle environment called Library gathers content from all connected sources. It is not recommended to associate hosts directly with the Library as it prevents any testing of content before making it available to hosts. Instead, create a lifecycle environment path that suits your content workflow. The following scenarios are common:

  • A single lifecycle environment – content from Library is promoted directly to the production stage. This approach limits the complexity but still allows for testing the content within the Library before making it available to hosts.

    A single lifecycle environment
  • A single lifecycle environment path – both operating system and applications content is promoted through the same path. The path can consist of several stages (for example Development, QA, Production), which enables thorough testing but requires additional effort.

    A single lifecycle environment path
  • Application specific lifecycle environment paths – each application has a separate path, which allows for individual application release cycles. You can associate specific compute resources with application lifecycle stages to facilitate testing. On the other hand, this scenario increases the maintenance complexity.

    Application specific lifecycle environment paths

The following content view scenarios are common:

  • All in one content view – a content view that contains all necessary content for the majority of your hosts. Reducing the number of content views is an advantage in deployments with constrained resources (time, storage space) or with uniform host types. However, this scenario limits the content view capabilities such as time based snapshots or intelligent filtering. Any change in content sources affects a proportion of hosts.

  • Host specific content view – a dedicated content view for each host type. This approach can be useful in deployments with a small number of host types (up to 30). However, it prevents sharing content across host types as well as separation based on criteria other than the host type (for example between operating system and applications). With critical updates every content view has to be updated, which increases maintenance efforts.

  • Host specific composite content view – a dedicated combination of content views for each host type. This approach enables separating host specific and shared content, for example you can have dedicated content views for the operating system and application content. By using a composite, you can manage your operating system and applications separately and at different frequencies.

  • Component based content view – a dedicated content view for a specific application. For example a database content view can be included into several composite content views. This approach allows for greater standardization but it leads to an increased number of content views.

The optimal solution depends on the nature of your host environment. Avoid creating a large number of content views, but keep in mind that the size of a content view affects the speed of related operations (publishing, promoting). Also make sure that when creating a subset of packages for the content view, all dependencies are included as well. Note that kickstart repositories should not be added to content views, as they are used for host provisioning only.

8.5. Content deployment

Content deployment manages errata and packages on content hosts. Foreman can be configured to perform remote execution over MQTT/HTTPS (pull-based) or SSH (push-based). While remote execution is enabled on Foreman server by default, it is disabled on Smart Proxy servers and content hosts. You must enable it manually.

8.6. Provisioning

Foreman provides several features to help you automate the host provisioning, including provisioning templates, configuration management with Puppet, and host groups for standardized provisioning of host roles. For a description of the provisioning workflow see Provisioning Workflow in Provisioning hosts. The same guide contains instructions for provisioning on various compute resources.

8.7. Role based authentication

Assigning a role to a user enables controlling access to Foreman components based on a set of permissions. You can think of role based authentication as a way of hiding unnecessary objects from users who are not supposed to interact with them.

There are various criteria for distinguishing among different roles within an organization. Apart from the administrator role, the following types are common:

  • Roles related to applications or parts of infrastructure – for example, roles for owners of Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the operating system versus owners of application servers and database servers.

  • Roles related to a particular stage of the software lifecycle – for example, roles divided among the development, testing, and production phases, where each phase has one or more owners.

  • Roles related to specific tasks – such as security manager or license manager.

When defining a custom role, consider the following recommendations:

  • Define the expected tasks and responsibilities – define the subset of the Foreman infrastructure that will be accessible to the role as well as actions permitted on this subset. Think of the responsibilities of the role and how it would differ from other roles.

  • Use predefined roles whenever possible – Foreman provides a number of sample roles that can be used alone or as part of a role combination. Copying and editing an existing role can be a good start for creating a custom role.

  • Consider all affected entities – for example, a content view promotion automatically creates new Puppet Environments for the particular lifecycle environment and content view combination. Therefore, if a role is expected to promote content views, it also needs permissions to create and edit Puppet Environments.

