The Portable Batch System (PBS) is available as Open Source software from http://www.OpenPbs.org/. A commercial version can be bought from http://www.PBSPro.com/. The PBSPro also offer support for OpenPBS, and at a decent price for academic institutions.

There exists a very useful collection of user-contributed software/patches for Open PBS at http://www-unix.mcs.anl.gov/openpbs/.

This HowTo document outlines all the steps required to compile and install the Portable Batch System (PBS) version 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3. Most likely the steps will be the same for the PBSPro software.

The latest version of PBS is available from http://www.OpenPbs.org/. The PBS documentation available at the Web-site should be handy for in-depth discussion of the points covered in this HowTo.

We also discuss how to create a PBS script for parallel or serial jobs. The cleanup in an epilogue script may be required for parallel jobs.

Accounting Reports may be generated from PBS' accounting files. We provide a simple tool pbsacct that processes and formats the accounting into a useful report. Download the latest version of pbsacct from the ftp://ftp.fysik.dtu.dk/pub/PBS/ directory.
Feedback to this document was kindly provided by:

HowTo steps

The following steps are what we use to install PBS from scratch on our systems. Please send corrections and additions to Ole.H.Nielsen (at) fysik.dtu.dk.

  1. Ensure that tcl8.0 and tk8.0 are installed on the system. Look into the PBS docs to find out about these packages. The homepage is at http://www.scriptics.com/products/tcltk/. Get Linux RPMs from your favorite distribution, or build it yourself on other UNIXes.
    If you installed the PBS binary RPMs on Linux, skip to step 4.

  2. Configure PBS for your choice of spool-directory and the central server machine (named "zeise" in our examples):
    ./configure --set-server-home=/var/spool/PBS --set-default-server=zeise
    On Compaq Tru64 UNIX make sure that you use the Compaq C-compiler in stead of the GNU gcc by doing "setenv CC cc". You should add these flags to the above configure command: --set-cflags="-g3 -O2". It is also important that the /var/spool/PBS does not include any soft-links, such as /var -> /usr/var, since this triggers a bug in the PBS code.

    If you compiled PBS for a different architecture before, make sure to clean up before running configure:

       gmake distclean

  3. Run a GNU-compatible make in order to build PBS.

    On AIX 4.1.5 edit src/tools/Makefile to add a library: LIBS = -lld

    On Compaq Tru64 UNIX use the native Compaq C-compiler:

    gmake CC=cc
    The default CFLAGS are "-g -O2", but the Compaq compiler requires "-g3 -O2" for optimization. Set this with:
    ./configure (flags) --set-cflags="-g3 -O2"
    After the make has completed, install the PBS files as the root superuser:
    gmake install

  4. Create the "nodes" file in the central server's (zeise) directory /var/spool/PBS/server_priv containing hostnames, see the PBS 2.2 Admin Guide p.8 (Sec. 2.2 "Installation Overview" point 8.). Substitute the spool-directory name /var/spool/PBS by your own choice (the Linux RPM uses /var/spool/pbs). Check the file /var/spool/PBS/pbs_environment and ensure that important environment variables (such as the TZ timezone variable) have been included by the installation process. Add any required variables in this file.

  5. Initialize the PBS server daemon and scheduler:
    /usr/local/sbin/pbs_server -t create
    The "-t create" should only be executed once, at the time of installation !!

    The pbs_server and pbs_sched should be started at boot time: On Linux this is done automatically by /etc/rc.d/init.d/pbs. Otherwise use your UNIX's standard method (e.g. /etc/rc.local) to run the following commands at boot time:

    /usr/local/sbin/pbs_server -a true
    The "-a true" sets the scheduling attribute to True, so that jobs may start running.

  6. Create queues using the "qmgr" command, see the manual page for "pbs_server_attributes" and "pbs_queue_attributes": List the server configuration by the print server command. The output can be used as input to qmgr, so this is a way to make a backup of your server setup. You may stick the output of qmgr (for example, you may use the setup listed below) into a file (removing the first 2 lines which are actually not valid commands). Pipe this file into qmgr like this: cat file | qmgr and everything is configured in a couple of seconds !

