How does the budget feature work?
The job budget feature is unique to Pixel Plow. From a high-level perspective, it enables a safeguard against cost overruns when rendering a job. For more details on how it works, read on.
Budgets can be defined on every job submitted to Pixel Plow. The job submission window allows users to enter whole US dollar amounts for our system to use as a budget for the job being submitted. Jobs with budgets defined will be suspended if the budget is exceeded, with an email indicating such immediately sent to the email address(es) defined on the job. It should be noted that the suspension will not interrupt currently rendering job slices. Those will be allowed to run to completion, unless the job is cancelled prior to that point. The reason we do this is for the scenarios where no frames of a job have completed yet, but the job goes over budget. We feel it’s important to indicate to the user how much the job is estimated to cost, as long as the user is willing to wait for the first frames of the job to complete. Both cost and time estimates for job completion are displayed in the queue viewer once one or more portions of the job complete, regardless of whether the job is over budget or not.
This gives users who have over budget jobs a better grasp of the situation, which we hope allows for better choices to be made. Should the user decide to cancel the job that is suspended due to budget, they will only be charged their budgeted amount worth of compute time. Output from the job that completed prior to going over budget will be delivered to the user’s machine, but any output that is created after going over budget will not be delivered until the budget is raised or removed. Obviously, if there is output available to be delivered on a budget-suspended job, but the user chooses to cancel the job, that output is deleted along with all the rest of the job data.
Managing budgets can be done via the queue viewer window. Select a job, and click “Change Budget” to open a new window. Here, a new budget can be defined, or the budget can be removed entirely by leaving the field blank. Obviously, entering a budget value less than what is already defined when a job is budget suspended will have no effect. When a budget is raised or removed, the job will immediately resume being scheduled on the farm.
Auto Power is another unique feature that interoperates with the Power level of the job and the Budget. Budgets are required for use with Auto Power, so if the Budget is removed on a job with Auto Power enabled, Auto Power is immediately disabled.