Install the LSF dispatcher


arvados-dispatch-lsf is only relevant for on premises clusters that will spool jobs to LSF. Skip this section if you use Slurm or if you are installing a cloud cluster.


Containers can be dispatched to an LSF cluster. The dispatcher sends work to the cluster using LSF’s bsub command, so it works in a variety of LSF configurations.

In order to run containers, you must choose a user that has permission to set up FUSE mounts and run Singularity/Docker containers on each compute node. This install guide refers to this user as the crunch user. We recommend you create this user on each compute node with the same UID and GID, and add it to the fuse and docker system groups to grant it the necessary permissions. However, you can run the dispatcher under any account with sufficient permissions across the cluster.

Set up all of your compute nodes with Docker or Singularity.

Current limitations:

  • Arvados container priority is not propagated to LSF job priority. This can cause inefficient use of compute resources, and even deadlock if there are fewer compute nodes than concurrent Arvados workflows.
  • Combining LSF with docker may not work, depending on LSF configuration and user/group IDs (if LSF only sets up the configured user’s primary group ID when executing the crunch-run process on a compute node, it may not have permission to connect to the docker daemon).

Update config.yml

Arvados-dispatch-lsf reads the common configuration file at /etc/arvados/config.yml.

Add a DispatchLSF entry to the Services section, using the hostname where arvados-dispatch-lsf will run, and an available port:

          "": {}

Review the following configuration parameters and adjust as needed.


arvados-dispatch-lsf uses sudo to execute bsub, for example sudo -E -u crunch bsub [...]. This means the crunch account must exist on the hosts where LSF jobs run (“execution hosts”), as well as on the host where you are installing the Arvados LSF dispatcher (the “submission host”). To use a user account other than crunch, configure BsubSudoUser:

        BsubSudoUser: lsfuser

Alternatively, you can arrange for the arvados-dispatch-lsf process to run as an unprivileged user that has a corresponding account on all compute nodes, and disable the use of sudo by specifying an empty string:

        # Don't use sudo
        BsubSudoUser: ""


When arvados-dispatch-lsf invokes bsub, you can add arguments to the command by specifying BsubArgumentsList. You can use this to send the jobs to specific cluster partitions or add resource requests. Set BsubArgumentsList to an array of strings. For example:

        BsubArgumentsList: ["-C", "0", "-o", "/tmp/crunch-run.%J.out", "-e", "/tmp/crunch-run.%J.err"]

Note that the default value for BsubArgumentsList uses the -o and -e arguments to write stdout/stderr data to files in /tmp on the compute nodes, which is helpful for troubleshooting installation/configuration problems. Ensure you have something in place to delete old files from /tmp, or adjust these arguments accordingly.


arvados-dispatch-lsf polls the API server periodically for new containers to run. The PollInterval option controls how often this poll happens. Set this to a string of numbers suffixed with one of the time units s, m, or h. For example:

      PollInterval: 10s

Containers.ReserveExtraRAM: Extra RAM for jobs

Extra RAM to reserve (in bytes) on each LSF job submitted by Arvados, which is added to the amount specified in the container’s runtime_constraints. If not provided, the default value is zero.

Supports suffixes KB, KiB, MB, MiB, GB, GiB, TB, TiB, PB, PiB, EB, EiB (where KB is 103, KiB is 210, MB is 106, MiB is 220 and so forth).

      ReserveExtraRAM: 256MiB

Containers.CrunchRunArgumentList: Using host networking for containers

Older Linux kernels (prior to 3.18) have bugs in network namespace handling which can lead to compute node lockups. This by is indicated by blocked kernel tasks in “Workqueue: netns cleanup_net”. If you are experiencing this problem, as a workaround you can disable use of network namespaces by Docker across the cluster. Be aware this reduces container isolation, which may be a security risk.

        - "-container-enable-networking=always"
        - "-container-network-mode=host"

Install arvados-dispatch-lsf

Red Hat and Centos

# yum install arvados-dispatch-lsf

Debian and Ubuntu

# apt-get install arvados-dispatch-lsf

Start the service

# systemctl enable --now arvados-dispatch-lsf
# systemctl status arvados-dispatch-lsf

If systemctl status indicates it is not running, use journalctl to check logs for errors:

# journalctl -n12 --unit arvados-dispatch-lsf

Restart the API server and controller

Make sure the cluster config file is up to date on the API server host then restart the API server and controller processes to ensure the configuration changes are visible to the whole cluster.

# systemctl restart nginx arvados-controller

Previous: Test Slurm dispatch Next: Configure container shell access

The content of this documentation is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States licence.
Code samples in this documentation are licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0.