  • Consider areas of interest – even though a role has a limited area of responsibility, there might be a wider area of interest. Therefore, you can grant the role a read only access to parts of Foreman infrastructure that influence its area of responsibility. This allows users to get earlier access to information about potential upcoming changes.

  • Add permissions step by step – test your custom role to make sure it works as intended. A good approach in case of problems is to start with a limited set of permissions, add permissions step by step, and test continuously.

For instructions on defining roles and assigning them to users, see Managing Users and Roles in Administering Foreman. The same guide contains information on configuring external authentication sources.

8.8. Additional tasks

This section provides a short overview of selected Foreman capabilities that can be used for automating certain tasks or extending the core usage of Foreman:

  • Discovering bare-metal hosts – the Foreman Discovery plugin enables automatic bare-metal discovery of unknown hosts on the provisioning network. These new hosts register themselves to Foreman server and the Puppet Agent on the client uploads system facts collected by Facter, such as serial ID, network interface, memory, and disk information. After registration you can initialize provisioning of those discovered hosts. For more information, see Creating Hosts from Discovered Hosts in Provisioning hosts.

  • Backup management – backup and disaster recovery instructions, see Backing Up Foreman server and Smart Proxy server in Administering Foreman. Using remote execution, you can also configure recurring backup tasks on hosts. For more information on remote execution see Configuring and Setting up Remote Jobs in Managing hosts.

  • Security management – Foreman supports security management in various ways, including update and errata management, OpenSCAP integration for system verification, update and security compliance reporting, and fine grained role based authentication. Find more information on errata management and OpenSCAP concepts in Managing hosts.

  • Incident management – Foreman supports the incident management process by providing a centralized overview of all systems including reporting and email notifications. Detailed information on each host is accessible from Foreman server, including the event history of recent changes.

  • Scripting with Hammer and API – Foreman provides a command line tool called Hammer that provides a CLI equivalent to the majority of web UI procedures. In addition, you can use the access to the Foreman API to write automation scripts in a selected programming language.

9. Organizations, locations, and lifecycle environments

Foreman takes a consolidated approach to Organization and Location management. System administrators define multiple Organizations and multiple Locations in a single Foreman server. For example, a company might have three Organizations (Finance, Marketing, and Sales) across three countries (United States, United Kingdom, and Japan). In this example, Foreman server manages all Organizations across all geographical Locations, creating nine distinct contexts for managing systems. In addition, users can define specific locations and nest them to create a hierarchy. For example, Foreman administrators might divide the United States into specific cities, such as Boston, Phoenix, or San Francisco.

The graphics in this section are Red Hat illustrations. Non-Red Hat illustrations are welcome. If you want to contribute alternative images, raise a pull request in the Foreman Documentation GitHub page. Note that in Red Hat terminology, "Satellite" refers to Foreman and "Capsule" refers to Smart Proxy.

Example topology for Foreman
Figure 3. Example topology for Foreman

Foreman server defines all locations and organizations. Each respective Foreman Smart Proxy server synchronizes content and handles configuration of systems in a different location.

The main Foreman server retains the management function, while the content and configuration is synchronized between the main Foreman server and a Foreman Smart Proxy server assigned to certain locations.

9.1. Organizations

Organizations divide Foreman resources into logical groups based on ownership, purpose, content, security level, or other divisions. You can create and manage multiple organizations through Foreman, then divide and assign your subscriptions to each individual organization. This provides a method of managing the content of several individual organizations under one management system.

9.2. Locations

Locations divide organizations into logical groups based on geographical location. Each location is created and used by a single account, although each account can manage multiple locations and organizations.

9.3. Lifecycle environments

Application lifecycles are divided into lifecycle environments which represent each stage of the application lifecycle. Lifecycle environments are linked to form an environment path. You can promote content along the environment path to the next lifecycle environment when required. For example, if development ends on a particular version of an application, you can promote this version to the testing environment and start development on the next version.

