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Driving a Condor Job Renice Policy with Accounting Groups

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Condor can run its jobs with a renice priority level specified by JOB_RENICE_INCREMENT, which defaults simply to 10, but can in fact be any ClassAd expression, and is evaluated in the context of the job ad corresponding to the job being run.

This opens up an opportunity to create a renice policy, driven by accounting groups. Consider a scenario I discussed previously, where a condor pool caters to mission critical (MC) jobs and regular (R) jobs.

An additional configuration trick we could apply is to add a renice policy that gives a higher renice value (that is, a lower priority) to any jobs that aren’t run under the mission-critical (MC) rubric, as in this example configuration:

# A convenience expression that extracts group, e.g. "" --> "mc"
SUBMIT_EXPRS = AcctGroupName
AcctGroupName = ifThenElse(my.AccountingGroup =!= undefined, \
                           regexps("^([^@]+)\.[^.]+", my.AccountingGroup, "\1"), "<none>")


# Groups representing mission critical and regular jobs:

# Any group not MC gets a renice increment of 10:
JOB_RENICE_INCREMENT = 10 * (AcctGroupName =!= "MC")

To demonstrate this policy in action, I wrote a little shell script I called burn, whose only function is to burn cycles for a given number of seconds:


# usage: burn [n]
# where n is number of seconds to burn cycles
if [ -z "$s" ]; then s=60; fi

t0=`date +%s`
while [ 1 ]; do
    # burn some cycles:
    while [ $x -lt 10000 ]; do let x=$x+1; done
    t=`date +%s`
    let e=$t-$t0
    # halt when the requested time is up:
    if [ $e -gt $s ]; then exit ; fi

Begin by standing up a condor pool including the configuration above. Make sure the burn script is readable. Also, it is preferable to make sure your system is unloaded (load average should be as close to zero as reasonably possible). Then submit the following, which instantiates two burn jobs running under accounting group MC and a third under group R:

universe = vanilla
cmd = /path/to/burn
args = 600
should_transfer_files = if_needed
when_to_transfer_output = on_exit
+AccountingGroup = "MC.user"
queue 2
+AccountingGroup = "R.user"
queue 1

Allow the jobs to negotiate and then run for a couple minutes. You should then see something similar to the following load-average information from the slot ads:

$ condor_status -format "%s" SlotID -format " | %.2f" LoadAvg -format " | %.2f" CondorLoadAvg -format " | %.2f" TotalLoadAvg -format " | %.2f" TotalCondorLoadAvg -format " | %s\n" AccountingGroup | sort
1 | 1.33 | 1.33 | 2.75 | 2.70 | MC.user@localdomain
2 | 1.28 | 1.24 | 2.75 | 2.70 | MC.user@localdomain
3 | 0.13 | 0.13 | 2.77 | 2.72 | R.user@localdomain

Note, which particular SlotID runs which job may vary. However, we expect to see that the load averages for the slot running group R are much lower than the load averages for slots running jobs under group MC, as seen above.

We can explicitly verify the renice numbers from our policy to see that our one R job has a nice value of 10 (and is using only a fraction of the cpu):

# tell 'ps' to give us (pid, %cpu, nice, cmd+args):
$ ps -eo "%p %C %n %a" | grep 'burn 600'
22403 10.2  10 /bin/sh /home/eje/bin/burn 600
22406 93.2   0 /bin/sh /home/eje/bin/burn 600
22411 90.6   0 /bin/sh /home/eje/bin/burn 600