switchman [OPTIONS] -- CMD [ARGS]

To use switchman you need a ZooKeeper installation.

You have to create the top level znode for switchman (e.g. /myproject/switchman) by yourself. This znode is also used to store the data that describes groups.


-c|--config /path/to/config

Optional, default is /etc/switchman.conf

The file is expected to contain a json-encoded hash with the following keys:

        path to top level znode that contains group data and other nodes
        ZooKeeper servers to connect to

Other keys are optional:

        the maximum length of data (in bytes) that could be retrieved from ZooKeeper nodes
        increase this value if you had a large size data stored in prefix znode
        positive integer value, defaults to 65535
        path to an optional logfile
        log level used for messages going to `logfile`
        possible values: debug/info/warning/critical, defaults to "info"
        number of seconds, which limits time for acquiring all leases
        natural integer value, defaults to 0, which means no timeout
        number of seconds a child process is given between SIGTERM and SIGKILL,
        positive integer value, defaults to 10


-g|--group group_name

Optional, if specified must be one of the groups described in prefix znode.

By providing this option you can ensure that CMD will be executed only if the current host is specified in group description.

Example (data stored prefix znode):


Then if you execute

    user@host2$ switchman -g group2 -- CMD

switchman will exit immediately.

Also you can refer to groups from other groups:


The logic is the following: if a value in a group description isn't found among group names it is treated as a host name.

Note: all host names MUST be fqdns.

--lease resource=count:total

Optional, multiple leases for different resources are supported.

Before acquiring the lock switchman will ensure that all leases are acquired in the order specified in prefix znode.

Example (data stored prefix znode):

    {"resources": ["FQDN_mem", "FQDN_cpu"]}

Processes wait for resources in fair queues, watching for the lock to appear. If the lock appears, all enqueued processes that were watching for it will exit.

A persistent node /myproject/switchman/semaphores/resource is created.

The following macros for this option are supported: CPU, FQDN, MEMMB. CPU is expanded into a number of cpu cores as reported by Sys::CPU. FQDN is expanded into the current host's fqdn. MEMMB is expanded into total amount of physical memory in megabytes.

You can use strings representing Perl expressions for "count" and "total" parameters, but make sure these expressions return an integer value when evaled:

    --lease FQDN_mem='4:int(MEMMB/1024)' # leases 4 GB
--lockname name

Optional, default is CMD's basename.

A name for a lock to be acquired in ZooKeeper.

Lock is implemented as an ephemeral node /myproject/switchman/locks/name



Disables the "lock" mechanism, thus not limiting you to run CMD in only a single instance.

By default "lock" mechanism is enabled.

Sometimes you may want to use switchman only for its "groups" mechanism, to only restrict your particular CMD to be executed on some particular host or hosts. In case your CMD is already able to not run its second instance on the same host if the first one is already running, but you do want to run an instance of this same CMD on more than one host simultaneously, it is possible to just disable "lock" mechanism in switchman.

Note: this will not disable, nor alter the behaviour of "lease" mechanism. It is possible to make "lease" mechanism and "lock" mechanism to work on per-host basis by prefixing lock name with host name, i.e.:

    --lockname `hostname`_lock

Show this help and exit.


This utility manages distributed locks and semaphores in ZooKeeper and can be used for organizing distributed job execution.

It is not a scheduler, you still need something (e.g. cron) to launch your jobs.

The command is run only if all specified leases and the named lock are acquired.

You can restrict job execution to a set of hosts, see --group option.

switchman forks and execs the command in the child process, while parent process regularly checks if the lock still exists and that group description still lists the current host (given that the --group option was provided on start). If any of these checks fail, the command is terminated.


To terminate the command switchman (parent process) sends a SIGTERM signal to the command process and then waits for the number of seconds specified by in the `termination_timeout` configuration parameter before sending the final SIGKILL.

If command process happens to exit before that timeout, switchman exits with the same exit code.


Simple locking
    switchman -- cmd

ensures that only one instance of cmd will be run at the same time

Queueing (e.g. rolling release)
    switchman --lockname $(hostname)-rr --lease rr=1:1 -- restart-cmd

queues up for exclusive lease of resource "rr", acquires a lock with a name specific to the given host when the lease is acquired

Leasing local resources
    switchman --lease FQDN_cpu=1:CPU --lease FQDN_mem=4096:MEMMB -- cmd

leases 1 cpu core, 4 GB of memory (exclusive lock is also acquired)

Using groups

If you don't need your jobs to be distributed by several servers, you can limit a group to a single host and assign your jobs to this group by running them with the --group option. Later when you need to change the host where the jobs are to be executed, you can change the configuration in ZooKeeper. You don't even need to have access to the hosts your scripts are installed on, which is critical in case of network split.


    man 1 flock


This software is copyright (c) 2012-2016 by Yandex LLC.

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.


  Alexandr Duplishchev
  Gennadiy Filatov
  Ilya Rusalowski
  Oleg Komarov <>
  Pavel Selivanov
  Sergey Zhuravlev