Chapter 5. Fencing Controller nodes with STONITH

Fencing is the process of isolating a failed node to protect the cluster and the cluster resources. Without fencing, a failed node might result in data corruption in a cluster.

Director uses Pacemaker to provide a highly available cluster of Controller nodes. Pacemaker uses a process called STONITH to fence failed nodes. STONITH is an acronym for "Shoot the other node in the head".

If a Controller node fails a health check, the Controller node that acts as the Pacemaker designated coordinator (DC) uses the Pacemaker stonith service to fence the impacted Controller node.

STONITH is disabled by default and requires manual configuration so that Pacemaker can control the power management of each node in the cluster.


Deploying a highly available overcloud without STONITH is not supported. You must configure a STONITH device for each node that is a part of the Pacemaker cluster in a highly available overcloud. For more information on STONITH and Pacemaker, see Fencing in a Red Hat High Availability Cluster and Support Policies for RHEL High Availability Clusters.

For more information on fencing with Pacemaker in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, see:

5.1. Supported fencing agents

When you deploy a high availability environment with fencing, you can choose one of the following fencing agents based on your environment needs. To change the fencing agent, you must configure additional parameters in the fencing.yaml file, as described in Section 5.2, “Deploying and testing fencing on the overcloud”.

Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI)
Default fencing mechanism that RHOSP uses to manage fencing.
Storage Block Device (SBD)
Use in deployments with Watchdog devices. The deployment must not use shared storage.

Use in deployments with the kdump crash recovery service. If you choose this agent, make sure you have enough disk space to store the dump files.

You can configure this agent as a secondary mechanism in addition to the IPMI, fence_rhevm, or Redfish fencing agents. If you configure multiple fencing agents, make sure that you allocate enough time for the first agent to complete the task before the second agent starts the next task.

Use in deployments with servers that support the DMTF Redfish APIs. To specify this agent, change the value of the agent parameter to fence_redfish in the fencing.yaml file. For more information about Redfish, see the DTMF Documentation.
fence_rhevm for Red Hat Virtualization (RHV)

Use to configure fencing for Controller nodes that run RHV environments. You can generate the fencing.yaml file in the same way as you do for IPMI fencing, but you must define the pm_type parameter in the nodes.json file to use RHV.

By default, the ssl_insecure parameter is set to accept self-signed certificates. You can change the parameter value based on your security requirements.


Make sure that you use a role with permissions to create and launch virtual machines in RHV, such as UserVMManager.

5.2. Deploying and testing fencing on the overcloud

The fencing configuration process includes the following stages:

  1. Reviewing the state of STONITH and Pacemaker.
  2. Generating the fencing.yaml file.
  3. Redeploying the overcloud and testing the configuration.


Make sure that you can access the nodes.json file that you created when you registered your Controller nodes in director. This file is a required input for the fencing.yaml file that you generate during deployment.

Review the state of STONITH and Pacemaker

  1. Log in to each Controller node as the heat-admin user.
  2. Verify that the cluster is running:

    $ sudo pcs status

    Example output:

    Cluster name: openstackHA
    Last updated: Wed Jun 24 12:40:27 2015
    Last change: Wed Jun 24 11:36:18 2015
    Stack: corosync
    Current DC: lb-c1a2 (2) - partition with quorum
    Version: 1.1.12-a14efad
    3 Nodes configured
    141 Resources configured
  3. Verify that STONITH is disabled:

    $ sudo pcs property show

    Example output:

    Cluster Properties:
    cluster-infrastructure: corosync
    cluster-name: openstackHA
    dc-version: 1.1.12-a14efad
    have-watchdog: false
    stonith-enabled: false

Generate the fencing.yaml environment file

Choose one of the following options:

  • If you use the IPMI or Red Hat Virtualization (RHV) fencing agent, run the following command to generate the fencing.yaml environment file:

    $ openstack overcloud generate fencing --output fencing.yaml nodes.json
    • This command converts ilo and drac power management details to IPMI equivalents.
    • Make sure that the nodes.json file contains the MAC address of one of the network interfaces (NICs) on the node. For more information, see Registering Nodes for the Overcloud.
    • If you use RHV, make sure that you use a role with permissions to create and launch virtual machine, such as UserVMManager.
  • If you use a different fencing agent, such as Storage Block Device (SBD), fence_kdump, or Redfish, generate the fencing.yaml file manually.


    If you use pre-provisioned nodes, you also must create the fencing.yaml file manually.

For more information about supported fencing agents, see Section 5.1, “Supported fencing agents”.

