Thursday, August 09, 2012

Running a command on multiple hosts

There are different ways you can run a command on multiple machines.

1. For loop
If you want to execute the same command on a few hosts, you can use a for loop as shown below:

for host in host1 host2 host3
    ssh $host "hostname; who -b"
The example above iterates over a list of hosts, and runs two commands on each one to print the name of the host and the time it was rebooted.

2. While loop
If your list of hosts is stored in a file, you can use a while loop as shown below:

while IFS= read -r host
    ssh -n $host "hostname; who -b"
done < /tmp/myhosts
You must provide the -n option to ssh, otherwise it will only run on the first host in your file and then the loop will terminate.

3. Parallel ssh
Parallel ssh (pssh) allows you to run a command on several hosts at the same time and is much faster than using a sequential loop if the number of hosts is large. You can specify how many parallel processes it uses to ssh to the various hosts (default is 32).

$ pssh
Usage: pssh [OPTIONS] -h hosts.txt prog [arg0] ..

  -h --hosts   hosts file (each line "host[:port] [user]")
  -l --user    username (OPTIONAL)
  -p --par     max number of parallel threads (OPTIONAL)
  -o --outdir  output directory for stdout files (OPTIONAL)
  -t --timeout timeout in seconds to do ssh to a host (OPTIONAL)
  -v --verbose turn on warning and diagnostic messages (OPTIONAL)
  -O --options SSH options (OPTIONAL)

$ pssh -h /tmp/myhosts -o /tmp/output "hostname; who -b"

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