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 Planetary Scale Control Plane
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 Tomas Isdal
 Tom Anderson
 Arvind Krishnamurthy
 Ed Lazowska

PlanetLab experiment manager

For planetary-scale testbeds, such as GENI/PlanetLab, to have the broadest possible impact in enabling experimental network and distributed systems research, they must be accessible to the broadest set of researchers, including those with a single PI working on a project with a single graduate student in a school with little prior institutional experience in building distributed systems. Unfortunately, this is not the case now, with these testbeds being hard to use for anyone who is not an expert programmer. A typical experience is that it takes a new user over a month to figure out how to write even the simplest PlanetLab program.

We have created a PlanetLab Experiment Manager (PlMan) designed to simplify the deployment, execution and monitoring of your PlanetLab experiment. The application presents a simple GUI to perform common tasks such as:

  • Selecting nodes for your slice.
  • Choosing nodes for your experiment based on CoMon information about the nodes.
  • Reliably deploying you experiment files.
  • Executing commands / sets of commands on every node in parallel
  • Monitoring the progress of the experiment as a whole, as well as viewing console output from the nodes.

For more experienced users PlMan offers a rich scripting interface that can be used with or without GUI to perform batch mode operation. The scripting interface uses XML-RCP communication to allow scripts to be written in for example Perl, Python and Ruby, as well as Java and C/C++.

UPDATE: have a look at the getting started tutorial


  1. download the zip file (either full or the platform specific version)
  2. unzip
  3. edit pl_manager.conf to reflect your info
  4. execute run_%your platform%.sh
  5. (If the controller is running already, but you want to attach a new instance of the gui, execute run_%your platform%_gui.sh)


Full download
Windows (32 bit)
Mac (Intel)
Linux (32 bit)

Only jar

Perl Example

Java 1.5 is also required, Download Java


Getting Started Tutorial




If you want to make a feature request or report a bug, just send an email to
[ Tomas Isdal ]

Updated August 16 2007

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