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DRBD Xen LVM2 Heartbeat Ubuntu Gutsy HowTo
Hi all.

I'm planning on posting this at HowToForge, but first I would greatly
appreciate feedback, comments, suggestions, and testing from the
members of the DRBD-User list. Thanks in advance.

******** Begin HowTo **********

This HowTo explains the setup of a redundant and highly available Xen
cluster using DRBD amd Heartbeat atop Ubuntu Server 7.10 (Gutsy).
After following these steps, you should have a configuration where, if
one node has to go down, the other node will take over the Xen virtual
machines (VMs) with no downtime thanks to live migration. No SAN, no
hefty license fees, no clustering filesystem required at all!

0. Pre-Requisites

You will need two servers (physical hardware boxes, not virtual
servers) with at least two NICs. One NIC connects to the network and
the other has a crossover cable directly linking to the peer server.
Preferably, these boxes should have multi-core processors from AMD or
Intel with vrtualization hardware built-in.

You'll also need the Ubuntu Server 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon ISO image burned
on a CD for the OS install to bare metal.

1. The Operating System - Ubuntu Server 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon"

Follow the steps in the HowTo "The Perfect Server - Ubuntu Gutsy
Gibbon (Ubuntu 7.10)" up to step 9 on page 3 to have a minimal base
Gutsy server running on your two hardware nodes.

I'll call one node aragorn and the other legolas. aragorn has eth0
with IP and eth1 with IP . legolas has eth0 with and eth1 with . On both nodes, eth0 is the
network NIC and eth1 is the crossover cable NIC.

2. Prepare the Base System and Build Environment

sudo apt-get update
sudo aptitude update
sudo apt-get install flex build-essential bridge-utils iproute udev \
libssl-dev libx11-dev zlib1g-dev gettext lvm2 heartbeat-2 openssl \
libncurses-dev libc6-xen mercurial gawk
cd ~
mkdir src
cd src
hg clone
hg clone
tar -xzf drbd-8.2.5.tar.gz

3. Build and Install Xen

cd xen-3.2-testing.hg
make xen
make kernels
make tools

You could modify the xen kernel configs to suit special hardware needs by doing

make linux-2.6-xen-config CONFIGMODE=menuconfig
make linux-2.6-xen-build

and for Dom0 and DomU

make linux-2.6-xen0-config CONFIGMODE=menuconfig
make linux-2.6-xen0-build
make linux-2.6-xenU-config CONFIGMODE=menuconfig
make linux-2.6-xenU-build

then run the first set of make commands shown above. Finally, install Xen.

sudo make install-xen
sudo make install-kernels
sudo make install-tools

4. Fine Tuning for the New Kernel

cd /lib/modules
sudo depmod
sudo mkinitramfs -o /boot/initrd.img-2.6-xen

You may get some strange messages after the mkinitramfs but everything
should still work fine. Now edit your GRUB boot loader.

sudo vi /boot/grub/menu.lst

and add the Xen kernel stanza (sample shown , modify to reflect your setup)

title Xen 3.2.1 / XenLinux 2.6
kernel /xen.gz console=vga
module /vmlinuz- root=/dev/sda2 ro console=tty0
module /initrd.img-2.6-xen

5. Configure the Xen Hypervisor

You need to modify the main xend configuration script to attach Xen's
bridge to the right Ethernet device, configure relocation (live
migration) settings, and control Dom0 cpu settings.

sudo vi /etc/xen/xend-config.sxp

Here are my relevant lines from the file

(dom0-cpus 2)
(network-script 'network-bridge netdev=eth0')
(xend-relocation-server yes)
(xend-relocation-port 8002)
(xend-relocation-address '')
(xend-relocation-hosts-allow '^$ ^localhost$

Note that last entry goes all in one line.

6. Reboot and Test Xen

sudo reboot

[...cross fingers, breath, wait...]

sudo /etc/init.d/xend start
sudo xm list -v

You should see how Dom0 is only using the number of cpus you specified
in the config file. To pin Dom0 to only use specific CPUs (cores) you
can run

sudo xm vcpu-pin 0 0 0
sudo xm vcpu-pin 0 1 0

You can add these commands to your /etc/rc.local to pin the CPUs at each boot.

7. Build and install DRBD

We build DRBD as a kernel module with

cd ~/src/drbd-8.2.5/drbd
sudo make clean all
cd ..
sudo make install

Maybe this is optional, but just in case:

cd /lib/modules
sudo depmod
sudo rm /boot/initrd.img-2.6-xen
sudo mkinitramfs -o /boot/initrd.img-2.6-xen

8. Configure Low-level Storage (LVM2)

First you need a big disk or partition to serve as base for your LVM2

sudo fdisk /dev/sda

Create a partition and set its type to 8e (Linux LVM). You may need to
reboot after this step.

Create a Physical Volume, Volume Group, and Logical Volumes for the
test virtual machine.

sudo pvcreate /dev/sda4
sudo vgcreate vgxen /dev/sda4
sudo lvcreate -n vm1hd -L 4G vgxen
sudo lvcreate -n vm1sw -L 2G vgxen

You can view LVM details with the pvdisplay, vgdisplay, and lvdisplay commands.

9. Configure DRBD

The file /etc/drbd.conf is the main configuration file for DRBD and
should be identical on both nodes. Here's a sample:

global {
usage-count yes;
common {
protocol C;
syncer { rate 100M; }
net {
after-sb-0pri discard-younger-primary;
after-sb-1pri consensus;
after-sb-2pri call-pri-lost-after-sb;
cram-hmac-alg sha1;
shared-secret "DRBDRocks";
handlers {
pri-on-incon-degr "echo o > /proc/sysrq-trigger ; halt -f";
pri-lost-after-sb "echo o > /proc/sysrq-trigger ; halt -f";
resource vm1hd {
device /dev/drbd0;
disk /dev/vgxen/vm1hd;
meta-disk internal;
on ironman {
on daredevil {
resource vm1sw {
device /dev/drbd1;
disk /dev/vgxen/vm1sw;
meta-disk internal;
on ironman {
on daredevil {

There; That wasn't that bad, was it? ;) Remember to have this same
file on both nodes.

