Slurm global sync hook

Sarus also includes the source code for a hook specifically targeting the Slurm Workload Manager. This hook synchronizes the startup of containers launched through Slurm, ensuring that all Slurm nodes have spawned a container before starting the user-requested application in any of them. This kind of synchronization is useful, for example, when used in conjunction with the SSH hook: if the containers are not all available, some of them might try to establish connections with containers that have yet to start, causing the whole job step execution to fail.

When activated, the hook will retrieve information about the current Slurm job step and node by reading three environment variables: SLURM_JOB_ID, SLURM_NTASKS and SLURM_PROCID. The hook will then create a job-specific synchronization directory inside the Sarus local repository of the user. Inside the synchronization directory, two subdirectories will be created: arrival and departure. In the arrival directory each hook from a Slurm task will create a file with its Slurm process ID as part of the filename, then periodically check if files from all other Slurm tasks are present in the directory. The check is performed every 0.1 seconds. When all processes have signaled their arrival by creating a file, the hooks proceed to signal their departure by creating a file in the departure directory, and then exit the hook program. The hook associated with the Slurm process ID 0 waits for all other hooks to depart and then cleans up the synchronization directory.

The arrival/departure strategy has been implemented to prevent edge-case race conditions: for example, if the file from the last arriving hook is detected and the cleanup started before the last arriving hook has checked for the presence of all other files, this situation would result in the deadlock of the last arriving hook. Having all hooks signal their departure before cleaning up the synchronization directory avoids this problem.

Hook installation

The hook is written in C++ and it will be compiled when building Sarus without the need of additional dependencies. Sarus’s installation scripts will also automatically install the hook in the $CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX/bin directory. In short, no specific action is required to install the Slurm global sync hook.

Sarus configuration

The program is meant to be run as a prestart hook and does not accept any argument. The following environment variables must be defined:

  • HOOK_BASE_DIR: Absolute base path to the directory where the hook will create and access the synchronization files. The sync directory will be located in <HOOK_BASE_DIR>/<username>/.oci-hooks/slurm-global-sync.

  • PASSWD_FILE: Absolute path to a password file (PASSWD(5)). The file is used by the hook to retrieve the username of the user.

The following is an example of OCI hook JSON configuration file enabling the Slurm global sync hook:

    "version": "1.0.0",
    "hook": {
        "path": "/opt/sarus/bin/slurm_global_sync_hook",
        "env": [
    "when": {
        "annotations": {
            "^com.hooks.slurm-global-sync.enabled$": "^true$"
    "stages": ["prestart"]

Sarus support at runtime

The com.hooks.slurm-global-sync.enabled=true annotation that enables the hook is automatically generated by Sarus if the --ssh command line option is passed to sarus run to make sure that containers will not attempt to ssh into other containers that have yet to start.