Maui Scheduler

Maui Users Manual

Maui Introduction

The Maui Scheduler was designed to offer improved job management and scheduling to users while allowing users to continue 'business as usual'. In fact, users do not need to change anything in the way they submit and track jobs when Maui is installed. However, if a user chooses, there are many new features and commands which can be utilized to improve the user's ability to run jobs when, where, and how they want.

The Maui Scheduler, as its name suggests, is a scheduler. It is not a resource manager. A resource manager, such as PBS, Loadleveler, or LSF, manages the job queue and manages the compute nodes. A scheduler tells the resource manager what to do, when to run jobs, and where. Users typically submit jobs and query the state of the machine and jobs through the resource manager. When Maui is running, users can continue to issue the exact same resource manager commands as before. However, Maui also offers commands which provide additional information and capabilities.

Maui capabilities include many internal mechanisms to improve overall scheduling performance, allowing users to run more jobs on the same system and get their results back more quickly. Additionally, Maui allows users to create resource reservations which guarantee resource availability at particular times. Quality of service features are also enabled which allow a user to request improved job turnaround time, access to additional resources, or exemptions to particular policies automatically. (The site administrator may choose to make some of these capabilities only available at a higher 'job cost')

Maui Overview

Maui is an advanced cluster scheduler capable of optimizing scheduling and node allocation decisions. It allows site administrators extensive control over which jobs are considered eligible for for scheduling, how the jobs are prioritized, and where these jobs are run. Maui supports advance reservations, QOS levels, backfill, and allocation management. Each of these features, if enabled, may require some adjustment on the part of the user to optimize system performance.


Backfill is a scheduling approach which allows some jobs to be run 'out of order' so long as they do not delay the highest priority jobs in the queue. In order to determine whether or not a job will be delayed, each job must supply an estimate of how long it will need to run. This estimate, known as a wallclock limit, is an estimation of the wall time (or elapsed time) from job start to job finish. It is often wise to slightly overestimate this limit because the scheduler may be configured to kill jobs which exceed their wallclock limits. However, overestimating a job's wallclock time by too much will prevent the scheduler from being able to optimize the job queue as much as possible. The more accurate the wallclock limit, the more 'holes' Maui can find to start your job early.

Maui also provides the command showbf to allow users to see exactly what resources are available for immediate use. This can allow users to configure a job that will be able to run a soon as it is submitted by utilizing only available resources.

Backfill scheduling significantly improves the ability of the scheduler to utilize the available resources. Consequently, using backfill scheduling increases system utilization and throughput while decreasing average job queue time. Fortunately, backfill is a very forgiving algorithm, allowing even jobs with very poor wallclock estimates to benefit from it. However, better estimates will increase the amount of improvement backfill scheduling can provide for your jobs.

Allocation Management

Maui possesses interfaces to a number of allocation management systems such as PNNL's QBank. These systems allow each user to be given a portion of the total compute resources available on the system. These systems work by associating each user with one or more accounts. When a job is submitted, the user specifies which account should be charged for the resources consumed by the job. Default accounts may be specified to automate the account specification process in most cases. If such a system is being used at your site, your system administrators will inform you as to if and how accounts should be specified.

Advance Reservations

Advance reservations allow a site to set aside certain resources for specific uses over a given timeframe. Access to a given reservation is controlled by a reservation-specific access control list (ACL) which determines who or what can use the reserved resources. It is important to note that while reservation ACL's allow particular jobs to utilize reserved resources, they do not force the job to utilize these resources. Maui will attempt to locate the best possible combination of available resources whether these are reserved or unreserved. For example, in the figure below, note that job X, which meets access criteria for both reservation A and B, allocates a portion of its resources from each reservation and the remainder from resources outside of both reservations.

While by default, reservations make resources available to jobs which meet particular criteria, Maui can be configured to constrain jobs to only run within accessible reservations. Specifically, jobs can be forced to run only within reserved resources on a job by job basis or by specifying special QoS constraints. (See the Resource Manager Extensions and QoS Facilities sections of the Maui Admin Manual for more information.)

See Also:

Advance Reservation Overview, Maui Admin Manual

Quality of Service (QOS)

The Maui QOS features allow a site to grant special privileges to particular users. These benefits can include access to additional resources, exemptions from certain policies, access to special capabilities, and improved job prioritization. Each site determines which advantages are important to make available and to whom. If you are granted special QOS access, you can specify the QOS to use for your job using the QOS keyword.


Maui tracks a large number of statistics to help users determine how well and how often their jobs are running. The showstats command provides detailed statistics on a per user, per group, and per account basis. Additionally, the command showgrid can be used to determine what types of jobs get the best scheduling performance allowing users to 'tune' their jobs to obtain optimal turnaround time.


Maui provides the checkjob command to allow users to view a detailed status of each job they have submitted. This command show all job attribute and state information and also provides an analysis of whether or not the job can run. If the job is unable to run, this command will provide a breakdown of these reasons why. The showstart command provides an estimate of job start time beyond this.

If your job still will not start, contact your system administrator. He will have access to additional commands and detailed Maui logs which will reveal exactly why the job cannot run.

Workload Information

Maui offers an extensive array of job prioritization options to allow sites to control exactly how jobs run through the job queue. If your site administrators have chosen to take advantage of this, the job ordering shown by your resource manager queue listing command (i.e., llq, qstat) will not reflect this. Maui provides the showq command to display a relevant listing of both active and idle jobs.