[slurm-users] Weirdness with partitions

Bernstein, Noam CIV USN NRL (6393) Washington DC (USA) noam.bernstein at nrl.navy.mil
Thu Sep 21 14:25:22 UTC 2023

On Sep 21, 2023, at 9:46 AM, David <drhey at umich.edu<mailto:drhey at umich.edu>> wrote:

Slurm is working as it should. From your own examples you proved that; by not submitting to b4 the job works. However, looking at man sbatch:

       -p, --partition=<partition_names>
              Request  a  specific partition for the resource allocation.  If not specified, the default behavior is to allow the slurm controller to select
              the default partition as designated by the system administrator. If the job can use more than one partition, specify their names  in  a  comma
              separate  list and the one offering earliest initiation will be used with no regard given to the partition name ordering (although higher pri‐
              ority partitions will be considered first).  When the job is initiated, the name of the partition used will be placed first in the job  record
              partition string.

In your example, the job can NOT use more than one partition (given the restrictions defined on the partition itself precluding certain accounts from using it). This, to me, seems either like a user education issue (i.e. don't have them submit to every partition), or you can try the job submit lua route - or perhaps the hidden partition route (which I've not tested).

That's not at all how I interpreted this man page description.  By "If the job can use more than..." I thought it was completely obvious (although perhaps wrong, if your interpretation is correct, but it never crossed my mind) that it referred to whether the _submitting user_ is OK with it using more than one partition. The partition where the user is forbidden (because of the partition's allowed account) should just be _not_ the earliest initiation (because it'll never initiate there), and therefore not run there, but still be able to run on the other partitions listed in the batch script.

I think it's completely counter-intuitive that submitting saying it's OK to run on one of a few partitions, and one partition happening to be forbidden to the submitting user, means that it won't run at all.  What if you list multiple partitions, and increase the number of nodes so that there aren't enough in one of the partitions, but not realize this problem?  Would you expect that to prevent the job from ever running on any partition?

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