The graphics in this section are Red Hat illustrations. Non-Red Hat illustrations are welcome. If you want to contribute alternative images, raise a pull request in the Foreman Documentation GitHub page. Note that in Red Hat terminology, "Satellite" refers to Foreman and "Capsule" refers to Smart Proxy.

An environment path containing four environments
Figure 4. An environment path containing four environments

10. Host grouping concepts

Apart from the physical topology of Smart Proxy servers, Foreman provides several logical units for grouping hosts. Hosts that are members of those groups inherit the group configuration. For example, the simple parameters that define the provisioning environment can be applied at the following levels:

Global > Organization > Location > Domain > Host group > Host

The main logical groups in Foreman are:

  • Organizations – the highest level logical groups for hosts. Organizations provide a strong separation of content and configuration. Each organization requires a separate Red Hat Subscription Manifest, and can be thought of as a separate virtual instance of a Foreman server. Avoid the use of organizations if a lower level host grouping is applicable.

  • Locations – a grouping of hosts that should match the physical location. Locations can be used to map the network infrastructure to prevent incorrect host placement or configuration. For example, you cannot assign a subnet, domain, or compute resources directly to a Smart Proxy server, only to a location.

  • Host groups – the main carriers of host definitions including assigned Puppet classes, Content View, or operating system. It is recommended to configure the majority of settings at the host group level instead of defining hosts directly. Configuring a new host then largely becomes a matter of adding it to the right host group. As host groups can be nested, you can create a structure that best fits your requirements (see Host group structures).

  • Host collections – a host registered to Foreman server for the purpose of subscription and content management is called content host. Content hosts can be organized into host collections, which enables performing bulk actions such as package management or errata installation.

Locations and host groups can be nested. Organizations and host collections are flat.

10.1. Host group structures

The fact that host groups can be nested to inherit parameters from each other allows for designing host group hierarchies that fit particular workflows. A well planned host group structure can help to simplify the maintenance of host settings. This section outlines four approaches to organizing host groups.

Host group structuring examples
Figure 5. Host group structuring examples

Flat structure

The advantage of a flat structure is limited complexity, as inheritance is avoided. In a deployment with few host types, this scenario is the best option. However, without inheritance there is a risk of high duplication of settings between host groups.

Lifecycle environment based structure

In this hierarchy, the first host group level is reserved for parameters specific to a lifecycle environment. The second level contains operating system related definitions, and the third level contains application specific settings. Such structure is useful in scenarios where responsibilities are divided among lifecycle environments (for example, a dedicated owner for the Development, QA, and Production lifecycle stages).

Application based structure

This hierarchy is based on roles of hosts in a specific application. For example, it enables defining network settings for groups of back-end and front-end servers. The selected characteristics of hosts are segregated, which supports Puppet-focused management of complex configurations. However, the content views can only be assigned to host groups at the bottom level of this hierarchy.

Location based structure

In this hierarchy, the distribution of locations is aligned with the host group structure. In a scenario where the location (Smart Proxy server) topology determines many other attributes, this approach is the best option. On the other hand, this structure complicates sharing parameters across locations, therefore in complex environments with a large number of applications, the number of host group changes required for each configuration change increases significantly.

11. Provisioning concepts

An important feature of Foreman is unattended provisioning of hosts. To achieve this, Foreman uses DNS and DHCP infrastructures, PXE booting, TFTP, and Kickstart. Use this chapter to understand the working principle of these concepts.

11.1. PXE booting

Preboot execution environment (PXE) provides the ability to boot a system over a network. Instead of using local hard drives or a CD-ROM, PXE uses DHCP to provide host with standard information about the network, to discover a TFTP server, and to download a boot image.

11.1.1. PXE sequence

  1. The host boots the PXE image if no other bootable image is found.

  2. A NIC of the host sends a broadcast request to the DHCP server.

  3. The DHCP server receives the request and sends standard information about the network: IP address, subnet mask, gateway, DNS, the location of a TFTP server, and a boot image.

