Using Rudder policy server as generic file server

As all Rudder policy servers use an HTTP server, it is possible to use them as standard file servers, which can be useful for package repositories for example.

Coupled with a directive to synchronize those files from the root server, it is an easy way to distribute files on a multi-site infrastructure.

It is generally not advised to install other services on Rudder servers, mainly for security reasons, but a simple file server can make sense on limited infrastructures (embedded, etc.)

Web server configuration

We will start by configuring apache httpd to serve our files, for example from /var/www.

Rudder deploys one virtual host, so you can use another one. It needs to have a specific ServerName to allow using the right configuration.

Let’s deploy a 00-file-mirror.conf file in /etc/httpd/conf.d/ on RHEL or CentOS or /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/ on Debian, Ubuntu or SLES.

<VirtualHost *:80>
  ServerName repo.relay.test
  DocumentRoot /var/www/repos

  # Logs
  LogLevel warn
  CustomLog /var/log/rudder/apache2/access-repo.log combined
  ErrorLog /var/log/rudder/apache2/error-repo.log

And if you need HTTP add:

<VirtualHost *:443>
  ServerName repo.relay.test
  DocumentRoot /var/www/repos

  # Logs
  LogLevel warn
  CustomLog /var/log/rudder/apache2/access-repo.log combined
  ErrorLog /var/log/rudder/apache2/error-repo.log

  SSLEngine on
  # Update with the path to your certificates
  SSLCertificateFile      /opt/rudder/etc/ssl/rudder.crt
  SSLCertificateKeyFile   /opt/rudder/etc/ssl/rudder.key

Let’s automate this with a Rudder technique:

  • File content with the above config (or any other file management method of you choice)

  • Service reload on apache2 or httpd depending on the OS

File synchronization

You first need to put your files in place in /var/www/repos on the root server. If you have relays you may want to distribute the same content everywhere.

You can do it using Rudder too, with a Command execution that runs:

rsync --archive --checksum --compress --sparse --delete \
      ${USER}@${server_info.policy_server}:/var/www/repos /var/www/repos

and apply it on you relays (${server_info.policy_server} will be automatically be replaced by your root server’s IP or hostname).

The most secure way to do it is to setup a specific user for this on your root server, and add ssh keys from your relays as authorized_keys. This can be done using the SSH key distribution technique for example.


You can now use your Rudder server as source to download various files.

If you use it for package repositories, you can use ${server_info.policy_server} as server hostname in your repository configuration. This will be replaced by each node’s policy server at execution, for example:

name=Rudder 6.2 Repository

for a yum Rudder repository synchronized directly in /var/www/repos.

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