[Beowulf] looking for good distributed shell program

Prentice Bisbal prentice at ias.edu
Tue May 11 06:30:57 PDT 2010


Thanks for the reply. I have read articles on xCAT and was always
intereted in it, I just never got around to actually installing it and
trying it myself.

You would still need to authenticate to run commands as root. Where ssh
is used, this would require the admin to have a key that's in root's
authorized_keys file to run a remote command as root.

I think that's safer to be able to specify the user to execute the
commands as (including root), than to require they log in as root on the
local machine first, where they can forget to logout and continue to
execute commands as root.

Also, it's nice to specify that you want to run a command as root - it
eliminates the need to run ALL commands as root. Just checking uptime or
kernel version, for example, shouldn't require root privileges, but
restarting a daemon on a server should always require root privileges.


derekr42 at gmail.com wrote:
> Prentice,
> In case you haven't dealt with it before or were put off by the fact that parts of xCAT from IBM used to be proprietary, this cluster toolkit contains an excellent parallel shell (psh) that meets most of your requirements, except for the parsing of output, which follows *nix traditions by leaving it to the user's discretion of how to process output with tools such as shell, awk/sed, perl, etc. If you don't want to use the whole toolkit, simply install the parts you want and set up the config file. It's worked well for in managing any large number of machine.
> And I think it's a bad idea to run root commands w/out having to authenticate in some manner. Too much security and responsibility issues.
> Best of luck!
> Derek R.
> Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Prentice Bisbal <prentice at ias.edu>
> Date: Mon, 10 May 2010 15:43:04 
> To: Beowulf Mailing List<beowulf at beowulf.org>
> Subject: [Beowulf] looking for good distributed shell program
> Beowulfers,
> I'm looking for something that isn't exactly cluster-related, but this
> is something that most cluster admins would be familiar with. I'm
> looking for a good distributed shell, something similar to tentakel or
> gsh. I figure all of you probably have recommendations/opinions on the
> best ones.
> I'm familiar with tentakel, but I find it lacking in a few areas, and
> it's recently been abandoned by it's developer. The author of tentakel
> recommends gsh, but gsh doesn't allow to create pre-defined groups of
> hosts in a config file.
> Here's my wish list:
> 1. Be able to maintain a central config file with different group
> definitiosn with in it.
> 2. Run the commands in parallel and organize the output
> 3. Be able specify the user the command runs as on the command-line, so
>  I don't have to become root just to run a single command as root.
> 4. Be able to subtract systems from a group or add additional ones on
> the commandline. For example, if I have group "cluster", but node05 is
> down, so I want to omit it and add desktop1 instead, I could do
> something like.
> <command> -g cluster-node05+desktop1
> I used a program with these features about 10 years ago. I think it was
> gsh or dsh, but the gsh and dsh I've found today, are different than
> what I used 10 years ago.
> any recommendations?

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