  4. The host obtains the boot loader image/pxelinux.0 and the configuration file pxelinux.cfg/00:MA:CA:AD:D from the TFTP server.

  5. The host configuration specifies the location of a kernel image, initrd and Kickstart.

  6. The host downloads the files and installs the image.

For an example of using PXE Booting by Foreman server, see Provisioning Workflow in Provisioning hosts.

11.1.2. PXE booting requirements

To provision machines using PXE booting, ensure that you meet the following requirements:

Network requirements
  • Optional: If the host and the DHCP server are separated by a router, configure the DHCP relay agent and point to the DHCP server.

Client requirements
  • Ensure that all the network-based firewalls are configured to allow clients on the subnet to access the Smart Proxy. For more information, see Smart Proxy networking.

  • Ensure that your client has access to the DHCP and TFTP servers.

Foreman requirements
  • Ensure that both Foreman server and Smart Proxy have DNS configured and are able to resolve provisioned host names.

  • Ensure that the UDP ports 67 and 68 are accessible by the client to enable the client to receive a DHCP offer with the boot options.

  • Ensure that the UDP port 69 is accessible by the client so that the client can access the TFTP server on the Smart Proxy.

  • Ensure that the TCP port 80 is accessible by the client to allow the client to download files and Kickstart templates from the Smart Proxy.

  • Ensure that the host provisioning interface subnet has a DHCP Smart Proxy set.

  • Ensure that the host provisioning interface subnet has a TFTP Smart Proxy set.

  • Ensure that the host provisioning interface subnet has a Templates Smart Proxy set.

  • Ensure that DHCP with the correct subnet is enabled using the Foreman installer.

  • Enable TFTP using the Foreman installer.

11.2. HTTP booting

You can use HTTP booting to boot systems over a network using HTTP.

11.2.1. HTTP booting requirements with managed DHCP

To provision machines through HTTP booting ensure that you meet the following requirements:

Client requirements

For HTTP booting to work, ensure that your environment has the following client-side configurations:

  • All the network-based firewalls are configured to allow clients on the subnet to access the Smart Proxy. For more information, see Smart Proxy networking.

  • Your client has access to the DHCP and DNS servers.

  • Your client has access to the HTTP UEFI Boot Smart Proxy.

Network requirements
  • Optional: If the host and the DHCP server are separated by a router, configure the DHCP relay agent and point to the DHCP server.

Foreman requirements

Although TFTP protocol is not used for HTTP UEFI Booting, Foreman uses TFTP Smart Proxy API to deploy bootloader configuration.

For HTTP booting to work, ensure that Foreman has the following configurations:

  • Both Foreman server and Smart Proxy have DNS configured and are able to resolve provisioned host names.

  • The UDP ports 67 and 68 are accessible by the client so that the client can send and receive a DHCP request and offer.

  • Ensure that the TCP port 8000 is open for the client to download the bootloader and Kickstart templates from the Smart Proxy.

  • The TCP port 9090 is open for the client to download the bootloader from the Smart Proxy using the HTTPS protocol.

  • The subnet that functions as the host’s provisioning interface has a DHCP Smart Proxy, an HTTP Boot Smart Proxy, a TFTP Smart Proxy, and a Templates Smart Proxy

  • The grub2-efi package is updated to the latest version. To update the grub2-efi package to the latest version and execute the installer to copy the recent bootloader from /boot into /var/lib/tftpboot directory, enter the following commands:

    # dnf update grub2-efi
    # foreman-installer

11.2.2. HTTP booting requirements with unmanaged DHCP

To provision machines through HTTP booting without managed DHCP ensure that you meet the following requirements:

Client requirements
  • HTTP UEFI Boot URL must be set to one of:

    • http://smartproxy.example.com:8000

    • https://smartproxy.example.com:9090

  • Ensure that your client has access to the DHCP and DNS servers.

  • Ensure that your client has access to the HTTP UEFI Boot Smart Proxy.

