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Slurm Manage, for submitting and reporting on job arrays run on slurm

The script manages jobs running on a compute cluster that uses the SLURM scheduler. It was developed in bash to take advantage of the automatic output from the slurm programs available on the command line, namely sacct and sbatch. As a key feature, smanage enables the user to submit and track large batches of jobs beyond the MaxArraySize limit set by slurm.

What is a job array?

If you are used to submitting jobs on a SLURM cluster, you are probably used to the standard sbatch command:

$ sbatch myanalysis.job

If you are like me, you've probably written some kind of Python/R/Bash or other script that loops through some set of variables and programmatically generates and/or submits job files. Here is an example. of some of the nonsense that I (contributor @vsoch) went through in graduate school. If only I had known about job arrays!

a job array lets you submit a ton of similar jobs using a template script.

Actually, it's just another SBATCH header. It looks like this:

#A job array with index values of 1, 2, 5, 19, 27:
#SBATCH --array=1,2,5,19,27

How would we use this? Let's start with a simple example, and say that we have 100 text files to process. We have them in a folder, and they are labeled cookie1.txt through cookie100.txt. We could use arrays to process these files without any extraneous for loops:

#SBATCH -J cookies-job # A single job name for the array
#SBATCH -n 1 # One Core
#SBATCH -N 1 # All cores on one machine
#SBATCH -p owners # Partition name
#SBATCH --mem 2000 # Memory (2Gb)
#SBATCH -t 0-1:00 # Maximum execution time (D-HH:MM)
#SBATCH -o cookie_%A_%a.out # Standard output
#SBATCH -e cookie_%A_%a.err # Standard error
#SBATCH --array=1-100   # maps 1 to 100 to SLURM_ARRAY_TASK_ID below

/bin/bash "${SCRATCH}/cookies/cookie${SLURM_ARRAY_TASK_ID}".txt

We would then submit that one job file, and 100 jobs would be run to process our cookie text files!

sbatch cookie-job.sbatch

That's the essense of a job array. It's actually exactly as it sounds - an array of jobs.

Why a tool like smanage?

Once you launch your jobs, you lose them to some extent because they are all individual. jobs. There are technically command line ways to interact and control them, but it's yet another hard-to-learn thing and (wouldn't it be nice) if there was a tool to manage arrays for us?

This is the goal of smanage. Now that you understand, let's walk through usage.



For local usage, you can install the script by adding an alias to the program. First, wget it.

chmod u+x # makes it executable

Run the following line of code or copy it into the file '~/.bashrc' to make it permanent:

alias smanage='<pathto>/'

Now skip forward to usage to learn how to interact with smanage.

Docker and Singularity

While it might be a bit overkill, providing a container with the script will help somewhat with reproducibility, and might be a preferred option for some. Thus, we've provided a Docker container that can be pulled via Singularity to run on a cluster resource.

$ singularity pull docker://srcc/smanage
WARNING: Authentication token file not found : Only pulls of public images will succeed
INFO:    Starting build...
Getting image source signatures
Copying blob sha256:cd784148e3483c2c86c50a48e535302ab0288bebd587accf40b714fffd0646b3
 2.10 MiB / 2.10 MiB [======================================================] 0s
Copying blob sha256:596816525d28fa4a320d55ac0936959d3aa1384c7e73c7a5dbc822fa70a7b9ed
 1.12 MiB / 1.12 MiB [======================================================] 0s
Copying blob sha256:36855b2d163c3615c90b416f8a316479bfe5fa4ac017a1d01da83d490c3d4739
 5.71 KiB / 5.71 KiB [======================================================] 0s
Copying blob sha256:56bf999a378723585d47346d0d44bd74c006d3e62085d8858f2a19f1901cfeac
 5.71 KiB / 5.71 KiB [======================================================] 0s
Copying config sha256:abf632e5ff9f35ae59c85a636c3429dbcc78df9b198f0daecd0720689c1dca0c
 1.33 KiB / 1.33 KiB [======================================================] 0s
Writing manifest to image destination
Storing signatures
INFO:    Creating SIF file...
INFO:    Build complete: smanage_latest.sif

Once you have it, try running the container to see its usage. We also need to bind the /bin/scontrol executable and other libraries to the container so it can interact with our cluster.

