Connecting HTCondor Pools with Flocking

Flocking is HTCondor’s way of allowing jobs that cannot immediately run within the pool of machines where the job was submitted to instead run on a different HTCondor pool. If a machine within HTCondor pool A can send jobs to be run on HTCondor pool B, then we say that jobs from machine A flock to pool B. Flocking can occur in a one way manner, such as jobs from machine A flocking to pool B, or it can be set up to flock in both directions. Configuration variables allow the condor_schedd daemon (which runs on each machine that may submit jobs) to implement flocking.

NOTE: Flocking to pools which use HTCondor’s high availability mechanisms is not advised. See High Availability of the Central Manager for a discussion of the issues.

Flocking Configuration

The simplest flocking configuration sets a few configuration variables. If jobs from machine A are to flock to pool B, then in machine A’s configuration, set the following configuration variables:


is a comma separated list of the central manager machines of the pools that jobs from machine A may flock to.


is the list of condor_collector daemons within the pools that jobs from machine A may flock to. In most cases, it is the same as FLOCK_TO, and it would be defined with


is the list of condor_negotiator daemons within the pools that jobs from machine A may flock to. In most cases, it is the same as FLOCK_TO, and it would be defined with


provides an access level and authorization list for the condor_schedd daemon to allow negotiation (for security reasons) with the machines within the pools that jobs from machine A may flock to. This configuration variable will not likely need to change from its default value as given in the sample configuration:

##  Now, with flocking we need to let the SCHEDD trust the other
##  negotiators we are flocking with as well.  You should normally
##  not have to change this either.

This example configuration presumes that the condor_collector and condor_negotiator daemons are running on the same machine. See the Authorization section for a discussion of security macros and their use.

The configuration macros that must be set in pool B are ones that authorize jobs from machine A to flock to pool B.

The configuration variables are more easily set by introducing a list of machines where the jobs may flock from. FLOCK_FROM is a comma separated list of machines, and it is used in the default configuration setting of the security macros that do authorization:


Wild cards may be used when setting the FLOCK_FROM configuration variable. For example, * specifies all hosts from the domain.

Further, if using Kerberos or SSL authentication, then the setting becomes:


To enable flocking in both directions, consider each direction separately, following the guidelines given.

Job Considerations

A particular job will only flock to another pool when it cannot currently run in the current pool.

The submission of jobs must consider the location of input, output and error files. The common case will be that machines within separate pools do not have a shared file system. Therefore, when submitting jobs, the user will need to enable file transfer mechanisms. These mechanisms are discussed in the Submitting Jobs Without a Shared File System: HTCondor’s File Transfer Mechanism section.