  • Ensure that all the network-based firewalls are configured to allow clients on the subnet to access the Smart Proxy. For more information, see Smart Proxy networking.

Network requirements
  • An unmanaged DHCP server available for clients.

  • An unmanaged DNS server available for clients. In case DNS is not available, use IP address to configure clients.

Foreman requirements

Although TFTP protocol is not used for HTTP UEFI Booting, Foreman use TFTP Smart Proxy API to deploy bootloader configuration.

  • Ensure that both Foreman server and Smart Proxy have DNS configured and are able to resolve provisioned host names.

  • Ensure that the UDP ports 67 and 68 are accessible by the client so that the client can send and receive a DHCP request and offer.

  • Ensure that the TCP port 8000 is open for the client to download bootloader and Kickstart templates from the Smart Proxy.

  • Ensure that the TCP port 9090 is open for the client to download the bootloader from the Smart Proxy through HTTPS.

  • Ensure that the host provisioning interface subnet has an HTTP Boot Smart Proxy set.

  • Ensure that the host provisioning interface subnet has a TFTP Smart Proxy set.

  • Ensure that the host provisioning interface subnet has a Templates Smart Proxy set.

  • Update the grub2-efi package to the latest version and execute the installer to copy the recent bootloader from the /boot directory into the /var/lib/tftpboot directory:

    # dnf update grub2-efi
    # foreman-installer

11.3. Secure boot

When Foreman is installed on Enterprise Linux using foreman-installer, grub2 and shim bootloaders that are signed by Red Hat are deployed into the TFTP and HTTP UEFI Boot directory. PXE loader options named "SecureBoot" configure hosts to load shim.efi.

On Debian and Ubuntu operating systems, the grub2 bootloader is created using the grub2-mkimage unsigned. To perform the Secure Boot, the bootloader must be manually signed and key enrolled into the EFI firmware. Alternatively, grub2 from Ubuntu or Enterprise Linux can be copied to perform booting.

Grub2 in Enterprise Linux 8.0-8.3 were updated to mitigate Boot Hole Vulnerability and keys of existing Enterprise Linux kernels were invalidated. To boot any of the affected Enterprise Linux kernel (or OS installer), you must enroll keys manually into the EFI firmware for each host:

+

# pesign -P -h -i /boot/vmlinuz-<version>
# mokutil --import-hash <hash value returned from pesign>
# reboot

Appendix A: Technical users provided and required by Foreman

During the installation of Foreman, system accounts are created. They are used to manage files and process ownership of the components integrated into Foreman. Some of these accounts have fixed UIDs and GIDs, while others take the next available UID and GID on the system instead. To control the UIDs and GIDs assigned to accounts, you can define accounts before installing Foreman. Because some of the accounts have hard-coded UIDs and GIDs, it is not possible to do this with all accounts created during Foreman installation.

The following table lists all the accounts created by Foreman during installation. You can predefine accounts that have Yes in the Flexible UID and GID column with custom UID and GID before installing Foreman.

Do not change the home and shell directories of system accounts because they are requirements for Foreman to work correctly.

Because of potential conflicts with local users that Foreman creates, you cannot use external identity providers for the system users of the Foreman base operating system.

Table 1. Technical users provided and required by Foreman
User name UID Group name GID Flexible UID and GID Home Shell

foreman

N/A

foreman

N/A

yes

/usr/share/foreman

/sbin/nologin

foreman-proxy

N/A

foreman-proxy

N/A

yes

/usr/share/foreman-proxy

/sbin/nologin

apache

48

apache

48

no

/usr/share/httpd

/sbin/nologin

postgres

26

postgres

26

no

/var/lib/pgsql

/bin/bash

pulp

N/A

pulp

N/A

no

N/A

/sbin/nologin

puppet

52

puppet

52

no

/opt/puppetlabs/server/data/puppetserver

/sbin/nologin

saslauth

N/A

saslauth

76

no

/run/saslauthd

/sbin/nologin

tomcat

53

tomcat

53

no

/usr/share/tomcat

/bin/nologin

unbound

N/A

unbound

N/A

yes

/etc/unbound

/sbin/nologin

Appendix B: Glossary of terms used in Foreman

Activation key

A token for host registration and subscription attachment. Activation keys define subscriptions, products, content views, and other parameters to be associated with a newly created host.