$ singularity run --bind /usr/bin/scontrol --bind /etc/slurm --bind /etc/munge --bind /var/run/munge smanage_dev.sif
usage: smanage [FLAGS] <MODE> [MODE_ARGS]

-a|--array:  Signal that jobs to report on are from sbatch --array
-h|--help:   Show help messages. For a specific mode try, --help <MODE>
-d|--debug:  Run smanage in debug mode (performs a dry-run of slurm commands)
-v|--verbose: Print more information at each step

report (default): output information on jobs reported by an sacct call
submit: provided an sbatch script to to submit an array of jobs
config: Convenience function to create, reset or append to a config file

Specify which sacct arguments to call using the '--sacct' flag followed
by any valid sacct arguments
They can also be passed by setting SACCT_ARGS as an environment variable 

For submit mode, specify the sbatch argument using the '--sbatch' flag followed
by any valid sbatch arguments including the sbatch submit script.
They can also be passed by setting SBATCH_ARGS as an environment variable.

Define the env variable SMANAGE_EXT_SOURCE to add a script to parse the .err or .out files
In the script, define a function called '_ext_handle_completed' that will be passed a bash list of jobs. See _ext_handle_example.

Whether you install it locally or use a container, smanage has two basic modes described below. When you use the containerized version, don't forget all the binds to slurm and munge.

Step 1. Write a Dummy Job

To really see how this works, we need to write a dummy job. Let's write one that will simply sleep for a bit, and exit. Here is our sbatch job file, called sleepy.sbatch.

#SBATCH -J sleepy-job
#SBATCH -n 1
#SBATCH -p owners
#SBATCH --mem 1000
#SBATCH -t 0-0:03
#SBATCH --array=1-100   # maps 1 to 100 to SLURM_ARRAY_TASK_ID below

echo "This is job number ${SLURM_ARRAY_TASK_ID}"
sleep 120

We will launch this job like this:

sbatch sleepy.sbatch

and then use it to learn about the different commands for smanage below.

Report Mode (default): smanage report

The reporting mode gives you a summary of your jobs. Here is what we see after launching sleepy.sbatch above.

[vsochat@sh-ln06 login /scratch/users/vsochat/sleepy]$ smanage report
Finding jobs using: /usr/bin/sacct -XP --noheader
Found jobs: 35512888
0 FAILED jobs
0 TIMEOUT jobs
98 RUNNING jobs
0 PENDING jobs

2 jobs with untracked status

We could have also used squeue:

[vsochat@sh-ln06 login /scratch/users/vsochat/sleepy]$ squeue -u vsochat
  35386489_[1-100]    owners sleepy-j  vsochat PD       0:00      1 (None)

How does the first commad work? It parses and summarized the output from sacct. Now we can try the command and look specifically for our "sleepy-job" by name. Let's run the command again, so we get two sets of sleepy jobs.

$ sbatch sleepy.job
$ smanage report --sacct --name=sleepy-job
Finding jobs using: /usr/bin/sacct -XP --noheader --name=sleepy-job
Found jobs: 35386489,35386615
100 COMPLETED jobs
0 FAILED jobs
0 TIMEOUT jobs
0 RUNNING jobs
51 PENDING jobs

Now we see the first 100 completed, and the second batch are started up! Under the hood, this is using 'sacct --array' named "sleepy-job". If you are familiar with sacct, any sacct commands can be added to this command. For example, to report the jobs ran on a specific date, we might do this:

$ smanage report --sacct --name=sleepy-job --starttime=2019-01-07

You can also add the '--verbose' flag to add more useful information about the jobs.

$ smanage --verbose report --sacct --name=sleepy-job --verbose --state=COMPLETED

Reporting Errors

When looking at FAILED jobs, providing a path to the directory where the .err files are for the run prints the errors for these jobs and a list of jobs to rerun (for easy copy and paste into your next 'sbatch --array' or 'smanage --submit' call):

$ smanage --verbose report --name=sleepy-job --state=FAILED
Finding jobs using: /usr/bin/sacct -XP --noheader --name=BATCH_JOBS
2 FAILED jobs
Job 34 Failed: "ls: ~/myjobdir/: No such file or directory"
Job 52 Failed: "ls: ~/myjobdir/: No such file or directory"
Rerun these jobs: 34,52

The output for verbose commands can be extended to parse the .err or .out files to provided even more information using the 'SMANAGE_EXT_SOURCE' environment variable. Define the env variable SMANAGE_EXT_SOURCE to add a script to parse the .err or .out files. In the script, define a function called '_ext_handle_completed' that will be passed a bash list of jobs. See _ext_handle_example.

