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I want to be able to broadcast the same commands to multiple servers interactively, meaning I want to send a command, view the result and send another command. The commands are arbitrary and cannot be scripted.

The question How can I automate running commands remotely over SSH? solves this problem very well if you're prone to using the tools suggested like: pssh, sdh, gsh, cluster-ssh.
But I am trying to find out if there a more low level solution, only by using the standard SSH.

My question is can you think of a way in BASH to open multiple SSHs, redirect into them a file, so everytime I write into the file, the new text is redirected into the SSH and executed.
If there is a reasoning behind why the above can't be done, I'd be happy to learn why is it not possible.

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You might have better luck with this kind of question on ServerFault. – Rob H Mar 2 '11 at 17:52
up vote 1 down vote accepted

One way is to use coprocesses.

$ coproc foo { ssh -T foo.domain; }

Now $foo is an array of two file descriptors; ${foo[0]} is ssh's stdout and writing to fd ${foo[1]} will send to ssh's stdin.

$ echo "whoami" >&${foo[1]}
$ head -n 1 <&${foo[0]}

(Accessing /proc/$$/fd/${foo[1]} would work as well.)

Another way - named pipes.

$ mkfifo {foo,bar}.{in,out}
$ ssh foo < >foo.out &
$ ssh bar < >bar.out &
$ echo "whoami" | tee

Similar - process substitution.

$ echo "whoami" | tee >(ssh foo) >(ssh bar)

For more than one command:

$ mkfifo in
$ tee >(ssh foo) >(ssh bar) <in &
$ echo "whoami" >in

But since pipes break easily, you might have to resort to regular files.

(This example will put the file in /dev/shm to avoid hitting the disk every time.)

$ f=/dev/shm/in; touch $f
$ tail -f $f | ssh foo &
$ tail -f $f | ssh bar &
$ echo foo > $f 
$ echo bar >> $f; # note: >> for appending


$ f=/dev/shm/in; touch $f
$ tail -f $f | tee >(ssh foo) >(ssh bar) &
$ echo foo >> $f
share|improve this answer
>&${foo[1]} won't work; there's no variable substitution in the file descriptor portion of redirections. Your alternative using /proc/ would be necessary, since variables do work in filenames (even as part of redirections). Additionally, {in.out} should be {in,out} (typo). – Zenexer Aug 25 '15 at 4:00
@Zenexer: I can assure you that >&$var works just fine in bash, and it seems to work even in ksh. (Otherwise they wouldn't have added exec {var}<>…, which kinda requires that to be useful.) – grawity Aug 25 '15 at 5:46
Interestingly, it seems to be working now. I'm sure I was trying it with bash 4 before, so I'm not sure what the issue was. I seem to recall it worked with exec but not other commands. – Zenexer Aug 26 '15 at 3:23

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