Distributed systems


Before diving into osBrain distributed systems, make sure to read and understand the Serialization and Security sections.

Name servers

Normally you would want to have a centralized name server when working with distributed systems, but that is not mandatory, for some applications it might be more convenient to have multiple name servers in different machines, each handling different agents.

If you want to create a proxy to a remote name server, simply refer to the Creating proxies to existing name servers section.

Binding with distributed systems

Working with distributed systems is easy, you just basically need to make sure you use TCP transport and to specify the network interface IP address that you want to bind to.

This can be done when binding (note that we are using but you may use any other IP address available in your system):

address = agent.bind('PULL', transport='tcp', addr='')

Defining just the IP address means the agent will bind to a random port, which is usually fine. However, you can also specify the port to bind to:

address = agent.bind('PULL', transport='tcp', addr='')

Remember that the default transport can also be changed globally or per-agent (read the Serialization section).

Name server, proxies and addresses

Name servers are very useful, and even more when working with distributed systems. Where is that agent? Which was that address?

If we have access to a name server through a name server proxy, remember that we can very easily create a proxy to one of its registered agents:

agent_proxy = name_server_proxy.proxy('Agent_name')

And then, once we have a proxy to the agent, we can very easily retrieve any address by its alias:

address = agent_proxy.addr('address_alias')

As you can see, aliases become specially useful in distributed systems!

Proxies and multiple scripts

With distributed systems, it is very common to have multiple scripts (many times spread across multiple machines). If those are to interact together, you should consider whether a single/shared name server should be used. This simplifies the way you can get proxies to every agent and also the way they may share information between them.

If you are just starting with distributed systems and osBrain, you may approach it the following way:

  • You create one script, in which you run some agents and configure them.
  • You create another script, in which you run some more agents and configure those as well.
  • From the second script, you access agents that you created on the first and expect them to be ready and completely configured. But it turns out that might not be the case.

To avoid this issue, try to do all the configuration of agents from a single script, even if those agents are created from different ones. Remember that proxies allow you to treat remote agents just like local objects, which means it does not really matter if they are running in one machine or another.


If you want to make sure the agent is running before using it, you can use the Proxy.wait_for_running() method.