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clusters, infrastructures, and package tools

[I'm currently not on the list; please cc replies to <bud@sistema.it>]

I'm interested in the administration of clusters and infrastructures (i.e.,
very large, dishomogeneous installations) and in related debian package and
administration tools.  I searched on debian-devel and found some mention of
the need to create a dedicated list/project, but couldn't find anything.
Is there such a discussion group?  (I found some interesting issues on

In case there isn't yet, are enough people interested in this issue to
justify the creation of such a list?

Some issues that come to mind that may be relevant include the following:

* debian's stability and well-done package tools are great for professional
use--but the package system is too much geared towards single machines.  It
would be a petty not to add cluster features to make Debian more used in
larger environments!

* Administration of large clusters or infrastructures usually brings the
need for techniques that work for multiple kinds of platform (Debian,
Solaris, AIX, etc.)  The only homogenous clusters out there are possibly

* I've seen considerable interest and activity to port Debian tools to
other platforms (See debian-scala HOWTO and some reports on ports of
package tools to different architectures).  This seems to fit well on a
cluster/infrastructure list.

* I believe that the debian package system and tools can be made more
modular and flexible in order to adapt to situation different from single
machine installation.  Some of my ideas are reported at
http://www.sistema.it/univSrcPkg/.  While this is not written for Debian,
the Debian source package would be a great starting point.  The essence of
the idea is that a single source package supports the creation of various
binary packages/installation methods for different purposes:  single
machine installation, installation on non-debian platforms w/ debian tools,
cluster installation with central configuration management, and even
creation of non-debian packages from debian source packages.  The
difference to current source packages would be a consistent use of APIs
that encapsulate OS, platform, and configuration management specific issues.

* There has been significant work on infrastructures management.  A lot of
it is reported on www.infrastructures.org that also has an interesting
mailing list. There is the "founding paper" of the infrastructures site by
Steve Traugott that is a great introduction.  I've started to collect
interesting links at
http://www.sistema.it/twiki/bin/view/Main/infrastructures.  These and some
discussion papers on (Debian) infrastructures can be found at my site:

Anyways, these are just some ideas to make the issue more concrete.

hope this is of interest


| Bud P. Bruegger, Ph.D.  |  mailto:bud@sistema.it                       |
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