Submit Mode: smanage submit

The smanage submit mode adds extra functionality to sbatch when submitting and tracking more jobs than the MaxArraySize allowed by slurm.

For simple jobs, use the exact same arguments as when using sbatch. A batch name is required and is provided to smanage using the argument '--batch-name=' or by specifying the sbatch argument '--job-name='. A CONFIG file is not required and is not be created for these types of job submittions.

$ smanage submit --sbatch --job-name="BATCH_JOB" <sbatch_script> <sbatch_script_args>
Submitting batch
Submitting jobs: /usr/bin/sbatch --job-name="BATCH_JOB" <sbatch_script> <sbatch_script_args>

Submitted batch job <job_id>

smanage extends the number of batch jobs one can submit beyond the MaxArraySize set by slurm. The script controls the number of jobs submitted at each call using a CONFIG file containing a reserve size (the maximum number of jobs allowed to be submitted) and maximum job id (the last job id to submit). The reserve and max_id can be initialized using the smanage '--max_id' and '--reserve' arguments.

The following example runs a batch of 10,000 jobs with a reserve of 1,000 jobs at-a-time:

$ smanage submit --reserve 1000 --max_id 9999 --sbatch --job-name="BATCH_JOB" <sbatch_script> <sbatch_script_args>
Submitting batch BATCH_JOB jobs 0-999 as array 0-999
Submitting jobs: /usr/bin/sbatch --array=0-999 --job-name="BATCH_JOB" <sbatch_script> <sbatch_script_args>

Submitted batch job <job_id_0>
Appending <job_id_0> to BATCH_JOB_CONFIG

For this call, smanage creates a CONFIG file automatically. It can be used for subsequent calls to smanage submit.



SBATCH_ARGS="--job-name="BATCH_JOB" <sbatch_script> <sbatch_script_args>"


smanage uses sacct output to count the number of PENDING and RUNNING jobs for this batch. It then submits an array of jobs to fill the reserve quota. If 950 of the initial 1000 jobs are PENDING or RUNNING, the next smanage submit call submits 50 jobs:

$ smanage submit --config BATCH_JOB_CONFIG
Finding jobs using: /usr/bin/sacct -XP --noheader --jobs=<job_id> --name=BATCH_JOB -S <job_date>
Found jobs: <job_id>

Submitting batch BATCH_JOB jobs 1000-1049 as array 0-49
Calling: /usr/bin/sbatch --array=0-49 --job-name="BATCH_JOB" <sbatch_script> <sbatch_script_args>

Submitted batch job <job_id_1>
Appending <job_id_1> to BATCH_JOB_CONFIG

smanage can be called at timed intervals making use of crontab. smanage continues to submit jobs to the slurm scheduler until it reaches the max_id. The example cron job below calls 'smanage submit' every half hour and 'smanage report' every four hours at ten minutes past the hour. Output from the calls are emailed to the user automatically.

*/30 * * * * ~/smanage/ submit --config $CONFIG
10 */4 * * * ~/smanage/ report --config $CONFIG

Accessing variable in the CONFIG file in an sbatch script

Some use cases require accessing variables in the CONFIG file in an sbatch script. smanage submit automatically appends the path to the CONFIG file as the last item to the sbatch arguments. Therefore the variables in the CONFIG file can be accessed in the sbatch script by reading them directly or using the bash 'source' command to load the variables.

This example reads the NEXT_RUN_ID variable from the CONFIG file and uses it to list the items in a directory.

#SBATCH -p shared

if [[ $# -gt 0 ]]; then
    LAST_ARG=${*: -1}
    if [[ -n $LAST_ARG && -e $(readlink -f $LAST_ARG) ]]; then
        CONFIG=$(readlink -f $LAST_ARG)
        source $CONFIG
        # the variable NEXT_RUN_ID now contains the value in the CONFIG file

ls batches/batch_dir_${RUN_ID}


To build the Docker container locally:

$ docker build -t srcc/smanage .


Slurm Manage for submitting and useful reporting on job arrays







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