Virtual Machines High Availability

The goal of this section is to provide information to prepare for failures of the Virtual Machines or Hosts and to recover from them. These failures are categorized depending on whether they come from the physical infrastructure (Host failures) or from the virtualized infrastructure (VM crashes). In both scenarios, OpenNebula provides a cost-effective failover solution to minimize downtime from server and OS failures.

Host Failures

When OpenNebula detects that a Host is down, a hook can be triggered to deal with the situation. OpenNebula comes out-of-the-box with a script that can act as a hook to be triggered when a host enters the ERROR state. This can very useful to limit the downtime of a service due to a hardware failure, since it can redeploy the VMs on another host.

To set up this Host hook to be triggered in the ERROR state, you need to create it using the following template and command:

$ cat /usr/share/one/examples/host_hooks/error_hook

COMMAND   = "ft/host_error.rb"
NAME      = "host_error"
REMOTE    = "no"
TYPE      = state

$ onehook create /usr/share/one/examples/host_hooks/error_hook

We are defining a host hook, named host_error, that will execute the script ft/host_error.rb locally with the following arguments:

Argument Description
$TEMPLATE Template of the object, which triggered the hook. In XML format, base64 encoded.

This defines the action to be performed upon the VMs that were running in the host that went down.

This can be:

  • -m migrate VMs to another host. Only for images on shared storage (NFS, Ceph, …)
  • -r delete and recreate VMs running in the host. Their state will be lost!
  • -d delete VMs running in the host
Force Suspended -f force resubmission of suspended VMs
Avoid Transient -p <n> avoid resubmission if host comes back after <n> monitoring cycles

More information on hooks here.


Note that spurious network errors may lead to a VM being started twice on different hosts and possibly clashing on shared resources. The previous script needs to fence the error host to prevent split brain VMs. You may use any fencing mechanism for the host and invoke it within the error hook.

Continue with Troubleshooting guide to understand how to recover failed VMs.