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I have found the following cluster management software tools:

  • pacemaker (, - original a Heartbeat project, focus for high-availability, will be in the next debian version
  • openqrm (, - web gui - broader usage, a

A site with presentations for both

  • Virtual consolidated HA: Virtualization with KVM, Pacemaker, and DRBD
  • Virtual Machine Management mit openORM

It seems that pacemaker is used more widely. I have 2 Hardware Server for 12 different VMs. The linux system I will use is debian lenny. Setup I want to use: drdb, heartbeart, kvm. I have no experience with cluster management software.

Does anybody have some experience with pacemaker and/or openqrm? Which is easier to use? Are there other candidates?

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Heartbeat is sort of deprecated and the new "industry standard" will be pacemaker and OpenAIS.

They're very different animals, so be careful to read their roles. Pacemaker is a 'cluster resource manager' -- the part you asked about in your original question. It can use OpenAIS or Heartbeat as the network layer to manage a cluster -- but you issue the commands via the pacemaker shell.

I've been using it for a few months and we're about to go to production with it. You can definitely set yourself on fire (I recommend reading the documentation, both for the CRM interface and for the "pacemaker configuration explained" books, several times before you try to configure anything.) if you are not careful. Do not go to production with your first implementation. Plan on wiping the machines several times. Also, one 'gotcha' with pacemaker is that they assume that you will have at least three physical hardware devices. You probably do not want to make your guest VMs cluster-aware; only install pacemaker on the two VM hosts.

I don't have any experience with KVM -- our cluster is Xen-based. However, if I remember correctly, it's a Redhat-backed project. If that's the case, then you definitely want to look at the tools Redhat is using. (edit): If you're virtualizing desktops, avoid KVM -- the desktop server requires a bunch of Windows-based hardware, including SQL server However, if you're redhat-based, Redhat is dropping support for Xen after the 5.x series. Novell/SuSE will probably keep it around a bit longer.

One word of caution: DRBD can be problematic, especially if you get into a split-brain situation. Make sure you're using two forms of STONITH. I am not a big fan of DRBD although I admit it can be useful. Also, when you scale past 2 host nodes, DRBD will not scale and you will have to find a new storage solution.

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How about using RHEV instead?

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I want to stay with debian, but otherwise this looks good – yvess Aug 5 '09 at 12:56

What are you looking for exactly? Once your cluster is set up, you mostly need monitoring. webmin comes with a set of heartbeat/cluster modules.

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I want a nice management interface for my virtual machines, for setup, migration, high-availability – yvess Aug 5 '09 at 12:57

I can't say I have worked with both of them but when working with heartbeat I found the doc really hard to work with until I found the following page

Specifically the "Configuration 1.0 Explained" pdf on that page was really took me from trial and error to actually getting work done on the first try.

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you can look as well at ucarp - it's much simpler than peacemaker / heartbeat but - for some jobs it's just fine [eg bring up all services on router that becomes active node in a cluster].

really short documentation would be one of advantages of ucarp...

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