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Apache Aurora


Aurora is a multi-tenant system that can run jobs of multiple clients/tenants. Going beyond the resource isolation on an individual host, it is crucial to prevent those jobs from stepping on each others toes.

Job Namespaces

The namespace for jobs in Aurora follows a hierarchical structure. This is meant to make it easier to differentiate between different jobs. A job key consists of four parts. The four parts are <cluster>/<role>/<environment>/<jobname> in that order:

  • Cluster refers to the name of a particular Aurora installation.
  • Role names are user accounts.
  • Environment names are namespaces.
  • Jobname is the custom name of your job.

Role names correspond to user accounts. They are used for authentication, as the linux user used to run jobs, and for the assignment of quota. If you don’t know what accounts are available, contact your sysadmin.

The environment component in the job key, serves as a namespace. The values for environment are validated in the scheduler. By default allowing any of devel, test, production, and any value matching the regular expression staging[0-9]*. This validation can be changed to allow any arbitrary regular expression by setting the scheduler option allowed_job_environments.

None of the values imply any difference in the scheduling behavior. Conventionally, the “environment” is set so as to indicate a certain level of stability in the behavior of the job by ensuring that an appropriate level of testing has been performed on the application code. e.g. in the case of a typical Job, releases may progress through the following phases in order of increasing level of stability: devel, test, staging, production.

Configuration Tiers

Tier is a predefined bundle of task configuration options. Aurora schedules tasks and assigns them resources based on their tier assignment. The default scheduler tier configuration allows for 3 tiers:

  • revocable: The revocable tier requires the task to run with revocable resources.
  • preemptible: Setting the task’s tier to preemptible allows for the possibility of that task being preempted by other tasks when cluster is running low on resources.
  • preferred: The preferred tier prevents the task from using revocable resources and from being preempted.

Since it is possible that a cluster is configured with a custom tier configuration, users should consult their cluster administrator to be informed of the tiers supported by the cluster. Attempts to schedule jobs with an unsupported tier will be rejected by the scheduler.


In order to guarantee that important production jobs are always running, Aurora supports preemption.

Let’s consider we have a pending job that is candidate for scheduling but resource shortage pressure prevents this. Active tasks can become the victim of preemption, if:

  • both candidate and victim are owned by the same role and the priority of a victim is lower than the priority of the candidate.
  • OR a victim is a preemptible or revocable tier task and the candidate is a preferred tier task.

In other words, tasks from preferred tier jobs may preempt tasks from any preemptible or revocable job. However, a preferred task may only be preempted by tasks from preferred jobs in the same role with higher priority.

Aurora requires resource quotas for production non-dedicated jobs. Quota is enforced at the job role level and when set, defines a non-preemptible pool of compute resources within that role. All job types (service, adhoc or cron) require role resource quota unless a job has dedicated constraint set.

To grant quota to a particular role in production, an operator can use the command aurora_admin set_quota.