Answer file

A configuration file that defines settings for an installation scenario. Answer files are defined in the YAML format and stored in the /etc/foreman-installer/scenarios.d/ directory.

ARF report

The result of an OpenSCAP audit. Summarizes the security compliance of hosts managed by Foreman.

Audits

Provide a report on changes made by a specific user. Audits can be viewed in the Foreman web UI under Monitor > Audits.

Baseboard management controller (BMC)

Enables remote power management of bare-metal hosts. In Foreman, you can create a BMC interface to manage selected hosts.

Boot disk

An ISO image used for PXE-less provisioning. This ISO enables the host to connect to Foreman server, boot the installation media, and install the operating system. There are several kinds of boot disks: host image, full host image, generic image, and subnet image.

Catalog

A document that describes the desired system state for one specific host managed by Puppet. It lists all of the resources that need to be managed, as well as any dependencies between those resources. Catalogs are compiled by a Puppet server from Puppet Manifests and data from Puppet Agents.

Candlepin

A service within Katello responsible for subscription management.

Compliance policy

Refers to a scheduled task executed on Foreman server that checks the specified hosts for compliance against SCAP content.

Compute profile

Specifies default attributes for new virtual machines on a compute resource.

Compute resource

A virtual or cloud infrastructure, which Foreman uses for deployment of hosts and systems. Examples include oVirt, OpenStack, EC2, and VMWare.

Container (Docker container)

An isolated application sandbox that contains all runtime dependencies required by an application. Foreman supports container provisioning on a dedicated compute resource.

Container image

A static snapshot of the container’s configuration. Foreman supports various methods of importing container images as well as distributing images to hosts through content views.

Content

A general term for everything Foreman distributes to hosts. Includes software packages (RPM files), or Docker images. Content is synchronized into the Library and then promoted into lifecycle environments using content views so that they can be consumed by hosts.

Content delivery network (CDN)

The mechanism used to deliver Red Hat content to Foreman server.

Content host

The part of a host that manages tasks related to content and subscriptions.

Content view

A subset of Library content created by intelligent filtering. Once a content view is published, it can be promoted through the lifecycle environment path, or modified using incremental upgrades.

Discovered host

A bare-metal host detected on the provisioning network by the Discovery plugin.

Discovery image

Refers to the minimal operating system based on Enterprise Linux that is PXE-booted on hosts to acquire initial hardware information and to communicate with Foreman server before starting the provisioning process.

Discovery plugin

Enables automatic bare-metal discovery of unknown hosts on the provisioning network. The plugin consists of three components: services running on Foreman server and Smart Proxy server, and the Discovery image running on host.

Discovery rule

A set of predefined provisioning rules which assigns a host group to discovered hosts and triggers provisioning automatically.

Docker tag

A mark used to differentiate container images, typically by the version of the application stored in the image. In the Foreman web UI, you can filter images by tag under Content > Docker Tags.

Enterprise Linux

An umbrella term for the following Red Hat Enterprise Linux-like operating systems:

  • AlmaLinux

  • CentOS Linux

  • CentOS Stream

  • Oracle Linux

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux

  • Rocky Linux

Foreman is tested on AlmaLinux and CentOS Stream.

ERB

Embedded Ruby (ERB) is a template syntax used in provisioning and job templates.

Errata

Updated RPM packages containing security fixes, bug fixes, and enhancements. In relationship to a host, erratum is applicable if it updates a package installed on the host and installable if it is present in the host’s content view (which means it is accessible for installation on the host).

External node classifier

A construct that provides additional data for a server to use when configuring hosts. Foreman acts as an External Node Classifier to Puppet servers in a Foreman deployment.

The External Node Classifier will be removed in a future Foreman version.

