[slurm-users] Kinda Off-Topic: data management for Slurm clusters

Raymond Wan rwan.work at gmail.com
Sat Feb 23 04:54:24 UTC 2019

Hi Will,

On 23/2/2019 1:50 AM, Will Dennis wrote:
> For one of my groups, on the GPU servers in their cluster, I have provided a RAID-0 md array of multi-TB SSDs (for I/O speed) mounted on a given path ("/mnt/local" for historical reasons) that they can use for local scratch space. Their other servers in the cluster have a single multi-TB spinning disk mounted at that same path. We do not manage the data at all on this path; it's currently up to the researchers to put needed data there, and remove the data when it is no longer needed. (They wanted us to auto-manage the removal, but we aren't in a position to know what data they still need or not, and "delete data if atime/mtime is older than [...]" via cron is a bit too simplistic.) They can use that local-disk path in any way they want, with the caveat that it's not to be used as "permanent storage", there's no backups, and if we suffer a disk failure, etc, we just replace with new and the old data is gone.

IMHO, auto-managing the data removal is a slippery slope. 
If the disk space is the research group's, perhaps just let 
them manage it.  Whatever expiry date you put on files, 
someone will come along and ask for you to change it.

I suppose one thing you could ask them to do, if you do need 
to auto-manage it, is to ask them to write scripts that 
"touch" the files they've used (even if it is read only).  I 
guess it's up to you how involved you want to be.

> The other group has (at this moment) no local disk at all on their worker nodes. They actually work with even bigger data sets than the first group, and they are the ones that really need a solution. I figured that if I solve the one group's problem, I also can implement on the other (and perhaps even on future Slurm clusters we spin up.)

Sounds like the problem is really how willing this second 
group is with purchasing additional local disk space. 
(Which, to be effective, should be the same space at the 
same path across all nodes.  And that's assuming you have 
the space on each node...  The servers that I use have one 
local disk for each node; there wouldn't be enough drive 
bays for every research group to add a drive -- we have more 
than 2 research groups.)

> A few other questions I have:
> - is it possible in Slurm to define more than one filesystem path (i.e, other than "/tmp") as "TmpDisk"?
> - any way to allocate storage on a node via GRES or another method?

It seems there have been more useful replies since.  But 
about your first question, I think I can answer on behalf of 
the computers I use.  I don't believe "/tmp" has been 
specifically set as the "TmpDisk" in the SLURM 
configuration.  We have Unix-level read/write access to it. 
We can also "cd" over to our NFS mounted home directories 
when we run our programs (at the top of the SLURM submitted 

In that sense, our system administrators gave us the freedom 
to choose.  But on the downside, they never did any 
profiling and gave suggestions such as running programs on 
local disk.

Anyway, they just allocated some space on the local disk as 
/tmp.  I didn't mean that it was specifically configured as 
TmpDisk, as far as I know.

Good luck!


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