    Our current configuration is:

    # qmgr
    Max open servers: 4
    Qmgr: print server
    # Create queues and set their attributes.
    # Create and define queue verylong
    create queue verylong
    set queue verylong queue_type = Execution
    set queue verylong Priority = 40
    set queue verylong max_running = 10
    set queue verylong resources_max.cput = 72:00:00
    set queue verylong resources_min.cput = 12:00:01
    set queue verylong resources_default.cput = 72:00:00
    set queue verylong enabled = True
    set queue verylong started = True
    # Create and define queue long
    create queue long
    set queue long queue_type = Execution
    set queue long Priority = 60
    set queue long max_running = 10
    set queue long resources_max.cput = 12:00:00
    set queue long resources_min.cput = 02:00:01
    set queue long resources_default.cput = 12:00:00
    set queue long enabled = True
    set queue long started = True
    # Create and define queue medium
    create queue medium
    set queue medium queue_type = Execution
    set queue medium Priority = 80
    set queue medium max_running = 10
    set queue medium resources_max.cput = 02:00:00
    set queue medium resources_min.cput = 00:20:01
    set queue medium resources_default.cput = 02:00:00
    set queue medium enabled = True
    set queue medium started = True
    # Create and define queue small
    create queue small
    set queue small queue_type = Execution
    set queue small Priority = 100
    set queue small max_running = 10
    set queue small resources_max.cput = 00:20:00
    set queue small resources_default.cput = 00:20:00
    set queue small enabled = True
    set queue small started = True                   
    # Create and define queue default
    create queue default
    set queue default queue_type = Route
    set queue default max_running = 10
    set queue default route_destinations = small
    set queue default route_destinations += medium
    set queue default route_destinations += long
    set queue default route_destinations += verylong
    set queue default enabled = True
    set queue default started = True
    # Set server attributes.
    set server scheduling = True
    set server max_user_run = 6
    set server acl_host_enable = True
    set server acl_hosts = *.fysik.dtu.dk
    set server acl_hosts = *.alpha.fysik.dtu.dk
    set server default_queue = default
    set server log_events = 63
    set server mail_from = adm
    set server query_other_jobs = True
    set server resources_default.cput = 01:00:00
    set server resources_default.neednodes = 1
    set server resources_default.nodect = 1
    set server resources_default.nodes = 1
    set server scheduler_iteration = 60
    set server default_node = 1#shared     

  7. Install the PBS software on the client nodes, repeating steps 1-3 above.

  8. Configure the PBS nodes so that they know the server: Check that the file /var/spool/PBS/server_name contains the name of the PBS server (zeise in this example), and edit it if appropriate. Also make sure that this hostname resolves correctly (with or without the domain-name), otherwise the pbs_server may refuse connections from the qmgr command.

    Create the file /var/spool/PBS/mom_priv/config on all PBS nodes (server and clients) with the contents:

    # The central server must be listed:
    $clienthost zeise
    where the correct servername must replace "zeise". You may add other relevant lines as recommended in the manual, for example for restricting access and for logging:
    $logevent 0x1ff
    $restricted *.your.domain.name
    (list the domain names that you want to give access).

    For maintenance of the configuration file, we use rdist to duplicate /var/spool/PBS/mom_priv/config from the server to all PBS nodes.

  9. Start the MOM mini-servers on both the server and the client nodes:
    or "/etc/rc.d/init.d/pbs start" on Linux. Make sure that MOM is started at boot time. See discussion under point 5.

    On Compaq Tru64 UNIX 4.0E+F there may be a problem with starting pbs_mom too soon. Some network problem makes pbs_mom report errors in an infinite loop, which fills up the logfiles' filesystem within a short time ! Several people told me that they don't have this problem, so it's not understood at present.
    The following section is only relevant if you have this problem on Tru64 UNIX.

    On Tru64 UNIX start pbs_mom from the last entry in /etc/inittab:

    # Portable Batch System batch execution mini-server
    pbsmom::once:/etc/rc.pbs > /dev/console 2>&1 
    The file /etc/rc.pbs delays the startup of pbs_mom:
    # Portable Batch System (PBS) startup
    # On Digital UNIX, pbs_mom fills up the mom_logs directory
    # within minutes after reboot.  Try to sleep at startup
    # in order to avoid this.
    if [ -x ${PBSDIR}/pbs_mom ]; then
         echo PBS startup.
         # Sleep for a while
         sleep 120
         ${PBSDIR}/pbs_mom       # MOM
         echo Done.
         echo Could not execute PBS commands !

