If machines are configured to produce checkpoints at fixed intervals, a large number of jobs are queued (submitted) at the same time, and these jobs start on machines at about the same time, then all these jobs will be trying to write out their checkpoints at the same time. It is likely to cause rather poor performance during this burst of writing.

The RANDOM_INTEGER() macro can help in this instance. Instead of defining PERIODIC_CHECKPOINT to be a fixed interval, each machine is configured to randomly choose one of a set of intervals. For example, to set a machine's interval for producing checkpoints to within the range of two to three hours, use the following configuration:

PERIODIC_CHECKPOINT = $(LastCkpt) > ( 2 * $(HOUR) + \
      $RANDOM_INTEGER(0,60,10) * $(MINUTE) )

The interval used is set at configuration time. Each machine is randomly assigned a different interval (2 hours, 2 hours and 10 minutes, 2 hours and 20 minutes, etc.) at which to produce checkpoints. Therefore, the various machines will not all attempt to produce checkpoints at the same time.