At the core of distributed execution lies the concept of execution queues.
An execution queue is a "processor" of jobs; it controls how job instances run. In order to run, every job is assigned to a target execution queue. You can assign a job to an execution queue while configuring the job, and it will be submitted to that execution queue at runtime. The queue controls how many job instances (of all the jobs assigned to the queue) can be running at any one time, the delay between runs, and other settings. Queues can be local to the job, or shared by multiple jobs. When multiple jobs are assigned to the same execution queue, they will share that queue for executing.
Shared queues provide a flexible mechanism to control server load either on a single FlowForce machine, or when multiple FlowForce Server instances run as a cluster. Configuring load balancing is a multi-step process:
|1.||First, you create a queue from a dedicated page, similar to how you would create other FlowForce configuration data, such as credentials or jobs.|
|2.||For each queue, you define its processing settings. For example, you can configure a queue to run only on master, only on workers, or both. It is also possible to define basic fallback criteria. For instance, a queue may be configured to run by default on master and all its workers; however, if all workers become unavailable, the queue will fall back to master only.|
|3.||Edit the configuration of each job and assign the job into the custom queue created previously.|
Queues benefit from the same security access mechanism as other FlowForce Server configuration objects. Namely, a user must have the "Define execution queues" privilege in order to create queues, see also How Privileges Work. In addition, users can view queues, or assign jobs to queues, only if they have appropriate container permissions (not the same as privileges), see also How Permissions Work. By default, any authenticated user gets the "Queue - Use" permission, which means they can assign jobs to queues. To restrict access to queues, navigate to the container where the queue is defined, and change the permission of the container to "Queue - No access" for the role authenticated. Next, assign the permission "Queue - Use" to any specific roles or users that you need. For more information, see Restricting Access to the /public Container.
To create a queue:
|1.||Click Configuration, and then navigate to the container where you want to create the queue.|
|2.||Click Create, and then Create Queue.|
|3.||Enter a queue name, and, optionally, a description. For reference to other settings, see "Queue settings" below.|
The settings available for configuration in a queue are listed below.
Specifies how all job instances from this queue are to be run:
Minimum time between runs
An execution queue provides execution slots, where the number of available slots is governed by the "maximum parallel instances" setting multiplied by the number of workers assigned according to the currently active rule. Each slot will execute job instances sequentially.
The "Minimum time between runs" setting keeps a slot marked as occupied for a short duration after a job instance has finished, so it will not pick up the next job instance right away. This reduces maximum throughput for this execution queue, but provides CPU time for other execution queues and other processes on the same machine.
Maximum parallel runs
This option defines the number of times the same job may be executed in parallel on the server.
Parallel processing depends on the number of server cores available to FlowForce Server. For example, if you set this value to 12 and only two server cores is licensed, 12 jobs will appear as running in parallel; however, only two jobs will make progress at any given time.
You can define multiple sets of queue settings, each with different processing requirements, by clicking the button. To change the priority of a specific set of settings (let's call it "rule"), click the Move up or Move down buttons. For example, you can define a rule for the case when only master is available, and another rule for the case when both the master and workers are available. This enables you to create a fallback mechanism for the queue, depending on the state of the cluster at a given time. When processing queues, FlowForce Server constantly monitors the state of the cluster and "knows" if any worker is unavailable. So, if you defined multiple queue settings rules, FlowForce Server evaluates them in the defined order, top to bottom, and picks the first rule that has at least one cluster member assigned according to "run".
As an example, let's consider a setup where the cluster includes one master and four worker machines. The queue settings are defined as shown below:
With the configuration illustrated above, FlowForce would process the queue as follows, depending on the current state of the cluster:
|•||If all workers are available, the top rule matches and will be applied. Namely, up to 16 job instances are permitted to run simultaneously (4 instances for each worker). The minimum time between runs is 0 seconds.|
|•||If only three workers are available, the top rule still matches. Namely, up to 12 job instances are permitted to run simultaneously, and the minimum time between runs is 0 seconds.|
|•||If no workers are available, the second rule matches and will be applied. Namely, up to 1 instance is permitted to run simultaneously, and the minimum time between runs is 5 seconds.|
This kind of configuration makes execution still possible in the absence of workers. Notice that the "master only" rule is a bit more strict (1 instance only, and 5 seconds delay between runs) so as not to take away too much processing power from the master machine when all workers fail.
Assigning jobs into queues
Once you have configured the queue, the next step is to edit the configuration of each job that you want to assign to this queue. You will find the queue settings in the job configuration page, in the "Queue Settings" group:
|Note:||If you select Define local queue, FlowForce Server will assign, at job runtime, instances of this job into a default queue, with the local settings you specify, see also Defining Queue Settings. Local queues do not support distributed processing. The queue must be created standalone (external to the job) in order to benefit from distributed processing.|
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