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Exclusive host access in Grid Engine

UPDATE - 2014-03-28: Univa Grid Engine 8.1.7 (and possibly earlier) has a simpler way to set this up. One just needs to define the "exclusive" complex, without setting up a separate exclusive queue with a forced complex:

#name       shortcut   type  relop   requestable consumable default  urgency 
exclusive   excl       BOOL  EXCL    YES         YES        0        1000

Unfortunately, I just discovered a slight deficiency with this approach. That complex must be attached to specific hosts. This means modifying each exec host using "qconf -me hostname".

Here at Drexel's URCF, we use Univa Grid Engine (Wikipedia article). One of the requirements that frequently comes up is for jobs to have exclusive access to the compute hosts that the jobs occupy. A common reason is that a job may need more memory per process than is available on any single host.

Some resource managers and schedulers like Torque allow one to reserve nodes exclusively. In Grid Engine (GE), it is not a built-in feature. However, there is a way to accomplish the same thing. This post expands a little on Dan Gruber's blog post, for people like me who are new to GE.

Here, we assume there is only one queue named all.q. And we have two host groups: @intelhosts, and @amdhosts.

One can create a Boolean resource, a.k.a. complex, named "exclusive", which can be requested. That resource is forced to have the value TRUE in a new queue called exclusive.q so that only jobs that requests "exclusive" will be sent to that queue.

exclusive    excl   BOOL  ==  FORCED  NO     0    0

Once the complex is created, create a new queue named exclusive.q which spans all hosts, with a single slot per host. Set it to be subordinate to all.q -- this means that if there are any jobs in all.q on a host, exclusive.q on that host is suspended. And set the "exclusive" Boolean complex to be TRUE.

    qname     exclusive.q
    slots     1
    subordinate_list  all.q=1
    complex_values exclusive=TRUE

Modify all.q and set it subordinate to exclusive.q -- this ensures that if there is a job in exclusive.q on a host, all.q on that host is suspended:

    subordinate_list    exclusive.q=1

And now, to get a parallel job on Intel hosts, the job script would have something like this:

    #$ -l excl 
    #$ -q *@@intelhosts
    #$ -pe mvapich 128