MOAB to Slurm Migration Guide

In 2015, we migrated from the MOAB/Torque scheduler to the Slurm scheduler.  Below is a copy of our guide for archival purposes

MOAB to Slurm Migration Guide


In June of 2015, the RCC will replace our MOAB/Torque scheduler software with another product, Slurm. Refer to our news announcement for more information about the reason for the switch. The new scheduler will necessitiate major changes to your submission scripts and job management commands. This guide will provide most of the essential information needed to make the change.

'Queues' are now 'Partitions'

Slurm operates very similar to the way that MOAB/Torque worked. It is important, however, to understand a few key differences in the two platforms. Most importantly, Slurm refers to queues as partitions. Partitions operate the same way that queues did, and you will notice little difference when using them. Instead of submitting a job to a queue, you will simply submit it to a partition.

All of the queues that existed in MOAB (e.g. genacc_q, backfill_q, etc) will exist as partitions in Slurm with the same name, parameters, and resource allocations. The only exception to this is that we are combining the backfil and backfill2 queues into a single partition. Previously these two MOAB queues each allowed you to submit jobs to up to half of the nodes in our system. The new backfill Slurm partition will allow you to submit jobs to the entire cluster.

One new feature is the ability to specify multiple partitions when you submit a job. If you do this, Slurm will run your job on the first partition where resources become available with your specified parameters. Simply separate the partition names with commas when you submit your job, or in your submission script. For example:

# sbatch -p genacc_q,backfill   (comma separated, no spaces between)

Using the Slurm Test Cluster

We have provided a test cluster for your use. This will allow you to update and test your job submission scripts, and practice using job management commands to manage your HPC jobs. You can login to the test cluster at the following address:


This test cluster consists of one login node and ten compute nodes. All the basic scheduler functionality exists, and it mounts both Panasas and Lustre.

Cheat Sheet

We have developed a "cheet sheat" to assist in the transition from MOAB to Slurm. Please use this as a reference when updating your scripts and running commands.

View / Download the Cheat Sheet (PDF)

Updating Submission Scripts

You will need to update most of the parameters in your job submission scripts to use the new Slurm syntax. As an example, consider this MOAB script:

    #MOAB -N "letscountprimes"
    #MOAB -l nodes=1
    #MOAB -j oe
    #MOAB -q genacc_q
    #MOAB -m abe
    #MOAB -l walltime=00:00:15

The corresponding Slurm script will look like this:

    #SBATCH -J "letscountprimes"
    #SBATCH -n 1
    #SBATCH -o letscountprimes.o
    #SBATCH -p genacc_q
    #SBATCH --mail-type=ALL
    #SBATCH -t 15:00

Notice that the #MOAB directives are now #SBATCH. Also, $PBS_O_WORKDIR becomes $SLURM_SUBMIT_DIR. Parameter can have many options, and they are documented in the official Slurm documentation.

List of MOAB Parameters and Slurm Equivalents

The following table lists common MOAB parameters in submit scripts and their corresponding Slurm equivalents. Looking for something that's not listed here? Refer to the Slurm Rosetta Stone and the parameter list in the Slurm documentation.


Command/Variable MOAB/Torque Slurm
Script Directive #MOAB $SBATCH
Queue -q [queue_name] -p [partition_name]
_ Node Count -l nodes=[count] -N [min[-max]]
CPU Count -l ppn=[count] --ntasks-per-node [count]
Wall Clock Limit -l walltime=[hh:mm:ss] -t [days-hh:mm:ss]
Standard Output File -o [file_name] -o [file_name]
Standard Error File -e [file_name] -e [file_name]
Combine Error/Output FIle -j oe (use -o without -e)
Copy Environment -V --export[ ALL | NONE | vars...]
Event Notification (email) -m abe --mail-type=[ ALL | events...]
Custom Email Address -M [address] --mail-user=[address]
Job Name -N [name] -J [name]
Job Restart -r [y|n] --requeue _or_ --no-requeue
_ Memory Size -l mem=[MB] --mem=[mem][M|G|T]
Memory Size per CPU -l pmem=[MB] --mem-per-cpu=[mem][M|G|T]
Job Dependency -d [job_id] --depend=[state:job_id]
Begin Time -A "YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS" --begin=YYYY-MM-DD[THH:MM[:SS]]

Submitting and Managing Jobs

The commands that you use to submit and manage jobs on the HPC are different for Slurm than they were for MOAB. To submit jobs, you will now use the sbatch and srun commands. To check job status, you will most commonly use the squeue command.