  10. Queues defined above do not work until you start them:
    qstart  default small medium long verylong
    qenable default small medium long verylong
    This needs to be done only once and for all, at the time when you install PBS.

  11. Make sure that the PBS server has all nodes correctly defined. Use the pbsnodes -a command to list all nodes.

    Add nodes using the qmgr command:

    # qmgr
    Max open servers: 4
    Qmgr: create node node99 properties=ev67
    where the node-name is node99 with the properties=ev67. Alternatively, you may simply list the nodes in the file /var/spool/PBS/server_priv/nodes:
    server:ts ev67
    node99 ev67
    The :ts indicates a time-shared node; nodes without :ts are cluster nodes where batch jobs may execute. The second column lists the properties that you associate with the node. Restart the pbs_server after editing manually the nodes file.

  12. After you first setup your system, to get the jobs to actually run you need to set the server scheduling attribute to true. This will normally be done for you at boot time (see point 5 in this file), but for this first time, you will need to do this by hand using the qmgr command:
    # qmgr
    Max open servers: 4
    Qmgr: set server scheduling=true

Batch job scripts

Your PBS batch system ought to be fully functional at this point so that you can submit batch jobs using the qsub command. For debugging purposes, PBS offers you an "interactive batch job" by using the command qsub -I.

As an example, you may use the following PBS batch script as a template for creating your own batch scripts. The present script runs an MPI parallel job on the available processors:

### Job name
#PBS -N test
### Declare job non-rerunable
#PBS -r n
### Output files
#PBS -e test.err
#PBS -o test.log
### Mail to user
#PBS -m ae
### Queue name (small, medium, long, verylong)
#PBS -q long
### Number of nodes (node property ev67 wanted)
#PBS -l nodes=8:ev67

# This job's working directory
echo Working directory is $PBS_O_WORKDIR

echo Running on host `hostname`
echo Time is `date`
echo Directory is `pwd`
echo This jobs runs on the following processors:
echo `cat $PBS_NODEFILE`
# Define number of processors
echo This job has allocated $NPROCS nodes

# Run the parallel MPI executable "a.out"
mpirun -v -machinefile $PBS_NODEFILE -np $NPROCS a.out

If you specify #PBS -l nodes=1 in the script, you will be running a non-parallel (or serial) batch job:

### Job name
#PBS -N test
### Declare job non-rerunable
#PBS -r n
### Output files
#PBS -e test.err
#PBS -o test.log
### Mail to user
#PBS -m ae
### Queue name (small, medium, long, verylong)
#PBS -q long
### Number of nodes (node property ev6 wanted)
#PBS -l nodes=1:ev6

# This job's working directory
echo Working directory is $PBS_O_WORKDIR

echo Running on host `hostname`
echo Time is `date`
echo Directory is `pwd`

# Run your executable

Clean-up after parallel jobs

If a parallel job dies prematurely for any reason, PBS will clean up user processes on the master-node only. We (and others) have found that often MPI slave-processes are lingering on all of the slave-nodes waiting for communication from the (dead) master-process.

At present the only generally applicable way to clean up user processes on the nodes allocated to a PBS job is to use the PBS epilogue capability (see the PBS documentation). The epilogue is executed on the job's master-node, only.

An epilogue script /var/spool/PBS/mom_priv/epilogue should be created on every node, containing for example this:

echo '--------------------------------------'
echo Running PBS epilogue script
# Set key variables
echo Killing processes of user $USER on the batch nodes
for node in `cat $NODEFILE`
        echo Doing node $node
        su $USER -c "ssh -a -k -n -x $node skill -v -9 -u $USER"
echo Done.
The Secure Shell command ssh may be replaced by the remote-shell command of your choice. The skill (Super-kill) command is a nice tool available from
ftp://fast.cs.utah.edu/pub/skill/, or as part of the Linux procps RPM-package.

On SMP nodes one cannot use the Super-kill command, since the user's processes belonging to other PBS jobs might be terminated. The present solution works correctly only on single-CPU nodes.

An alternative cleanup solution for Linux systems is provided by Benjamin Webb of Oxford University. This solution may work more reliably than the above.

This page is maintained by: . Last update: 07 Jan 2003 .
Copyright © 2003 `Center for Atomic-scale Materials Physics' . All rights reserved.

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