Automatically managing a job

While a user can manually manage an HTCondor job in ways described in the previous section, it is often better to give HTCondor policies with which it can automatically manage a job without user intervention.

Automatically rerunning a failed job

By default, when a job exits, HTCondor considers it completed, removes it from the job queue and places it in the history file. If a job exits with a non-zero exit code, this usually means that some error has happened. If this error is ephemeral, a user might want to re-run the job again, to see if the job succeeds on a second invocation. HTCondor can does this automatically with the max_retries option in the submit file, to tell HTCondor the maximum number of times to restart the job from scratch. In the rare case where some value other than zero indicates success, a submit file can set success_exit_code to the integer value that is considered successful.

# Example submit description with max_retries

executable   = myexe
arguments    = SomeArgument

# Retry this job 5 times if non-zero exit code
max_retries = 5

output       = outputfile
error        = errorfile
log          = myexe.log

request_cpus   = 1
request_memory = 1024M
request_disk   = 10240K

should_transfer_files = yes


Automatically removing a job in the queue

HTCondor can automatically remove a job, running or otherwise, from the queue if a given constraint is true. In the submit description file, set periodic_remove to a classad expression. When this expression evaluates to true, the scheduler will remove the job, just as if condor_rm had run on that job. See Matchmaking with ClassAds for information about the classad language and ClassAd Attributes for the list of attributes which can be used in these expressions. For example, to automatically remove a job which has been in the queue for more than 100 hours, the submit file could have

periodic_remove = (time() - QDate) > (100 * 3600)

or, to remove jobs that have been running for more than two hours:

periodic_remove = (JobStatus == 2) && (time() - EnteredCurrentStatus) > (2 * 3600)

Automatically placing a job on hold

Often, if a job is doing something unexpected, it is more useful to hold the job, rather than remove it. If the problem with the job can be fixed, the job can then be released and started again. Much like the periodic_remove command, there is a periodic_hold command that works in a similar way, but instead of removing the job, puts the job on hold. Unlike periodic_remove, there are additional commands that help to tell the user why the job was placed on hold. periodic_hold_reason is a string which is put into the HoldReason attribute to explain why we put the job on hold. periodic_hold_subcode is an integer that is put into the HoldReasonSubCode that is useful for periodic_release to examine. Neither periodic_hold_subcode nor periodic_hold_reason are required, but are good practice to include if periodic_hold is defined.

Automatically releasing a held job

In the same way that a job can be automatically held, jobs in the held state can be released with the periodic_release command. Often, using a periodic_hold with a paired periodic_release is a good way to restart a stuck job. Jobs can go into the hold state for many reasons, so best practice, when trying to release a job that was held with periodic_hold is to include the HoldReasonSubCode in the periodic_release expression.

periodic_hold = (JobStatus == 2) && (time() - EnteredCurrentStatus) > (2 * 3600)
periodic_hold_reason = "Job ran for more than two hours"
periodic_hold_subcode = 42
periodic_release = (HoldReasonSubCode == 42)

Holding a completed job

A job may exit, and HTCondor consider it completed, even though something has gone wrong with the job. A submit file may contain a on_exit_hold expression to tell HTCondor to put the job on hold, instead of moving it to the history. A held job informs users that there may have been a problem with the job that should be investigated. For example, if a job should never exit by a signal, the job can be put on hold if it does with

on_exit_hold = ExitBySignal == true