This is the HTCondor Administrator’s Manual. Its purpose is to aid in the installation and administration of an HTCondor pool. For help on using HTCondor, see the HTCondor User’s Manual.

An HTCondor pool is comprised of a single machine which serves as the central manager, and an arbitrary number of other machines. Machines intended to run work are called Execution Points (EP)s, also known as worker nodes. Machines that hold a queue of jobs ready to run, or the results of jobs that have run are called Access Points (AP)s, also known as submit machines. The role of HTCondor is to match waiting requests with available resources. Every part of HTCondor sends periodic updates to the central manager, the centralized repository of information about the state of the pool. Periodically, the central manager assesses the current state of the pool and tries to match pending requests with the appropriate resources.

Each resource has an owner, the one who sets the policy for the use of the machine. This person has absolute power over the use of the machine, and HTCondor goes out of its way to minimize the impact on this owner caused by HTCondor. It is up to the resource owner to define a policy for when HTCondor requests will serviced and when they will be denied.

Each resource request has an owner as well: the user who submitted the job. These people want HTCondor to provide as many CPU cycles as possible for their work. Often the interests of the resource owners are in conflict with the interests of the resource requesters. The job of the HTCondor administrator is to configure the HTCondor pool to find the happy medium that keeps both resource owners and users of resources satisfied. The purpose of this manual is to relate the mechanisms that HTCondor provides to enable the administrator to find this happy medium.

The Different Roles a Machine Can Play

Every machine in an HTCondor pool can serve a variety of roles. Most machines serve more than one role simultaneously. Certain roles can only be performed by a single machine in the pool. The following list describes what these roles are and what resources are required on the machine that is providing that service:

Central Manager

There can be only one central manager for the pool. This machine is the collector of information, and the negotiator between resources and resource requests. These two halves of the central manager’s responsibility are performed by separate daemons, so it would be possible to have different machines providing those two services. However, normally they both live on the same machine. This machine plays a very important part in the HTCondor pool and should be reliable. If this machine crashes, no further matchmaking can be performed within the HTCondor system, although all current matches remain in effect until they are broken by either party involved in the match. Therefore, choose for central manager a machine that is likely to be up and running all the time, or at least one that will be rebooted quickly if something goes wrong. The central manager will ideally have a good network connection to all the machines in the pool, since these pool machines all send updates over the network to the central manager.


flowchart TD condor_master --> condor_collector & condor_negotiator

Daemons for Central Manager, both managed by a condor_master

Execution Point

Any machine in the pool, including the central manager, can be configured as to whether or not it should execute HTCondor jobs. Obviously, some of the machines will have to serve this function, or the pool will not be useful. Being an execute machine does not require lots of resources. About the only resource that might matter is disk space. In general the more resources a machine has in terms of swap space, memory, number of CPUs, the larger variety of resource requests it can serve.


flowchart TD condor_master --> condor_startd condor_startd --> condor_starter_for_slot1 condor_startd --> condor_starter_for_slot2 condor_starter_for_slot1 --> job_in_slot1 condor_starter_for_slot2 --> job_in_slot2

Daemons for a Execution Point, one condor_starter per running job.

Access Point

Any machine in the pool, including the central manager, can be configured as to whether or not it should allow HTCondor jobs to be submitted. The resource requirements for an access point are actually much greater than the resource requirements for an execute machine. Every submitted job that is currently running on a remote machine runs a process on the access point. As a result, lots of running jobs will need a fair amount of swap space and/or real memory. HTCondor pools can scale out horizontally by adding additional access points. Older terminology called these submit machines or scheduler machine.


flowchart TD condor_master --> condor_schedd condor_schedd --> condor_shadow_for_job1 condor_schedd --> condor_shadow_for_job2

Daemons for an Access Point, one condor_shadow per running job.

The HTCondor Daemons

The following list describes all the daemons and programs that could be started under HTCondor and what they do:


This daemon is responsible for keeping all the rest of the HTCondor daemons running on each machine in the pool. It spawns the other daemons, and it periodically checks to see if there are new binaries installed for any of them. If there are, the condor_master daemon will restart the affected daemons. In addition, if any daemon crashes, the condor_master will send e-mail to the HTCondor administrator of the pool and restart the daemon. The condor_master also supports various administrative commands that enable the administrator to start, stop or reconfigure daemons remotely. The condor_master will run on every machine in the pool, regardless of the functions that each machine is performing.


