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We are having a cluster, and on that cluster we have number of users, some users are important and some are temporary or not having that same importance.

Is it possible to assign users so that they can be restricted to use only the number of cores/CPUs allotted to them and not more than that?

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You typically can do this through the clustering software. – slm Oct 31 '13 at 5:24
It depends on exact type of the cluster you're using. – poige Oct 31 '13 at 6:35

The pam_limits.so module can help you somewhat.

It allows you to set certain limits on specific individual users and groups or wildcards or ranges of users and groups.

The limits you can set are typically ulimit settings but also on the number of concurrent login sessions, processes, CPU time, default priority and maximum priority (renice). Check the limits.conf man page for more.

For example you can configure your VIP users to have all their processes started with an increased default priority and if they are a bit more savy you can allow them to use the nice and renice commands to increase the priority of their important jobs manually as well.

# /etc/security/limits.conf
# increase prio for members of the faculty group
@faculty   hard priority -10
@faculty   hard nice     -15   

pam_limits are for a specific individual host and not cluster aware.

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