Linux Symposium

ClusterShell, a scalable execution framework for administrative tasks

Aurelien Cedeyn

Cluster-wide administrative tasks and other distributed jobs are often executed by administrators using locally developed tools and do not rely on a solid, common and efficient execution framework. This document covers this subject by giving an overview of ClusterShell, an open source Python middleware framework developed to improve the administration of HPC Linux clusters or server farms.

ClusterShell provides an event-driven library interface that eases the management of parallel system tasks, such as copying files, executing shell commands and gathering results. By default, remote shell commands rely on SSH, a standard and secure network protocol. Based on a scalable, distributed execution model using asynchronous and non-blocking I/O, the library has shown very good performance on petaflop systems. Furthermore, by providing efficient support for node sets and more particularly node groups bindings, the library and its associated tools can ease cluster installations and daily tasks performed by the administrator team.

In addition to the library interface, this document addresses resiliency and topology changes on homogenous or heterogenous environments. The last part focuses on scalability challenges encountered during software development and on the lessons learned to achieve maximum performance from a Python software engineering point of view.

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