User Guide

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If you have any questions, file HelpSU or ask on The modification date of this page is in the footer below.



  • The public-facing hostname is
  • Only SSH connections are allowed. This also includes SFTP.
    • Only SSH protocol v2 is supported.
    • SSH fingerprint for corn is
  • If you're behind a firewall, you may want to add "ServerKeepAliveInterval 60" or "ServerAliveInterval 60" to your SSH client's configuration.

Connecting from Windows

You will want to use an SSH client like one of these:

Connecting from OS X / Linux / other OS

You should probably just use the included SSH client. Stanford does provide an SSH GUI for OS X to help you track connection settings:

Logging In

You can log in via SSH using your SUNet ID credentials.

Moving files to/from the cluster

Since you can connect via SSH, you can use the rsync or sftp or scp commands to upload/download files to farmshare. On Windows, you can use software like FileZilla or WinSCP. On OS X users can use Cyberduck or Fetch, if you want a GUI. Linux and other unix like OS just use the included rsync, sftp or scp commands. Farmshare cannot be used for restricted or prohibited data (PHI, PII, etc.

Directory paths

Your AFS home directory is something like '/afs/ir/users/c/h/chekh/'. You'll need an AFS token to access this directory. This AFS filesystem has a snapshot from one day ago available in .backup

A shared scratch directory is /farmshare/user_data, and you get a /farmshare/user_data/username directory there, simply by logging in to any corn (a script will run and notice your login and create the directory within about 30min of your first farmshare login). /farmshare/user_data is NOT backed up. Space is limited, and the number of users is quite large, so we will have to implement quotas. This space is meant solely for use with active jobs running on Farmshare; it is not a repository or backup location for data.

There is also local scratch storage available on the compute nodes. The amount varies from ~70GB to ~500GB, depending on the node hardware. SGE will set the env vars $TMPDIR and $TMP to point to a directory like /tmp/$JOBID. Depending on your workload, it may be a good idea to copy input or reference data to the local scratch space on the node, and then copy the results back to your homedir. The /tmp directory is cleaned up the usual way via the OS.

Mounting your files elsewhere

Your AFS files can be accessed globally (literally), you just need the OpenAFS software installed. More info here:

You can make your /farmshare/user_data/ directory accessible directly from your workstation. Again, access is only allowed over SSH, so you can use something like SSHFS (via FUSE). One caveat is that SSHFS doesn't work with concurrent/parallel access, so this solution is only appropriate if you're not accessing files from several places at once. E.g. don't have cluster jobs write some files while you access the same files via SSHFS.

Windows: you can try ExpanDrive (used to be SFTPDrive), $39, or WebDrive, $60, or Docan (Free Software).

OS X: try OSXFUSE, or ExpanDrive (above)

Linux: you can use sshfs, e.g. on Debian (and derivatives):

  • Install: apt-get install sshfs
  • Mount: sshfs host:/mount/point /mount/point
  • Unmount: fusermount -u /mount/point

We also installed sshfs on the FarmShare machines, so you can mount files from your machines (which are accessible via SSH).

Data Limits

Your AFS homedir is limited to 5GB of quota. You can request more space (temporarily) here:

Use 'fs quota' to see your utilization, or run the command 'check-stanford-afs-quota'. You may want to do something like the following command, which will generate a timestamped file in your homedir with the sizes of your directories. This command may take a while to run, as it will stat every single file in your homedir.

 du --exclude .backup -sh * | sort -h | tee ~/`pwd | tr '/' '_'`.du.`date +%Y-%m-%d`

Your /farmshare/user_data directory is intended for data currently in use for codes you are actively running on Farmshare. It is not a data repository nor a location to use as a backup for other systems. And /farmshare/user_data is NOT backed up. As space is quite limited, and there are some thousands of active Farmshare users, we will have to implement quotas in the near future. Your usage should always be less than 1 TB.

Installed Software

Most software is installed on these systems via the package manager (e.g. dpkg -l). Older licensed software is installed in AFS (typically /usr/sweet/bin). Newer software is managed by the module command. If there's any software you'd like, just let us know, and we can probably install it.

Running jobs on the cluster

We use Grid Engine (used to be Sun Grid Engine (SGE)). There are three types of jobs: interactive, batch and parallel. You can start by reading the man page for 'sge_intro'. Then the man page for 'qsub'. We currently have a limit of 3000 jobs (running and/or queued) per user. We don't currently allow interactive jobs on the barleys because you can run interactive tasks on the corns. Job scheduling uses simple fairshare (modified by resource requirements).

Make sure you have your kerberos credentials before submitting jobs or else they will not be able to access your files in AFS.

Running batch jobs

Use 'qsub'. This will allocate one slot on the cluster. See the bottom of the qsub man page for an example. Google 'SGE qsub' for more help.

Check how much memory your job uses. You can run just one job and see its peak memory usage after it's done. The standard barley node is 24 cores and 96GB RAM, so you shouldn't use more than 4GB/core. Make sure your submitted job doesn't use too much memory or it can crash the node.

Running array jobs

For jobs that vary only by one parameter, it is easier to submit an "array" job to reduce the amount of output in qstat. If you want to be a good citizen and you're submitting an array job with thousands of tasks, you may want to limit how many tasks you run simultaneously, using the -tc parameter to qsub.

Running parallel jobs

Use 'qsub' with the '-pe' parameter. Using the '-pe' parameter allows you to request more than one slot per job. We have several different "parallel environments" defined, they differ in how the slots are allocated. If you want your slots on the same node, use '-pe fah'. If you want your slots spread across nodes, use '-pe orte'. Use 'qconf -sp orte' to see the settings, and 'man sge_pe' for more info.

Running OpenMPI jobs

See OpenMPI, contact farmshare-discuss with any questions.

job duration

There's a 48 hour limit on jobs in the regular queue, 15 min in the test queue and 7 days in long queue. You can use '-l h_rt=xx:xx:xx' to tell the scheduler how long your job will run, and your job will be killed if it hits that time limit. Your job will make it into the long queue if and only if you request "-l longq=1". Your job will be killed (sent SIG_KILL) when you reach the h_rt limit that you set for yourself.

So the longest job that you can submit currently is 7 days, use "-l h_rt=168:00:00". But you should submit jobs less than 48hrs long, because there are many more regular job slots than long job slots.

When jobs fail, you typically have to re-run them. So try to split them into many small chunks (but not too many).

checking on your jobs

Use the qstat command to check on your currently pending/running jobs. Use the '-M' flag to qsub to have the system e-mail you about your job if you want. Look through your output files for output of the job stdout and stderr streams. Use the qacct command on machine senpai2 (because that's where the accounting file lives) to see some information about jobs that already finished, e.g. qacct -j JOBID. If there is no record of the job in qacct, that means it didn't get written to the accounting file, which means it failed in an unusual way. Look at your output files to see what the error was.

I usually look at the unfriendly output of this command:

 qstat -f -u '*'

You can look at some slighly more friendly job status output. Try this script to see current memory usage per job:

 /farmshare/user_data/chekh/qmem/qmem -u 

Or this pie chart (give it a minute or two to self-update)

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