10. Starting up DRBD and Initializing the Resources

As all steps before, but especially important to have some synchronous
actions from now on, on both nodes run (you may need to answer yes if

sudo /etc/init.d/drbd start
sudo drbdadm create-md vm1hd
sudo drbdadm create-md vm1sw
sudo drbdadm up vm1hd
sudo drbdadm up vm1sw


sudo drbdadm -- --overwrite-data-of-peer primary vm1hd
sudo drbdadm -- --overwrite-data-of-peer primary vm1sw

To check the initial synchronization you can run:

sudo cat /proc/drbd

Even though synchronization may still be incomplete, you can use the
resources right away.

11. Setup and Start a Xen Virtual Machine (a.k.a. guest or DomU)

sudo mkfs.ext3 /dev/drbd0
sudo mkswap /dev/drbd1
sudo mount /dev/drbd0 /mnt

Now you can install your OS of choice to /mnt . I used debootstrap to
install a Gutsy VM. After whih you can:

sudo umount /mnt

Create a config file for the new VM. Here's a sample in /etc/xen/vm1.sxp

name = "vm1"
kernel = "/boot/vmlinuz-"
ramdisk = "/boot/initrd.img-2.6-xen"
root = "/dev/sda1 ro"
memory = 1024
disk = ['drbd:vm1hd,sda1,w','drbd:vm1sw,sda2,w']
vcpus = 1
cpus = "2,3"

# Network.
hostname = "vm1"
vif = ['mac=YOUR_MAC_HERE']
dhcp = "off"
ip = ""
netmask = ""
gateway = ""
extra = 'xencons=tty'

Note the usage of DRBD backed Virtual Block Devices (VBDs) on the line
beginning with "disk=" . This is the key to the live migration Black
Magic! The VM is also restricted to run on CPUs 2 and 3 only and n
decides where to run it depending on load.

And to start the VM automatically at each boot:

cd /etc/xen/auto
sudo ln -s ../vm1.sxp

Boot it up! ON PRIMARY NODE:

sudo xm create -c /etc/xen/auto/vm1.sxp

Use Ctrl+] to exit the guest console and to view the status of Xen
with the new VM running:

sudo xm list -v


sudo xm top

12. Setup Heartbeat for High Availability

As the Heartbeat docs state, you need three files to make it all work.
The file is different on each node since it contains reciprocal
settings that are specific to each machine's configuration. The
remaining two files (authkeys and haresources) are identical on both
nodes. Here's a sample /etc/ha.d/ file:

autojoin none
auto_failback off
ucast eth2
ucast eth1
warntime 5
deadtime 15
initdead 60
keepalive 2
node aragorn
node legolas

And the /etc/ file which has only two lines:

auth 1

You can generate the SHA1 HASH with:

dd if=/dev/urandom bs=512 count=1 | openssl md5

The authkeys file should be chmod 0600 and chown root:root for
Heartbeat to be happy. It should list like this in ls -l :

-rw------- 1 root root [...snip...] /etc/ha.d/authkeys

And the haresources file has only one short line:

aragorn xenpeer

Here, we have aragorn as the preferred primary for the xenpeer service
(more on that below), but this isn't a crucial issue since we are not
using auto failback. The xenpeer service mentioned here is a custom
script I had to develop since the xendomains init script supplied with
the Xen 3.2.1 distribution wasn't handling live migration correctly.
(It was leaving both nodes primary with the VMs running on both at the
same time!) I also tried dopd but it was rebooting both nodes when I
stopped Heartbeat on one of them. Maybe my mistake somewhere, but as
any old sysadmin would tell you, I don't have much time to investigate
further and knew a custom script would do the trick.

Here's the /etc/ha.d/resource.d/xenpeer script:


if [ `uname -n` = $NODE2 ] ; then PEER=$NODE1 ; fi

case $1 in
echo -n "Migrating to $PEER : "
for i in `xm list | awk '(FNR > 2) {print $1}'` ;
echo -n "($i) . "
xm migrate --live $i $PEER
echo ""
for i in /etc/xen/auto/* ;
ping -c 1 -nq `dig +short $(basename $i .sxp).$DOMAIN` >
/dev/null 2>&1 \
&& DEAD=0
if [ $DEAD -eq 1 ]; then xm create $i ; fi
xm list

exit 0

I doubt this is the best init script to do this, but it works for the
simple scenarios and recommendations are always welcome. ;)

13. Start Heartbeat on Both Nodes

Try to do this almost simultaneously on both nodes:

sudo /etc/init.d/heartbeat start

And to make sure Heartbeat starts at boot:

sudo update-rc.d heartbeat defaults

14. The Moment of Truth

You can test the live migration failover with some simple steps. Log
in via SSH to your Xen VM (vm1 in this case) and run an interactive
application like top. Then, on the node that's currently primary and
is running the VM, execute:

sudo /etc/init.d/heartbeat stop

The VM will migrate over to the other node and you should be still
connected to your session and top still running as before. It's magic,
and it's FREE LIBRE OPEN SOURCE magic! "Look Ma', No SAN, No ESX, No
Clustered Filesystem!"

Enjoy. It's all good. =)

****** End HowTo ******
José E. Colón Rodríguez
Academic Computing Coordinator
University of Puerto Rico at Cayey
V: (787)-738-2161 x. 2415 , 2532
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