Controlling Frequency

Table of Contents

When checking a series of expensive functions and verifying complex promises, you may want to make sure that CFEngine is not checking too frequently. One way of doing this is classes and class expression, another is using locks.

CFEngine incorporates a series of locks which prevent it from checking promises too often, and which prevent it from spending too long trying to check promises it has recently verified. This locking mechanism works in such a way that you can start several CFEngine components simultaneously without them interfering with each other. You can control two things about each kind of action in CFEngine:


The minimum time (in minutes) which should have passed since the last time that promise was verified. It will not be executed again until this amount of time has elapsed. Default time is 1 minute.


The maximum amount (in minutes) of time cf-agent should wait for an old instantiation to finish before killing it and starting again. You can think about expireafter as a timeout to use when a promise verification may involve an operation that could wait indefinitely. Default time is 120 minutes.

You can set these values either globally (for all actions) or for each action separately. If you set global and local values, the local values override the global ones. All times are written in units of minutes. The following global setting is defined in body agent control.

    body agent control
        ifelapsed => "60";  # one hour

This setting tells CFEngine not to verify promises until 60 minutes have elapsed, ie ensures that the global frequency for all promise verification is one hour. This global setting of one hour could be changed for a specific promise body by setting ifelapsed in the promise body.

    body action example
        ifelapsed => "90";  # 1.5 hours

This promise which overrides the global 60 minute time period and defines a frequency of 90 minutes.

These locks do not prevent the whole of cf-agent from running, only atomic promise checks on the same objects (packages, users, files, etc.). Several different cf-agent instances can run concurrently. The locks ensure that promises will not be verified by two cf-agents at the same time or too soon after a verification.