User Files


Anyone using Cinch to provision either a Jenkins master or slave may have the need to perform configuration to the system that exceeds the ability of Cinch to reasonably include support for within these playbooks. These could cover nearly any aspect of system administration, monitoring, configuration, and setup. For such a case, it is recommended that the user leverage the ability of Ansible to file a host into multiple different inventory groups, and private configuration be stored in private playbooks. Then those playbooks can be executed either before or after (or both) the Cinch playbooks are executed.

However, there are a few basic system administration tasks that are general enough, and simple enough, that Cinch has opted to support those features to assist in the configuration of a Jenkins master. In addition to supporting the ability to setup Yum/DNF repositories during configuration and configure certificate authority chains, both of which are important to installing the packages required by Cinch and to configure SSL options for Jenkins, another feature supported by Cinch is the ability to upload arbitrary files from the local system where Ansible is being hosted to the remote system being configured.


Each Ansible host, or group, can have defined values of files to upload to the remote hosts. These uploads happen at two different points during the execution of Cinch. The first set of uploads occurs before any Cinch plays have been executed except for verifying the host is reachable. This means that none of the Cinch-related configurations will be available during this upload run, unless they have previously been configured. This includes things like the “jenkins” system user, configured repositories, certificate authorities, etc. The second run happens at the very end - after both the master and any slaves have been configured and are up and running. However, at this point, all such configurations, users, etc are already present on the system.

Thus, it is important to realize a file cannot be uploaded to be owned by the Jenkins user before the Jenkins user is created. If it is necessary to upload a file as that user before the Jenkins service starts on a configured host, then it will be necessary to use external playbooks or other methods to ensure proper behavior.


Configuring uploads either before or after a Cinch run is straightforward. Simply override the values of the arrays “pre_upload_files” and “post_upload_files” in the Ansible host or group configurations for all hosts that require such a feature.

These arrays require identical structures. Each element in the array should be an object hash with certain values defined. Those values are listed below:

value required?
src yes
dest yes
owner no
group no
mode no


  - src: /home/deployuser/somehost/ssl.key
    dest: /etc/apache2/ssl/ssl.key
    mode: 0600
  - src: /home/deployuser/somehost/ssh
    dest: /var/lib/jenkins/.ssh
    owner: jenkins
    mode: 0600

Each of these values is passed directly into the Ansible module called copy. Refer to that module’s documentation for information about the structure and values that are permitted to be passed into these values. Note, especially, that this module can be used to upload whole directories in addition to individual files.

If the need arises to support more of the options of that module, adding that support to Cinch can be done. Please just open an issue in the GitHub Issue Tracker detailing the requested functionality.