[slurm-users] ticking time bomb? launching too many jobs in parallel

Paul Edmon pedmon at cfa.harvard.edu
Tue Aug 27 14:05:15 UTC 2019

At least for our cluster we generally recommend that if you are 
submitting large numbers of jobs you either use a job array or you just 
for loop over the jobs you want to submit.  A fork bomb is definitely 
not recommended.  For highest throughput submission a job array is your 
best bet as in one submission it will generate thousands of jobs which 
then the scheduler can handle sensibly. So I highly recommend using job 

-Paul Edmon-

On 8/27/19 3:45 AM, Guillaume Perrault Archambault wrote:
> Hi Paul,
> Thanks a lot for your suggestion.
> The cluster I'm using has thousands of users, so I'm doubtful the 
> admins will change this setting just for me. But I'll mention it to 
> the support team I'm working with.
> I was hoping more for something that can be done on the user end.
> Is there some way for the user to measure whether the scheduler is in 
> RPC saturation? And then if it is, I could make sure my script doesn't 
> launch too many jobs in parallel.
> Sorry if my question is too vague, I don't understand the backend of 
> the SLURM scheduler too well, so my questions are using the limited 
> terminology of a user.
> My concern is just to make sure that my scripts don't send out more 
> commands (simultaneously) than the scheduler can handle.
> For example, as an extreme scenario, suppose a user forks off 1000 
> sbatch commands in parallel, is that more than the scheduler can 
> handle? As a user, how can I know whether it is?
> Regards,
> Guillaume.
> On Mon, Aug 26, 2019 at 10:15 AM Paul Edmon <pedmon at cfa.harvard.edu 
> <mailto:pedmon at cfa.harvard.edu>> wrote:
>     We've hit this before due to RPC saturation.  I highly recommend
>     using max_rpc_cnt and/or defer for scheduling. That should help
>     alleviate this problem.
>     -Paul Edmon-
>     On 8/26/19 2:12 AM, Guillaume Perrault Archambault wrote:
>>     Hello,
>>     I wrote a regression-testing toolkit to manage large numbers of
>>     SLURM jobs and their output (the toolkit can be found here
>>     <https://github.com/gobbedy/slurm_simulation_toolkit/> if anyone
>>     is interested).
>>     To make job launching faster, sbatch commands are forked, so that
>>     numerous jobs may be submitted in parallel.
>>     We (the cluster admin and myself) are concerned that this may
>>     cause unresponsiveness for other users.
>>     I cannot say for sure since I don't have visibility over all
>>     users of the cluster, but unresponsiveness doesn't seem to have
>>     occurred so far. That being said, the fact that it hasn't
>>     occurred yet doesn't mean it won't in the future. So I'm treating
>>     this as a ticking time bomb to be fixed asap.
>>     My questions are the following:
>>     1) Does anyone have experience with large numbers of jobs
>>     submitted in parallel? What are the limits that can be hit? For
>>     example is there some hard limit on how many jobs a SLURM
>>     scheduler can handle before blacking out / slowing down?
>>     2) Is there a way for me to find/measure/ping this resource limit?
>>     3) How can I make sure I don't hit this resource limit?
>>     From what I've observed, parallel submission can improve
>>     submission time by a factor at least 10x. This can make a big
>>     difference in users' workflows.
>>     For that reason I would like to keep the option of launching jobs
>>     sequentially as a last resort.
>>     Thanks in advance.
>>     Regards,
>>     Guillaume.
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