Univa Grid Engine Adds Preemption Feature to Increase Cluster Efficiency

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univaToday Univa announced availability of its much anticipated Preemption feature for Univa Grid Engine. Preemption, in combination with Universal Resource Broker, gives users the unprecedented ability to “pause” workload, services, or containers in the system on a moment’s notice in order to run a higher priority application. This is the first time a preemption feature has been able to work with big data applications.

Electronics design companies (chip designers, EDA) often face this dilemma,” explains Bill Bryce, Vice President of Products at Univa, “They use expensive software licenses to design, test, and analyze their work, thus it is critical that the most important applications are using the software licenses first before all other applications. At the same time they cannot have the licenses waiting around, resulting in expensive inefficiencies. So when high priority applications need the licenses, instead of losing work, they preempt the lower priority workload, freeing up resources and limited licenses, thus balancing the need to maximize utilization of licenses with the critical path projects. You could liken the function to a home DVR system, where users can be confident that if they pause one program to watch another they will always be able to come back to finish the first.”

The new Preemption feature in Univa Grid Engine 8.3.0 allows users to preempt their own workloads, and administrators to preempt any application in the system, with a single command. In a typical customer environment, applications are rarely ‘stopped’ or ‘preempted’ in order for other work to run because, historically, this results in losses of time and money. But that meant high priority workload was often left waiting for lower priority applications to cede use of the resources. The new Preemption feature allows users to set priorities on different work so that, if a higher priority application must use resources currently allocated to a lower priority application, the lower priority application will effectively be “paused” — not lost — and work will automatically resume once the higher priority application is completed.

What’s more, the new Preemption feature, when used with Universal Resource Broker, Univa’s enterprise-class services framework solution, allows users to access and optimize shared resources with unprecedented immediacy. This new utility will allow a user doing analysis on viewership of the Olympics, for example, to see the reach of their advertising campaign in real time. Formerly, if they were running multiple applications in a cluster, this could take days. Now, with the Preemption feature, they can pause everything and run that application immediately.

Among a handful of other new features added to Grid Engine 8.3.0 to improve the overall reliability and efficiency of the cluster, is the new Run Time Modification of Resources feature. Users who run applications in the cluster typically do not know how long their work needs to run, so they must guess. If they guess incorrectly, the work may be “killed” before completion. Now the Administrator can avoid this potential waste by changing how long the work needs to run in the cluster, while it’s running. The Run Time Modification of Resources feature means much more efficient use of cluster resources.

This is an important step forward and version 8.3 denotes that this is a major upgrade that only Univa can deliver as an upgrade to the open source Grid Engine users,” said Bryce. “Our new announcement is poised to have a major impact on performance computing and real world outcomes on how easily projects can be completed using a shared compute resource.”

Univa Grid Engine is the world’s most trusted workload optimization solution, enabling organizations to manage and optimize distributed applications, data center services, legacy applications and Big Data frameworks in a single, dynamically shared compute pool. It is the most widely deployed workload optimization solution, used today in more than 10,000 data centers across thousands of applications and use cases.


Univa Grid Engine 8.3.0 is available now and is in production in some of the world’s most demanding environments. For more information, contact Univa: sales@univa.com or stop by booth 1120 at ISC 2015 in Frankfurt, Germany.

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