How to configure pseudo-interactive job monitoring/debugging

Known to work in HTCondor version: 7.0

Note: as of HTCondor 7.3.2, condor_ssh_to_job can be used in unix to do interactive debugging of jobs. In many cases, this is more convenient, but in some cases, it still may be useful to set up special slots as described in the recipe below.

This is based on Igor Sfiligoi's talk at HTCondor Week 2008.

The basic idea is to add an extra slot for each normal job execution slot. This extra slot will run commands from the user whose job is running on the corresponding execution slot. Typical commands would be things like 'ls' or 'top'.

The following configuration assumes a single cpu machine. It should be easy to extend it to multiple cpus.

# Enable multiple slots
SLOT_TYPE_1 = cpus=1, memory=1%, swap=1%, disk=1%
SLOT_TYPE_2 = cpus=1, memory=99%, swap=99%, disk=99%

# Enable cross_slot information flow

# Config one slot for monitoring and one for jobs
SLOT1_SLOT2_MATCH = (slot2_State=?="Claimed")&&(slot2_RemoteUser=?=User)
SLOT1_START = $(SLOT1_SLOT2_MATCH) && (JOB_Is_Monitor)
SLOT2_START = <your old START condition>
START = ((SlotID == 1) && ($(SLOT1_START))) || \
        ((SlotID == 2) && ($(SLOT2_START)))

SLOT1_IsMonitorSlot = True
SLOT2_MyMonitorSlot = "slot1"

You could then use Igor's example job monitoring tool extracted from glideinWMS to submit jobs to the monitoring slot. The basic idea is to figure out where the job is running (by using condor_q) and then submit a job with the following in its submit file:

Requirements=(Name=?=”slot1@<node running job>”)

As Igor notes, the drawbacks of this method are:

One (untested) idea for how to speed things up a bit and avoid doubling the visible slots in the pool is to have the startds advertise to two central managers, one for normal jobs and one for monitoring jobs. (You can do that by simply listing both collectors in COLLECTOR_HOST.) You can use COLLECTOR_REQUIREMENTS to prune out all but the normal job execution slots in one collector and all but job monitoring slots in the other collector. A different idea is to have the job itself start up its own startd which joins a monitoring pool (private to the user?) and accepts monitoring jobs.

That said, the basic idea works just fine, so don't be afraid to use it as is.