[Pacemaker] Two-Nodes Cluster fencing : Best Practices

Digimer lists at alteeve.ca
Thu Jul 25 16:53:27 CEST 2013

With two-node clusters, quorum can't be used. This is fine *if* you have 
good fencing. If the nodes partition (ie: network failure), both will 
try to fence the other. In theory, the faster node will power off the 
other node before the slower node can kill the faster node. In practice, 
this isn't always the case.

IPMI (and iDRAC, etc) are independent devices. So it is possible for 
both nodes to initiate a power-down on the other before either dies. To 
avoid this, you will want to set a delay for the primary/active node's 
fence primitive.

Say "node1" is your active node and "node2" is your backup. You would 
set a delay of, say, 15 seconds against "node1". Now if there is a 
partition, node1 would look up how to fence node2 and immediately 
initiate power off. Node 2, however, would look up how to fence node1, 
see a 15 second delay, and start a timer before calling the power-off. 
Of course, node2 will die before the timer expires.

You can also disabled acpid on the nodes, too. With that disabled, 
"pressing the power button" will result in a near-instant off. If you do 
this, reducing your delay to 5 seconds would probably be plenty.

There is another issue to be aware of; "Fence loops". The problem with 
two node clusters and not using quorum is that a single node can fence 
the other. So lets continue our example above...

Node 2 will eventually reboot. If you have pacemaker set to start on 
boot, it will start, wait to connect to node1 (which it can't because 
the network failure remains), call a fence to put node1 into a known 
state, pause for 15 seconds and then initiate a power off. Node 1 dies 
and the services recover on Node 2. Now, node1 boots back up, starts 
it's pacemaker.... Endless loop of fence -> recover until the network is 

To avoid this, simple do not start pacemaker on boot.

As to the specifics, you can test fencing configurations easily by 
directly calling the fence agent at the command line. I do not use DRAC, 
so I can't speak to specifics. I think you need to set lanplus and 
possibly define the console prompt to expect.

Using a generic IPMI as an example;

fence_ipmilan -a -l ipmiuser -p ipmipwd -o status
fence_ipmilan -a -l ipmiuser -p ipmipwd -o status

If this returns the power state, then it is simple to convert to a 
pacemaker config.

configure primitive pStN1 stonith:fence_ipmilan params \
  ipaddr= login=ipmiuser passwd=ipmipwd delay=15 \
  op monitor interval=60s
configure primitive pStN2 stonith:fence_ipmilan params \
  ipaddr= login=ipmiuser passwd=ipmipwd \
  op monitor interval=60s

Again, I *think* you need to set a couple extra options for DRAC. 
Experiment at the command line before moving to the pacemaker config. 
Once you have the command line version working, you should be able to 
set it up in pacemaker. If you have trouble though, share the CLI call 
and we can help with the pacemaker config.

On 25/07/13 05:39, Bruno MACADRÉ wrote:
> Some modifications about my first mail :
> After some researches I found that external/ipmi isn't available on my
> system, so I must use fence-agents.
> My second question must be modified to relfect this changes like this :
>      configure primitive pStN1 stonith:fence_ipmilan params
> ipaddr= login=ipmiuser passwd=ipmipwd
>      configure primitive pStN2 stonith:fence_ipmilan params
> ipaddr= login=ipmiuser passwd=ipmipwd
> Regards,
> Bruno
> Le 25/07/2013 10:39, Bruno MACADRÉ a écrit :
>> Hi,
>>     I've just made a two-nodes Active/Passive cluster to have an iSCSI
>> Failover SAN.
>>     Some details about my configuration :
>>         - I've two nodes with 2 bonds : 1 for DRBD replication and 1
>> for communication
>>         - iSCSI Target, iSCSI Lun and VirtualIP are constraints
>> together to start on Master DRBD node
>>     All work fine, but now, I need to configure fencing. I've 2 DELL
>> PowerEdge servers with iDRAC6.
>>     First question, is 'external/drac5' compatible with iDrac6 (I've
>> read all and nothing about this...) ?
>>     Second question, is that configuration sufficient (with ipmi) ?
>>         configure primitive pStN1 stonith:external/ipmi hostname=node1
>> ipaddr= userid=ipmiuser passwd=ipmipwd interface=lan
>>         configure primitive pStN2 stonith:external/ipmi hostname=node2
>> ipaddr= userid=ipmiuser passwd=ipmipwd interface=lan
>>         location lStN1 pStN1 inf: node1
>>         location lStN2 pStN2 inf: node2
>>         And after all :
>>         configure property stonith-enabled=true
>>         configure property stonith-action=poweroff
>>     Third (and last) question, what about quorum ? At the moment I've
>> 'no-quorum-policy="ignore"' but it's a risk isn't it ?
>>     Don't hesitate to request me for more information if needed,
>>     Regards,
>>     Bruno.

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