For example, you may wish to submit a job and then check its status:

    $ # Submit a job
    $ sbatch
    $ Check job status for my running jobs
    $ squeue -u cam02h

List of Common MOAB Commands and Slurm Equivalents

The following table lists common MOAB commands and their Slurm Equivalents. For a comprehensive list, refer to the Slurm Documentation.

User Command MOAB/Torque Slurm
Submit a job msub [script_file] sbatch [script_file]
Cancel a job canceljob [job_id] scancel [job_id]
Cancel pending jobs for user canceljob ALL scancel -u [user_name] -t PENDING
Delete a job qdel [job_id scancel [job_id]
Show job status (by job) qstat [job_id] squeue -j [job_id]
Show job status (by owner) showq -u [user_name] squeue -u [user_name]
Show queue/partition status showq -q [queue_name] squeue -p [partition_name]

You can always get help for any command by using the --help flag, or more detailed information by typing man command_name. For example:

    $ scancel --help
    Usage: scancel [OPTIONS] [job_id[_array_id][.step_id]]
    -A, --account=account           act only on jobs charging this account
    -b, --batch                     signal batch shell for specified job
    -i, --interactive               require response from user for each job
    -n, --name=job_name             act only on jobs with this name
    -p, --partition=partition       act only on jobs in this partition
    -Q, --quiet                     disable warnings
    -q, --qos=qos                   act only on jobs with this quality of service
    -R, --reservation=reservation   act only on jobs with this reservation
    -s, --signal=name | integer     signal to send to job, default is SIGKILL
    -t, --state=states              act only on jobs in this state.  Valid job
    -u, --user=user_name            act only on jobs of this user
    -V, --version                   output version information and exit
    -v, --verbose                   verbosity level
    -w, --nodelist                  act only on jobs on these nodes
    --wckey=wckey               act only on jobs with this workload
    charactization key
    Help options:
    --help                          show this help message
    --usage                         display brief usage message

List of Slurm Job States

Similar to MOAB, Slurm jobs can have different states. Below is a table listing MOAB job states and their Slurm equivalents:

Job State MOAB/Torque Slurm Code Slurm Name Description
Pending idle PD PENDING Job is queued; waiting to run
Preempted deferred PR PREEMPTED Job terminated due to preemption
Configuring starting CF CONFIGURING Job has been allocated resources, but is waiting for them to become ready
Running running R RUNNING Job has allocation and is running.
Completing -no equivalent- CG COMPLETING Job is in the process of completing; some nodes may still be active
Completed completed CD COMPLETED Job has terminated all processes succesfully
Cancelled removed CA CANCELLED Job was explicitely cancelled by user or administrator before or during running.
Suspended suspended S SUSPENDED Job has allocation, but execution has been suspended.
Timeout removed TO TIMEOUT Job has reached its time limit (maximum allowable time limit per partition, or time limit specified by user upon submission).
Failed removed F FAILED Job terminated with non-zero exit code or other failure condition.
Node Failed vacated NF NODE_FAIL Job terminated dueo to failur of one or more allocated nodes.

Examples of Common Tasks

List partitions and their resources:

scontrol show partition

Show available resources to General Access partition jobs:

scontrol show partition genacc_q</pre>

Show all jobs running in the Backfill partition:

squeue -p genacc_q

Show all pending jobs in the General Access partition owned by user 'john':

squeue -u john -t PENDING

Suppose you submitted job with ID #123456. If the job is not running, you can check its future eligibiltiy:

scontrol show jobid -dd 123456

Cancel job with ID #123456:

scancel 123456

Getting Help and Troubleshooting

We understand that not all transitions will go smoothly. To help, RCC staff will provide one-on-one support for anybody who needs it when updating your scripts and worfklow. Simply submit a support ticket and let us know that you would like us to help.