This daemon represents a given resource to the HTCondor pool, as a machine capable of running jobs. It advertises certain attributes about machine that are used to match it with pending resource requests. The condor_startd will run on any machine in the pool that is to be able to execute jobs. It is responsible for enforcing the policy that the resource owner configures, which determines under what conditions jobs will be started, suspended, resumed, vacated, or killed. When the condor_startd is ready to execute an HTCondor job, it spawns the condor_starter.


This daemon is the entity that actually spawns the HTCondor job on a given machine. It sets up the execution environment and monitors the job once it is running. When a job completes, the condor_starter notices this, sends back any status information to the submitting machine, and exits.


This daemon represents resource requests to the HTCondor pool. Any machine that is to be an access point needs to have a condor_schedd running. When users submit jobs, the jobs go to the condor_schedd, where they are stored in the job queue. The condor_schedd manages the job queue. Various tools to view and manipulate the job queue, such as condor_submit, condor_q, and condor_rm, all must connect to the condor_schedd to do their work. If the condor_schedd is not running on a given machine, none of these commands will work.

The condor_schedd advertises the number of waiting jobs in its job queue and is responsible for claiming available resources to serve those requests. Once a job has been matched with a given resource, the condor_schedd spawns a condor_shadow daemon to serve that particular request.


This daemon runs on the machine where a given request was submitted and acts as the resource manager for the request.


This daemon is responsible for collecting all the information about the status of an HTCondor pool. All other daemons periodically send ClassAd updates to the condor_collector. These ClassAds contain all the information about the state of the daemons, the resources they represent or resource requests in the pool. The condor_status command can be used to query the condor_collector for specific information about various parts of HTCondor. In addition, the HTCondor daemons themselves query the condor_collector for important information, such as what address to use for sending commands to a remote machine.


This daemon is responsible for all the match making within the HTCondor system. Periodically, the condor_negotiator begins a negotiation cycle, where it queries the condor_collector for the current state of all the resources in the pool. It contacts each condor_schedd that has waiting resource requests in priority order, and tries to match available resources with those requests. The condor_negotiator is responsible for enforcing user priorities in the system, where the more resources a given user has claimed, the less priority they have to acquire more resources. If a user with a better priority has jobs that are waiting to run, and resources are claimed by a user with a worse priority, the condor_negotiator can preempt that resource and match it with the user with better priority.


A higher numerical value of the user priority in HTCondor translate into worse priority for that user. The best priority is 0.5, the lowest numerical value, and this priority gets worse as this number grows.


This daemon is used on both Linux and Windows platforms. On those platforms, the condor_startd frequently cannot determine console (keyboard or mouse) activity directly from the system, and requires a separate process to do so. On Linux, the condor_kbdd connects to the X Server and periodically checks to see if there has been any activity. On Windows, the condor_kbdd runs as the logged-in user and registers with the system to receive keyboard and mouse events. When it detects console activity, the condor_kbdd sends a command to the condor_startd. That way, the condor_startd knows the machine owner is using the machine again and can perform whatever actions are necessary, given the policy it has been configured to enforce.


This daemon handles management and execution of all grid universe jobs. The condor_schedd invokes the condor_gridmanager when there are grid universe jobs in the queue, and the condor_gridmanager exits when there are no more grid universe jobs in the queue.


This daemon runs on Windows platforms to manage password storage in a secure manner.


This daemon implements the high availability of a pool’s central manager through monitoring the communication of necessary daemons. If the current, functioning, central manager machine stops working, then this daemon ensures that another machine takes its place, and becomes the central manager of the pool.


This daemon assists the condor_had daemon by keeping an updated copy of the pool’s state. This state provides a better transition from one machine to the next, in the event that the central manager machine stops working.


This short lived daemon is invoked by the condor_replication daemon to accomplish the task of transferring a state file before exiting.


This daemon controls and monitors process families within HTCondor. Its use is optional in general, but it must be used if group-ID based tracking (see the Setting Up for Special Environments section) is enabled.


This daemon transforms vanilla universe jobs into grid universe jobs, such that the transformed jobs are capable of running elsewhere, as appropriate.


This daemon manages leases in a persistent manner. Leases are represented by ClassAds.


This daemon wakes hibernating machines based upon configuration details.


This daemon manages the draining of machines with fragmented partitionable slots, so that they become available for jobs requiring a whole machine or larger fraction of a machine.


This daemon listens for incoming TCP packets on behalf of HTCondor daemons, thereby reducing the number of required ports that must be opened when HTCondor is accessible through a firewall.