A DIstributed PROcess Control Daemon to manage your processes across VMs.


diprocd is the DIstributed PROcess Control Daemon. It takes care of managing your processes for you over several nodes with a single point of control.

It is composed of 3 components:

  • the worker dpd-workerd: a traditional process supervisor but simpler as using a single json file to define all the processes;
  • the master dpd-masterd: the central manager, it reads a single json configuration file and publish for each client on each node the new list of processes to supervise;
  • the client dpd-clientd: it subscribes to the updates from dpd-masterd and update the configuration file of dpd-workerd. The worker automatically pick up the new configuration and start/stop/restart processes accordingly.

diprocd is robust and used in production on Debian. The robustness is ensured by using process management routines used by the Ganeti project. It has not been tested extensively on Ubuntu (just as a dev box) and support of other Linux distribution is not planned by the author — but contributions to support other distros are welcomed.


As normal user for the clone and then as root or with super user rights, run:

$ git clone git://projects.ceondo.com/diprocd.git
$ cd diprocd
# python setup.py install

You need the simplejson and zmq Python modules. You can install them with easy_install:

# apt-get install python-setuptools python-dev
# easy_install pyzmq
# easy_install simplejson

The python-setuptools package is to have easy_install and python-dev the headers to build the ZMQ extension.


Because the system is composed of tools doing one thing and doing it well, you can structure your setup the way you want, from a single node to several if not hundreds of them.

Single Node

You just run one worker on the node, no needs to use the master/client system to update the configuration.

  1. Copy /usr/share/doc/diprocd/diprocd-worker.example.json as /var/lib/diprocd/diprocd-worker.json;
  2. Run as root: dpd-workerd -f -v /var/lib/diprocd/diprocd-worker.json.

The processes to be run are defined in /var/lib/diprocd/diprocd-worker.json, simply some calls to sleep and echo.

The -f flag will keep the worker in the foreground and -v will provide you with a verbose output.


You run one worker and one client on each node doing some work and a master and the node distributing the work. Note that a node can host a master while doing some work as all the processes are small.

On the worker nodes:

  1. Copy /usr/share/doc/diprocd/diprocd-emptyworker.example.json as /var/lib/diprocd/diprocd-worker.json;
  2. Run as root: dpd-workerd -f -v /var/lib/diprocd/diprocd-worker.json;
  3. Copy /usr/share/doc/diprocd/diprocd-client.example.json as /var/lib/diprocd/diprocd-client.json;
  4. Edit /var/lib/diprocd/diprocd-client.json to match the master ip address. Note the "%H" for the node name, it will use the hostname of the node, you can also set it manually.
  5. Run under a user having write access to the diprocd-worker.json file: dpd-clientd -f -v /var/lib/diprocd/diprocd-client.json; Note that you do not need to be root, the process just needs to be able to update the worker configuration file and connect to the IP:PORT defined in the configuration.

You have nothing left to do, the configuration will be transparently updated when updating the master file on the master.

On the master node:

  1. Copy /usr/share/doc/diprocd/diprocd-master.example.json as /var/lib/diprocd/diprocd-master.json;
  2. Edit /var/lib/diprocd/diprocd-master.json to match the master ip address. The example configuration is providing 2 nodes with one process each, you can create new as needed.
  3. Run: dpd-masterd -f -v /var/lib/diprocd/diprocd-master.json. The master just need to be able to bind to the master IP:PORT and read the diprocd-master.json configuration file. It does not need to run as root.

Process Definition

In the worker and master configuration files, the processes are defined as a list of simple JSON dictionaries. Here is the definition of a single process.

{"chroot": "/", 
 "run": "/bin/echo", 
 "name": "echo.worker.1", 
 "args": ["foo"], 
 "user": "nobody", 
 "env": {"SMTP_PASSWD": "password", 
         "ENV_KEY": "value", 
         "SMTP_SERVER": "smtp.foo.tld"}, 
 "pid_file": "/tmp/echo.pid", 
 "logs": "/tmp/echo.log", 
 "cwd": ".", 
 "write_pid": true,
 "daemon": false,
 "restart": true}
  • chroot: where to chroot the process;
  • run: which command to run, full path;
  • args: list of arguments for the run command;
  • user: under which user the command needs to be run;
  • env: a dictionary of environment variables to path to the command;
  • pid_file: location of the pid file;
  • logs: location of the log file. The logfile is only capturing stdout and stderr, you can of course log where you want internally;
  • cwd: the working directory when starting the command;
  • write_pid: do you let dpd-workerd write the pid file. If your process do it itself, set to false.
  • daemon: is your process forking to run as daemon? If so, you need to set write_pid to false and your daemon must be smart enough to write its own pid file;
  • restart: restart the process if it dies. It will not restart more than 5 times in a minute.

Robust Setup

You have init scripts to start/stop the daemons. They are simple to install, on each node where you want a given daemon to run, simply run as root:

insserv dpd-workerd
insserv dpd-clientd
insserv dpd-masterd

Of course, if one of your node is only master, you just run insserv dpd-masterd. You can then start/stop the processes the usual way:

/etc/init.d/dpd-workerd start
/etc/init.d/dpd-workerd stop    

To restart in case of failure, check the /usr/share/doc/diprocd/*.cron files. Just copy the needed one in /etc/cron.d, for example /etc/cron.d/dpd-workerd. Each daemon script is smart enough to detect if it is already running, this means it will not start again if already running.

Development Team
Loïc d'Anterroches

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