LinuxHost Adapter


This is an experimental feature right now that may change drastically in the future. So always revisit this documentation after upgrading OnDemand.

First Setup cgroups

By default the adapter does not limit the user’s CPU or memory utilization, only their “walltime”. The following are two examples of ways to implement resource limits for the LinuxHost Adapter using cgroups.

Approach #1: Systemd user slices

With systemd it is possible to manage the resource limits of user logins through each user’s “slice”. The limits applied to a user slice are shared by all processes belonging to that user, this is not a per-job or per-node resource limit but a per-user limit. When setting the limits keep in mind the sum of all user limits is the max potential resource consumption on a single host.

First update the PAM stack to include the following line:

session     required type=open_session /etc/security/

The following example of /etc/security/ is used by OSC on interactive login nodes. Adjust MemoryLimit and CPUQuota to meet the needs of your site. See man systemd.resource-control

set -e

PAM_UID=$(id -u "${PAM_USER}")

if [ "${PAM_SERVICE}" = "sshd" -a "${PAM_UID}" -ge 1000 ]; then
        /usr/bin/systemctl set-property "user-${PAM_UID}.slice" \
                MemoryAccounting=true MemoryLimit=64G \
                CPUAccounting=true \

Approach #2: libcgroup cgroups

The libcgroup cgroups rules and configurations are a per-group resource limit where the group is defined in the examples at /etc/cgconfig.d/limits.conf. The following examples limit resources of all tmux processes launched for the LinuxHost Adapter so they all share 700 CPU shares and 64GB of RAM. This requires setting tmux_bin to a wrapper script that in this example will be /usr/local/bin/ondemand_tmux.

Example of /usr/local/bin/ondemand_tmux:

exec tmux "$@"

Setup the cgroup limits at /etc/cgconfig.d/limits.conf:

group linuxhostadapter {
        memory {
        cpu {

Setup the cgroup rules at /etc/cgrules.conf:

*:/usr/local/bin/ondemand_tmux memory linuxhostadapter/
*:/usr/local/bin/ondemand_tmux cpu linuxhostadapter/

Start the necessary services:

sudo systemctl start cgconfig
sudo systemctl start cgred
sudo systemctl enable cgconfig
sudo systemctl enable cgred

How To Configure The Adapter

A YAML cluster configuration file for a Linux host looks like:

# /etc/ood/config/clusters.d/my_cluster.yml
    title: "Owens"
    url: ""
    hidden: true
    host: ""
    adapter: "linux_host"
    submit_host: ""  # This is the head for a login round robin
    ssh_hosts: # These are the actual login nodes
    site_timeout: 7200
    debug: true
    singularity_bin: /usr/bin/singularity
    singularity_bindpath: /etc,/media,/mnt,/opt,/run,/srv,/usr,/var,/users
    singularity_image: /opt/ood/linuxhost_adapter/centos_7.6.sif
    # Enabling strict host checking may cause the adapter to fail if the user's known_hosts does not have all the roundrobin hosts
    strict_host_checking: false
    tmux_bin: /usr/bin/tmux

with the following configuration options:

This is set to linux_host.
The target execution host for jobs. May be the head for a login round robin. May also be “localhost”.
Either the submit_host again, or a list of all nodes in the round robin if one is being used.
The number of seconds that a user’s job is allowed to run. Distinct from the length of time that a user selects.
When set to true job scripts are written to $HOME/tmp.UUID_tmux and $HOME/tmp.UUID_sing for debugging purposes. When false those files are written to /tmp and deleted as soon as they have been read.
The absolute path to the singularity executable on the execution host(s).
The comma delimited list of paths to bind mount into the host; cannot simply be / because Singularity expects certain dot files in its containers’ root; defaults to: /etc,/media,/mnt,/opt,/run,/srv,/usr,/var,/users.
The absolute path to the Singularity image used when simply PID namespacing jobs; expected to be a base distribution image with no customizations.
When false the SSH options include StrictHostKeyChecking=no and UserKnownHostsFile=/dev/null this prevents jobs from failing to launch.
The absolute path to the tmux executable on the execution host(s).

But, Why? A User Story

As an HPC user working in R I want to be able to be able to launch RStudio so that I can use it as an IDE; because I am limited I will not run anything that takes up more than N CPUs, X memory, or Z hours.

A Non-traditional Job Launcher

The LinuxHost adapter facilitates launching jobs immediately without using a traditional scheduler or resource manager. Use cases for this non-traditional job adapter include:

  • Launching desktop environments
  • Launching code editors
  • Using OnDemand on systems that do not have a supported scheduler installed

The adapter pieces together several common Linux/HPC technologies to achieve behavior similar to what a scheduler offers.

  • ssh connects from the web node to a configured host such as a login node.
  • Specially named tmux sessions offer the ability to rediscover running jobs
  • singularity containerization provides a PID namespace without requiring elevated privileges that ensures that all child processes are cleaned up when the job either times out or is killed
  • timeout is used to set a ‘walltime’ after which the job is killed
  • pstree is used to detect the job’s parent sinit process so that it can be killed

A Non-traditional Use of Singularity

Singularity is a containerization technology similar to Docker which can be safely used on multi-tenant systems. The LinuxHost adapter can use these containers in two different ways.

The first way to use Singularity is to simply use it as an unprivileged PID namespace. In this case most/all of the host file system is bind-mounted into the running container and the fact that the job is inside a container should not be visible. For this reason many existing BatchConnect applications will just work when launched by the LinuxHost adapter. A base CentOS image should be installed on the target compute hosts, we suggest /opt/ood/linuxhost_adapter/$IMAGE_NAME.sif but any path may be configured.

The second way to use Singularity is the designed use of containers: launch a self contained applications with only the bare minimum host directories mounted into the running container. In this method you would likely want access to application inputs, an output directory and possibly nothing else. A job’s container is set by providing values for the native attribute singularity_container and singularity_bindpath. In Batch Connect applications these attributes may be set in the file submit.yml:

  template: vnc
     singularity_bindpath: /etc,/media,/mnt,/opt,/run,/srv,/usr,/var,/fs,/home
     singularity_container: /usr/local/modules/netbeans/netbeans_2019.sif


Subsequent versions of the adapter are expected to use unshare for PID namespacing as the default method instead of Singularity. Singularity will continue to be supported.