The Marionette Collective14 Feb 2010
A friend recently pointed me at a project called mcollective. The Marionette Collective aka. mcollective is a framework to build server orchestration or parallel job execution systems. An introduction to mcollective is on the projects wiki page.
We've attempted to think out of the box a bit designing this system by not relying on central inventories and tools like SSH, we're not simply a fancy SSH "for loop".
If you're a system administrator and have lots of systems to manage you will immediately see how this software could be useful. If you've ever used tools like shmux for parallelized execution of commands via ssh, you'll note the benefit of being able to use discovered meta-data with mcollective. That means you can break from using hostnames or a centralized document as the ultimate source of truth about your environment when running a parallelized operation. With tools like Facter the information lives on the servers to which it is applicable. You'll always be able to rely on the most up-to-date information about your environment.