How To Load Balance Users To Submit Nodes

How to load balance users to one of many submit nodes

Known to work with 8.6

Overview

It is common for uses of HPC systems to have a shared file system and a pool of submit servers that users are assigned to dynamically and transparently based on load. It is transparent to users because all of their files are on a shared file system, so which machine is running their job is something that they need not know in many cases.

This use model can be approximated with HTCondor, but there are some differences which should be noted.

  1. The HTCondor job queue is not shared between submit nodes, but any node can query any other nodes job queue by setting configuration parameters or using command line arguments. It is also possible to query ALL jobs queues with a single command, although this is not fully transparent to the user.

  2. other differences?

Strategy

The basic strategy is to make use of HTCondor's ability to customize the configuration per-user so that any given users jobs will always go to a specific schedd regardless of which submit machine they are currently logged in to. This can be almost completely transparent to the user if all of the user's files are on a shared file system.

Implementation

The administrator, or the user will add a file into the users ~/.condor/user_config file. That file will the configuration variable

user_config fragment
SCHEDD_HOST=<schedd-name>
that will cause any queue management commands, like condor_submit, condor_hold and condor_q to be routed to a specific schedd named <schedd-name> . Where <schedd-name> is the same name that you would see in the output of the command
condor_status -schedd
    Name                              Machine                           RunningJobs   IdleJobs   HeldJobs
    submit-3.chtc.wisc.edu            submit-3.chtc.wisc.edu                   2638      47950       7870
    submit-4.chtc.wisc.edu            submit-4.chtc.wisc.edu                   1990      49497       8977
    submit-5.chtc.wisc.edu            submit-5.chtc.wisc.edu                  11586      28108       6966
    testsubmit.chtc.wisc.edu          testsubmit.chtc.wisc.edu                    0          0          1

So, for instance you might configure the user tj to use submit-3

fragment of /home/tj/.condor/user_config
SCHEDD_HOST=submit-3.chtc.wisc.edu

Now whenever user tj runs condor_submit , or condor_q , the submit/query will go to the schedd called submit-3.chtc.wisc.edu .

As long as tj user has no jobs in any of the HTCondor schedd queues, he can be moved to a new schedd merely by changing the contents of /home/tj/.condor/user_config file. This can happen even while tj is logged in, since the file is re-parsed by each invocation of condor_q or condor_submit

Whether or not tj has any jobs in any of the schedd's can be determined by running

condor_status -submit tj@chtc.wisc.edu -af Machine 'HeldJobs+IdleJobs+RunningJobs+LocalJobsIdle+LocalJobsRunning'
    submit-3.chtc.wisc.edu 3
or the equivalent command via the HTCondor python bindings.

Schedd failover

If the schedd's job queue is stored on the shared file system, HTCondor can be configured so that when a given machine fails, any schedd's running on it will be automatically restarted on the backup machine, but with the same schedd name.

details to be written