Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

We're considering using Sun Grid Engine on a small compute cluster. Right now, the current set up is pretty crude and just involves having people ssh to an open machine to run their jobs.

We'd like to allow interactive jobs, since that should ease the transition from manually starting jobs to starting them using qsub. But, there is some concern that, if we do, people might accidentally leave their interactive sessions idle and block other jobs from being run on the machines. The issue isn't just theoretical, since we previously tried using OpenPBS and there was a problem with people opening up an interactive job in a screen session and essentially camping on a machine.

Is there anyway to configure SGE to automatically kill idle interactive jobs? It looks like this was requested as an enhancement (Issue #:2447) way back in 2007. But, it doesn't seem like the request ever got implemented.

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You could set SGE to have a reasonable default walltimes (h_rt) to terminate sessions after a predefined limit.

Have you tried getting the user's shell to timeout on idle? More information and examples at

share|improve this answer

nayrmil has some good suggestions. Another option would be to limit which machines can run interactive jobs. We basically designate some nodes as "interactive" and put a queue on them that oversubscribes the node resources, so many users can log in at once. The users can basically camp there as long as they want, but if they want to get access to some real resources they need to submit a proper job.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.