Facter

A program that provides information (facts) about the system on which it is run; for example, Facter can report total memory, operating system version, architecture, and more. Puppet modules enable specific configurations based on host data gathered by Facter.

Facts

Host parameters such as total memory, operating system version, or architecture. Facts are reported by Facter and used by Puppet.

Foreman

The component mainly responsible for provisioning and content lifecycle management.

Foreman hook

An executable that is automatically triggered when an orchestration event occurs, such as when a host is created or when provisioning of a host has completed.

Full host image

A boot disk used for PXE-less provisioning of a specific host. The full host image contains an embedded Linux kernel and init RAM disk of the associated operating system installer.

Generic image

A boot disk for PXE-less provisioning that is not tied to a specific host. The generic image sends the host’s MAC address to Foreman server, which matches it against the host entry.

Hammer

A command line tool for managing Foreman. You can execute Hammer commands from the command line or utilize them in scripts. Hammer also provides an interactive shell.

Host

Refers to any system, either physical or virtual, that Foreman manages.

Host collection

A user defined group of one or more Hosts used for bulk actions such as errata installation.

Host group

A template for building a host. Host groups hold shared parameters, such as subnet or lifecycle environment, that are inherited by host group members. Host groups can be nested to create a hierarchical structure.

Host image

A boot disk used for PXE-less provisioning of a specific host. The host image only contains the boot files necessary to access the installation media on Foreman server.

Incremental upgrade (of a content view)

The act of creating a new (minor) content view version in a lifecycle environment. Incremental upgrades provide a way to make in-place modification of an already published content view. Useful for rapid updates, for example when applying security errata.

Job

A command executed remotely on a host from Foreman server. Every job is defined in a job template.

Katello

A Foreman plugin responsible for subscription and repository management.

Lazy sync

The ability to change the default download policy of a repository from Immediate to On Demand. The On Demand setting saves storage space and synchronization time by only downloading the packages when requested by a host.

Location

A collection of default settings that represent a physical place.

Library

A container for content from all synchronized repositories on Foreman server. Libraries exist by default for each organization as the root of every lifecycle environment path and the source of content for every content view.

Lifecycle environment

A container for content view versions consumed by the content hosts. A Lifecycle Environment represents a step in the lifecycle environment path. Content moves through lifecycle environments by publishing and promoting content views.

Lifecycle environment path

A sequence of lifecycle environments through which the content views are promoted. You can promote a content view through a typical promotion path; for example, from development to test to production.

Manifest (Red Hat subscription manifest)

A mechanism for transferring subscriptions from the Red Hat Customer Portal to Foreman. Do not confuse with Puppet manifest.

Migrating Foreman

The process of moving an existing Foreman installation to a new instance.

OpenSCAP

A project implementing security compliance auditing according to the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP). OpenSCAP is integrated in Foreman to provide compliance auditing for hosts.

Organization

An isolated collection of systems, content, and other functionality within a Foreman deployment.

Parameter

Defines the behavior of Foreman components during provisioning. Depending on the parameter scope, we distinguish between global, domain, host group, and host parameters. Depending on the parameter complexity, we distinguish between simple parameters (key-value pair) and smart parameters (conditional arguments, validation, overrides).

Parametrized class (smart class parameter)

A parameter created by importing a class from Puppet server.

Permission

Defines an action related to a selected part of Foreman infrastructure (resource type). Each resource type is associated with a set of permissions, for example the Architecture resource type has the following permissions: view_architectures, create_architectures, edit_architectures, and destroy_architectures. You can group permissions into roles and associate them with users or user groups.

Product

A collection of content repositories. Products are either provided by Red Hat CDN or created by the Foreman administrator to group custom repositories.

Promote (a content view)

The act of moving a content view from one lifecycle environment to another. For more information, see Promoting a content view in Managing content.

Provisioning template

Defines host provisioning settings. Provisioning templates can be associated with host groups, lifecycle environments, or operating systems.

