16/KVS Job Schema

This specification describes the format of data stored in the KVS for Flux jobs.




Jim Garlick <garlick@llnl.gov>




The key words “MUST”, “MUST NOT”, “REQUIRED”, “SHALL”, “SHALL NOT”, “SHOULD”, “SHOULD NOT”, “RECOMMENDED”, “MAY”, and “OPTIONAL” in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.


Components that use the KVS job schema

Instance components have direct, read/write access to the primary KVS namespace:

  • Ingest agent

  • Job manager

  • Exec service

  • Scheduler

Guest components have direct, read/write access to a private KVS namespace:

  • Job shell

  • User tasks

  • Command line tools

Job Life Cycle

A job is submitted to the ingest agent which validates jobspec, adds the job to the KVS, and informs the job manager of the new job. Upon success, the jobid is returned to the user. The job manager then takes the active role in moving a job through its life cycle:

  1. If a job has dependencies, interacting with a job dependency subsystem to ensure they are met before proceeding.

  2. Submitting an allocation request to the scheduler to obtain resources.

  3. Once resources are allocated, submitting a start request to the exec service.

  4. The exec service starts job shells directly in a single-user instance. In a multi-user instance, it directs the IMP to start them with guest credentials, with appropriate containment.

  5. The job shell examines jobspec and allocated resource set, then launches tasks on local resources. It provides standard I/O, parallel bootstrap, signal propagation, and exit code collection services. It is a user-replaceable component.

  6. Once tasks exit, or an exceptional condition such as cancellation or expiration of wall clock allocation occurs, the exec service cleans up any lingering tasks and job shells, and notifies the job manager which frees resources back to the scheduler.

The job is now complete.


Primary KVS Namespace

The Flux instance has a default, shared namespace that is accessible only by the instance owner.

All job data is stored under a jobs directory in the primary namespace. Each job has a directory under job.<jobid>, where <jobid> is a unique sequence number assigned by the ingest agent. Jobs listed in the jobs directory may need to be periodically archived and purged to keep its size manageable in long-running instances.

Guest KVS Namespace

A guest-writable KVS namespace is created by the exec service for the use of the job shell and the application. While the job is active, this namespace is linked from job.<jobid>.guest in the primary KVS namespace. While linked, it can be changed by the guest components without impacting performance of the primary namespace, while still being accessible through the link in the primary namespace.

When the job transitions to inactive, the final snapshot of the guest namespace content is linked by the exec service into the primary namespace, and the guest namespace is destroyed.

Access to Primary Namespace by Guest Users

Guests may access data in the primary KVS namespace only through instance services that allow selective guest access, by proxy or by staging copies to the guest namespace.

Guest access for primary namespace contents R, J, jobspec, and eventlog is provided via a proxy service in the instance.

Event Log

Active jobs undergo change represented as events that are recorded under the key job.<jobid>.eventlog. A KVS append operation is used to add events to this log.

Each append consists of a string matching the format described in RFC 18.

Content Produced by Ingest Agent

A user submits J with attached signature, as described in RFC 15.

The ingest agent validates J and if accepted, populates the KVS with:


signed user request token for passing to IMP in a multi-user instance.


jobspec in JSON form, as described in RFC 14


eventlog described above

The ingest agent logs one event to the eventlog:

submit userid=UID urgency=N

job was submitted, with authenticated userid and urgency (0-31)

Content Consumed/Produced by Job Manager

Upon notification of a new job.<jobid>, the job manager takes the active role in moving a job through its life cycle, and logs events to the eventlog as described in RFC 21.

When the job manager is restarted, it recovers its state by scanning jobs and replaying the eventlog for each job found there.

Content Consumed/Produced by Scheduler

When the scheduler receives an allocation request containing a jobid, it reads the jobspec from job.<jobid>.jobspec.

The scheduler allocates resources by writing a resource set as described in RFC 20 to job.<jobid>.R and answering the allocation request.

The scheduler frees resources by answering the free request, leaving R in place for job provenance. During a restart, the job manager uses the eventlog to determine whether R is currently allocated.

Content Consumed/Produced by Exec Service

When the exec system receives a start request containing a jobid, it reads the job.<jobid>.R and job.<jobid>.jobspec and uses this information to launch job shells and subsequently tasks.

The exec system creates the job’s guest namespace and links it to job.<jobid>.guest. Its initial contents are populated with


An eventlog for the use of job shells, TBD.

Once all job shells have exited and all outstanding writes to the guest namespace have stopped, the exec system links the guest namespace into the primary KVS namespace before notifying the job manager that the job is finished.

Content Produced/Consumed by Other Instance Services

Other services not mentioned in this RFC MAY store arbitrary data associated with jobs under the job.<jobid>.data.<service> directory, where <service> is a name unique to the service producing the data. For example, a job tracing service may store persistent trace data under the job.<jobid>.data.trace directory.

Content Consumed/Produced by Other Guest Services

Other guest services not mentioned in this RFC MAY store service-specific data in the guest KVS namespace under <service>, where <service> is a name unique to the service producing the data.

Content Consumed/Produced by the Application

The application MAY store application-specific data in the guest KVS namespace under application.

Content Consumed/Produced by Tools

Tools such as parallel debuggers, running as the guest, MAY store data in the guest KVS namespace under tools.<name>, where <name> is a name unique to the tool producing the data.