Maui Scheduler

5.1.3 Common Priority Usage

Sites vary wildly in the preferred manner of prioritizing jobs. Maui's scheduling hierarchy allows sites to meet their job control needs without requiring them to adjust dozens of parameters. Some sites may choose to utilize numerous subcomponents, others a few, and still others are completely happy with the default FIFO behavior. Any subcomponent which is not of interest may be safely ignored.

To help clarify the use of priority weights, a brief example may help. Suppose a site wished to maintain the FIFO behavior but also incorporate some credential based prioritization to favor a special user. Particularly, the site would like the userjohn to receive a higher initial priority than all other users. Configuring this behavior would require two steps. First, the user credential subcomponent would need to be enabled and second, john would need to have his relative priority specified. Take a look at the example maui.cfg:


The 'USER' priority subcomponent was enabled by setting the USERWEIGHT parameter. In fact, the parameters used to specify the weights of all components and subcomponents follow this same '*WEIGHT' naming convention (i.e., RESWEIGHT, TARGETQUEUETIMEWEIGHT, etc.).

The second part of the example involved specifying the actual user priority for the user john. This was accomplished using the USERCFG parameter. Why was the priority 300 selected and not some other value? Is this value arbitrary? As in any priority system, actual priority values are meaningless, only relative values are important. In this case, we are required to balance user priorities with the default queue time based priorities. Since queuetime priority is measured in minutes queued (see table above), the user priority of 300 will make a job by user john on par with a job submitted 5 minutes earlier by another user.

Is this what the site wants? Maybe, maybe not. The honest truth is that most sites are not completely certain what they want in prioritization at the onset. Most often, prioritization is a tuning process where an initial stab is made and adjustments are then made over time. Unless you are an exceptionally stable site, prioritization is also not a matter of getting it right. Cluster resources evolve, the workload evolves, and even site policies evolve, resulting in changing priority needs over time. Anecdotal evidence indicates that most sites establish a relatively stable priority policy within a few iterations and make only occasional adjustments to priority weights from that point on.

Lets look at one more example. A site wants to do the following:

- favor jobs in the low, medium, and high QOS's so they will run in QOS order
- balance job expansion factor
- use job queue time to prevent jobs from starving

The sample maui.cfg is listed below:


QOSCFG[medium] PRIORITY=10000

This example is a bit more complicated but is more typical of the needs of many sites. The desired QOS weightings are established by enabling the QOS subfactor using the QOSWEIGHT parameter while the various QOS priorities are specified using QOSCFG. XFACTORWEIGHT is then set as this subcomponent tends to establish a balanced distribution of expansion factors across all jobs. Next, the queuetime component is used to gradually raise the priority of all jobs based on the length of time they have been queued. Note that in this case, QUEUETIMEWEIGHT was explicitly set to 10, overriding its default value of 1. Finally, the TARGETQUEUETIMEWEIGHT parameter is used in conjunction with the USERCFG line to specify a queue time target of 4 hours.

Assume now that the site decided that it liked this priority mix but they had a problem with users 'cheating' by submitting large numbers very short jobs. They would do this because very short jobs would tend to have rapidly growing xfactor values and would consequently quickly jump to the head of the queue. In this case, a 'factor cap' would be appropriate. These caps allow a site to say I would like this priority factor to contribute to a job's priority but only within a defined range. This prevents certain priority factors from swamping others. Caps can be applied to either priority components or subcomponents and are specified using the '<COMPONENTNAME>CAP' parameter (i.e., QUEUETIMECAP, RESCAP, SERVCAP, etc.) Note that both component and subcomponent caps apply to the 'pre-weighted' value as in the following equation:

Priority =
...)) +
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