[Beowulf] query: aggregate cluster performance monitoring without multicast

Lombard, David N david.n.lombard at intel.com
Fri Jan 9 15:57:12 EST 2004

From: Robert G. ; Friday, January 09, 2004 11:58 AM
> On Fri, 9 Jan 2004, Lombard, David N wrote:
> > By timescale, I assume you mean display time?  That's where the
> > abstractions come in to play, and, for the all-at-once method,
> > output preparation, i.e., a single bit image over multiple images.
> > I'd suggest that the only thing you lose is live-update, which can
be an
> > issue, to be sure.
> I don't think that we disagree, really.

Actually, you're preaching to the choir.  

> Really, this applies to GUIs in general, not just Macs -- there are
> certain things for which a GUI abstraction are really good for, but
> often at the expense of speed, or power, or complexity.

I agree fully.  A GUI is the best way to display massive amounts of
info, especially where you want to be able to quickly vary the level of
detail, like in a comprehensive view of a cluster with the ability to
drill down at many points.  Nothing new -- use text when you want
relatively small amounts of detail, and graphics when you want trends
and large amounts of information.

> A command line interface and Unix itself are described as being
> friendly" -- difficult to learn, complex, but SO powerful once you do
> learn them.  

Amen brother.  I very much prefer Linux, and have a long and pleasent
history in UNIX.

> A GUI browser is very lovely for certain kids of browsing,
> but if you want to move all the files in a directory with the glob
> foo*.bar.?arian-[0-9]* into the trash, gimme a command line every
> especially if there are a few thousand of them.  Still, try EXPLAINING
> how to do that to a thirteen year old compared to saying "pick up the
> file with the mouse and drag it into the trash, silly" and the virtue
> GUIs as well becomes clear.  Each has its place.

Violently agreed, both points.
> xmlsysd is designed to support both -- it is divorced from the display
> mechanism entirely.  Connect to it, talk to it, ask it nicely, it
> out xml-tagged anonymous data you might be interested in monitoring.
> whatever you like with this data -- present it via TTY, pipe it to a
> file, graph it, whatever.  I invested my time in the tty interface
> time because I made the mistake of building a GUI interface first LAST
> time with procstatd (xmlsysd's predecessor) and spent a year or two
> later kicking myself for a variety of reasons.  The tty interface is
> fast and information-dense, but has flaws as well (it is a pain to
> rearrange and customize, for example).

That was exactly my motivation for the web comment.  I spent a fair
amount of time putting together web-based interfaces for command-line
driven tools, and I've found that's the ideal combination for both
system administration and users. Develop the tool in an environment that
favors utility and (most importantly) composability, and then
_optionally_ interact with the tool in an environment that favors
usability and accessibility.

David N. Lombard
My comments represent my opinions, not those of Intel Corporation.
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