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Snakemake with Slurm

This page describes how to use Snakemake with Slurm.


  • This assumes that you have Miniconda properly setup with Bioconda.
  • Also it assumes that you have already activated the Miniconda base environment with source miniconda/bin/activate.

Environment Setup

We first create a new environment snakemake-slurm and activate it. We need the snakemake package and the drmaa Python library for interfacing with the SLURM scheduler via the DRMAA interface.

host:~$ conda create -y -n snakemake-slurm snakemake drmaa
# To activate this environment, use
#     $ conda activate snakemake-slurm
# To deactivate an active environment, use
#     $ conda deactivate
host:~$ conda activate snakemake-slurm
(snakemake-slurm) host:~$

Snakemake Workflow Setup

We create a workflow and ensure that it works properly with multi-threaded Snakemake (no cluster submission here!)

host:~$ mkdir -p snake-slurm
host:~$ cd snake-slurm
host:snake-slurm$ cat >Snakefile <<"EOF"
rule default:
    input: "the-result.txt"

rule mkresult:
    output: "the-result.txt"
    shell: r"sleep 1m; touch the-result.txt"
host:snake-slurm$ snakemake --cores=1
host:snake-slurm$ ls
Snakefile  the-result.txt
host:snake-slurm$ rm the-result.txt

Snakemake and 🎉 Slurm

It's really simple:

  1. unset the DRMAA_LIBRARY_PATH variable (that might be set and point to the SGE DRMAA library); you could set it to /usr/lib64/ but that would not be necessary, consider all mentions of it from ~/.bashrc.
  2. Use snakemake --drmaa " [params]" and use SLURM syntax here.
host:snake-slurm$ unset DRMAA_LIBRARY_PATH
host:snake-slurm$snakemake --drmaa " -t 05:00" --jobs 2
Building DAG of jobs...
Using shell: /usr/bin/bash
Provided cluster nodes: 2
Job counts:
        count   jobs
        1       default
        1       mkresult

[Wed Mar 25 23:06:01 2020]
rule mkresult:
    output: the-result.txt
    jobid: 1

Submitted DRMAA job 1 with external jobid 325.
[Wed Mar 25 23:07:11 2020]
Finished job 1.
1 of 2 steps (50%) done

[Wed Mar 25 23:07:11 2020]
localrule default:
    input: the-result.txt
    jobid: 0

[Wed Mar 25 23:07:11 2020]
Finished job 0.
2 of 2 steps (100%) done
Complete log: /fast/home/users/holtgrem_c/snake-slurm/.snakemake/log/2020-03-25T230601.353735.snakemake.log

Note that we sneaked in a sleep 1m? In a second terminal session, we can see that the job has been submitted to SLURM indeed.

host:~$ squeue  -u holtgrem_c
               325     debug snakejob holtgrem  R       0:47      1 med0127


The DRMAA interface to Slurm has a few limitations:

  • memory has to be given as an integer in the unit Megabytes (1024 * 1024 bytes) and as a plain number without unit,
  • running time has to be given as hh:mm.
  • --export is not supported by drmaa yet. The default of SLURM is --export=ALL (similar to -V for SGE).

A full list of supported parameters can be found in the officical documentation.

... that's all, folks!

Last update: January 6, 2022