Registration in MCollective

11/15/2009

Since rolling out mcollective to more and more machines I sometimes noticed one or two weren’t checking in and found it hard to figure out which ones it was. One person evaluating it also expressed interest in some form of registration ability so that they can build up an inventory of what is out there using mcollective.

At first it seemed a bit against what I set out to do – no central database, use discovery instead – but I think the two compliment each other well, I still use discovery to actually interact with the network, registration is there to assist in building web interfaces or other inventories.

I added the ability to call a configurable plugin at a configurable interval, basically whatever data your plugin returns will be sent to the collective directed at an agent ‘registration’. A sample plugin is provided, it simply returns a list of agents as an array and you can see how trivial it is to write your own.

Using the registration system I wrote a plugin that simply keeps a file in a directory for each member and a simple nagios check will then report if there are any files older than registration interval + 30. It’s quite simple but works well, the moment one of my machines goes silent the monitor goes red.

You can grab the agent and monitor script here.

Note that whatever work your registration agent will do need to be fast, you’ll be getting a large amount of registration messages from all over your network so if you take many seconds to process each you’ll run into problems. You can get some more details about registration on the wiki page