Simple job service that was originally written to run hadoop jobs, but can be used for any batch-processing scripts that you want to run.

Lobster runs as a service (daemon) and regularly checks a schedule in $LOBSTER_DIR/config/schedule.rb. The goal is to run the scheduled jobs in parallel but a job can't run twice at the same time (no overlap). The only configuration needed is the delay between 2 job runs.

Get Started


gem install lobster

Create a config/schedule.rb file

Run lobsterize in the directory where you need to setup and run your jobs (defined by the LOBSTER_DIR variable)


Then add a job in config/schedule.rb

# config/schedule.rb
job "my-job" do
  cmd "runthis && runthat >> log/here.log"
  delay 5 # minutes

Additional settings:

  • directory this is set to LOBSTER_DIR by default
  • user the Unix user that will run the job, lobster must have full passwordless sudo access to this user
  • max_duration for monitoring, will log an error if the job has not been successful for max_duration + delay minutes

Run Lobster

Two environment variables are used (with defaults):

  • LOBSTER_DIR is the directory used for all job commands, and where the configuration/schedule files are (default: current directory)
  • LOBSTER_ENV is a variable used to handle different environments (default: development)

  • lobster run will run in the console

  • or lobster start as a deamon


The lobster configuration file should be located in $LOBSTER_DIR/config/lobster.yml and has the following layout

# default values

# monitor the daemon and restart it if it stops
monitor: true
# log directory, absolute or relative to the LOBSTER_DIR
log_dir: log
# pids directory, absolute or relative to the LOBSTER_DIR
pid_dir: /var/run/lobster/
# schedule file, absolute or relative to the LOBSTER_DIR
schedule_file: config/schedule.rb

# environment overrides, the env variable LOBSTER_ENV has 
# to be set (default: development)
  monitor: false
  log_dir: test_los
  pid_dir: /var/run/

Any log in stderr/stdout will be written in the log directory as lobster.output, the actual lobster log is in lobster.log

Capistrano Deployment

It is very easy to have a lobster project with a proper config/lobster.yml to handle different environments such as development, testing and production. You can simply have a schedule.rbfile per environment.

Then you can use capistrano to deploy the new jobs and schedule to your servers (the schedule is automatically reloaded).