The Advent of Void: Day 20: shmux

When you have multiple machines, sometimes you’ll want to run the same commands on all of them. There are many tools for this job, starting from simple for loops on the shell to full-fledged configuration management systems such as Puppet or Chef.

A good compromise is shmux(1), the shell multiplexer.

For example, we can measure the uptimes of my servers, passing the command with -c:

% shmux -c uptime vuxu.org root@epona.vuxu.org hecate.home.vuxu.org
            vuxu.org:  15:48:01 up 91 days,  6:05, 45 users,  load average: 0.55, 0.47, 0.40
 root@epona.vuxu.org:  15:48:07 up 502 days, 19:29,  1 user,  load average: 0.37, 0.29, 0.29
hecate.home.vuxu.org:  15:48:03 up 225 days,  5:51,  2 users,  load average: 0.06, 0.03, 0.05

3 targets processed in 2 seconds.
Summary: 3 successes

shmux is quite clever about this, e.g. if we do a mistake and the command fails, it stops and asks us what to do:

shmux -c oopstime localhost vuxu.org root@epona.vuxu.org hecate.home.vuxu.org
           localhost! zsh:1: command not found: oopstime
               shmux! Child for localhost exited with status 127
-- [PAUSED], 3 Pending/0 Failed/1 Done -- [1.7, 1.8]
>> Available commands:
>>       q - Quit gracefully
>>       Q - Quit immediately
>> <space> - Pause (e.g. Do not spawn any more children)
>>       1 - Spawn one command, and pause if unsuccessful
>> <enter> - Keep spawning commands until one fails
>>       + - Always spawn more commands, even if some fail
>>       F - Toggle failure mode to "quit"
>>       S - Show current spawn strategy
>>       p - Show pending targets
>>       r - Show running targets
>>       f - Show failed targets
>>       e - Show targets with errors
>>       s - Show successful targets
>>       a - Show status of all targets
>>       k - Kill a target
>>  [0]             error: localhost
>>  [1]           pending: vuxu.org
>>  [2]           pending: root@epona.vuxu.org
>>  [3]           pending: hecate.home.vuxu.org

1 target processed (out of 4) in 89 seconds.
Summary: 3 unprocessed, 1 error
Error    : localhost 

Commands can be spawned in parallel when using -M max. By default, shmux spawns the first command on its own, to check it early.

Let’s say we want to keep the outputs, so we use -o:

% shmux -M10 -o uptimes -c uptime localhost vuxu.org root@epona.vuxu.org hecate.home.vuxu.org
% ls uptimes 
 hecate.home.vuxu.org.exit    'root@epona.vuxu.org.exit'
 hecate.home.vuxu.org.stderr  'root@epona.vuxu.org.stderr'
 hecate.home.vuxu.org.stdout  'root@epona.vuxu.org.stdout'
 localhost.exit		       vuxu.org.exit
 localhost.stderr	       vuxu.org.stderr
 localhost.stdout	       vuxu.org.stdout

Finally, the -a and -A options can be used to define analyzers for the outputs, so see if everything worked fine.

% shmux -o uptimes -a regex -A up  -c uptime ...

shmux is a useful tool for adhoc command execution as it requires no configuration and has sensible defaults.