Publish (a content view)

The act of making a content view version available in a lifecycle environment and usable by hosts.

Pulp

A service within Katello responsible for repository and content management.

Pulp mirror

A Smart Proxy server component that mirrors content.

Puppet

The configuration management component of Foreman.

Puppet agent

A service running on a host that applies configuration changes to that host.

Puppet environment

An isolated set of Puppet Agent nodes that can be associated with a specific set of Puppet Modules.

Puppet manifest

Refers to Puppet scripts, which are files with the .pp extension. The files contain code to define a set of necessary resources, such as packages, services, files, users and groups, and so on, using a set of key-value pairs for their attributes.

Puppet server

A Smart Proxy server component that provides Puppet Manifests to hosts for execution by the Puppet Agent.

Puppet module

A self-contained bundle of code (Puppet Manifests) and data (facts) that you can use to manage resources such as users, files, and services.

Recurring logic

A job executed automatically according to a schedule. In the Foreman web UI, you can view those jobs under Monitor > Recurring logics.

Registry

An archive of container images. Foreman supports importing images from local and external registries. Foreman itself can act as an image registry for hosts. However, hosts cannot push changes back to the registry.

Repository

Provides storage for a collection of content.

Resource type

Refers to a part of Foreman infrastructure, for example host, Smart Proxy, or architecture. Used in permission filtering.

Role

Specifies a collection of permissions that are applied to a set of resources, such as hosts. Roles can be assigned to users and user groups. Foreman provides a number of predefined roles.

SCAP content

A file containing the configuration and security baseline against which hosts are checked. Used in compliance policies.

Smart Proxy

A Smart Proxy component that can integrate with external services, such as DNS or DHCP. Smart Proxies are useful for Foreman deployment across various geographical locations.

Subnet image

A type of generic image for PXE-less provisioning that communicates through Smart Proxy server.

Subscription

An entitlement for receiving content and service from Red Hat.

Synchronization

Refers to mirroring content from external resources into the Foreman Library.

Sync plan

Provides scheduled execution of content synchronization.

Task

A background process executed on the Foreman or Smart Proxy server, such as repository synchronization or content view publishing. You can monitor the task status in the Foreman web UI under Monitor > Foreman Tasks > Tasks.

Trend

A means of tracking changes in specific parts of Foreman infrastructure. Configure trends in Foreman web UI under Monitor > Trends. Requires foreman_statistics plugin on your Foreman server.

Updating Foreman

The process of advancing your Foreman server and Smart Proxy server installations from a z-stream release to the next, for example Foreman nightly.0 to Foreman nightly.1.

Upgrading Foreman

The process of advancing your Foreman server and Smart Proxy server installations from a y-stream release to the next, for example Foreman 3.10 to Foreman nightly.

User group

A collection of roles which can be assigned to a collection of users.

User

Anyone registered to use Foreman. Authentication and authorization is possible through built-in logic, through external resources (LDAP, Identity Management, or Active Directory), or with Kerberos.

virt-who

An agent for retrieving IDs of virtual machines from the hypervisor. When used with Foreman, virt-who reports those IDs to Foreman server so that it can provide subscriptions for hosts provisioned on virtual machines.

Appendix C: CLI help

Foreman offers multiple user interfaces: Foreman web UI, Hammer CLI, API, and through Ansible collection theforeman.foreman. If you want to administer Foreman on the command line, have a look at the following help output.

Foreman services

A set of services that Foreman server and Smart Proxy servers use for operation. You can use the foreman-maintain tool to manage these services. To see the full list of services, enter the foreman-maintain service list command on the machine where Foreman or Smart Proxy server is installed. For more information, run foreman-maintain --help on your Foreman server or Smart Proxy server.

Foreman plugins

You can extend Foreman by installing plugins. For more information, run foreman-installer --full-help on your Foreman server or Smart Proxy server.

Hammer CLI

You can manage Foreman on the command line using hammer. For more information on using Hammer CLI, run hammer --help on your Foreman server or Smart Proxy server.