[Beowulf] Python Fabric WAS Re: anyone using SALT on your clusters?

Andrew Holway andrew.holway at gmail.com
Sat Jun 29 02:46:44 PDT 2013

> Saltstack and even Python Fabric are great tools for managing large
> numbers of systems. I have not used them with a Beowulf system yet but
> the threading and logging for "push" configurations is the best of
> both worlds. One great aspect of Python Fabric is the local command
> execution so that things like RSH, TFTP and Telnet are possible with
> your deployment/configuration system.

I asked one of our developers about Python Fabric and he replied with:

It serves several purposes:

  1) It provides a way to establish SSH connections to nodes so that
we can manipulate them (including the ability to connect to more than
one node)

  2) It provides a way to define certain actions to take over those
SSH connections

  3) It offers a Python API and a command line tool to invoke those
actions on some specified nodes.

It doesn't do any of these particularly well:

 A) It does a very bad job of reporting connection errors, such that
recovering from failure is either impossible or just difficult enough
that we don't bother.

 B) Commands are defined mostly using Python code containing strings
containing manually escaped shell expressions.  This is largely
opaque, tedious, and error prone.  Failures are often obscured, making
recovery impossible.

 C) The Python API is blocking, and so doesn't integrate well with any
of the rest of our code.  Failures are often obscured, making recovery
impossible.  The command line tool might be okay though, I don't know,
I haven't really used it.

> --
> ~ Andrew "lathama" Latham lathama at gmail.com http://lathama.net ~
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