Redeploy the overcloud and test the configuration

  1. Run the overcloud deploy command and include the fencing.yaml file that you generated to configure fencing on the Controller nodes:

    openstack overcloud deploy --templates \
    -e /usr/share/openstack-tripleo-heat-templates/environments/network-isolation.yaml \
    -e ~/templates/network-environment.yaml \
    -e ~/templates/storage-environment.yaml --control-scale 3 --compute-scale 3 --ceph-storage-scale 3 --control-flavor control --compute-flavor Compute --ceph-storage-flavor ceph-storage --ntp-server --neutron-network-type vxlan --neutron-tunnel-types vxlan \
    -e fencing.yaml
  2. Log in to the overcloud and verify that fencing is configured for each of the Controller nodes:

    1. Check that Pacemaker is configured as the resource manager:

      $ source stackrc
      $ nova list | grep controller
      $ ssh heat-admin@<controller-x_ip>
      $ sudo pcs status |grep fence
      stonith-overcloud-controller-x (stonith:fence_ipmilan): Started overcloud-controller-y

      In this example, Pacemaker is configured to use a STONITH resource for each of the Controller nodes that are specified in the fencing.yaml file.


      You must not configure the fence-resource process on the same node that it controls.

    2. Run the pcs stonith show command to check the fencing resource attributes:

      $ sudo pcs stonith show <stonith-resource-controller-x>

      The STONITH attribute values must match the values in the fencing.yaml file.

Verify fencing on the Controller nodes

To test whether fencing works correctly, you trigger fencing by closing all ports on a Controller node and rebooting the server.

  1. Log in to a Controller node:

    $ source stackrc
    $ nova list |grep controller
    $ ssh heat-admin@<controller-x_ip>
  2. Change to the root user and run the iptables command on each port:

    $ sudo -i
    iptables -A INPUT -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT &&
    iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m state --state NEW -m tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT &&
    iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m state --state NEW -m tcp --dport 5016 -j ACCEPT &&
    iptables -A INPUT -p udp -m state --state NEW -m udp --dport 5016 -j ACCEPT &&
    iptables -A INPUT ! -i lo -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-host-prohibited &&
    iptables -A OUTPUT -p tcp --sport 22 -j ACCEPT &&
    iptables -A OUTPUT -p tcp --sport 5016 -j ACCEPT &&
    iptables -A OUTPUT -p udp --sport 5016 -j ACCEPT &&
    iptables -A OUTPUT ! -o lo -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-host-prohibited

    This step drops all connections to the Controller node, which causes the server to reboot.

  3. From a different Controller node, locate the fencing event in the Pacemaker log file:

    $ ssh heat-admin@<controller-x_ip>
    $ less /var/log/cluster/corosync.log
    (less): /fenc*

    If the STONITH service performed the fencing action on the Controller, the log file will show a fencing event.

  4. Wait a few minutes and then verify that the rebooted Controller node is running in the cluster again by running the pcs status command.

5.3. Viewing STONITH information

To see how STONITH configures your fencing devices, run the pcs stonith show --full command from the overcloud:

$ sudo pcs stonith show --full
 Resource: my-ipmilan-for-controller-0 (class=stonith type=fence_ipmilan) 1
  Attributes: pcmk_host_list=overcloud-controller-0 ipaddr= login=admin passwd=abc lanplus=1 cipher=3
  Operations: monitor interval=60s (my-ipmilan-for-controller-0-monitor-interval-60s)
 Resource: my-ipmilan-for-controller-1 (class=stonith type=fence_ipmilan)
  Attributes: pcmk_host_list=overcloud-controller-1 ipaddr= login=admin passwd=abc lanplus=1 cipher=3
  Operations: monitor interval=60s (my-ipmilan-for-controller-1-monitor-interval-60s)
 Resource: my-ipmilan-for-controller-2 (class=stonith type=fence_ipmilan)
  Attributes: pcmk_host_list=overcloud-controller-2 ipaddr= login=admin passwd=abc lanplus=1 cipher=3
  Operations: monitor interval=60s (my-ipmilan-for-controller-2-monitor-interval-60s)

The --full option returns fencing details about the three Controller nodes.

This output shows the following information for each resource:

  • IPMI power management service that the fencing device uses to turn the machines on and off as needed, such as fence_ipmilan.
  • IP address of the IPMI interface, such as
  • User name to log in with, such as admin.
  • Password to use to log in to the node, such as abc.
  • Interval in seconds at which each host is monitored, such as 60s.

5.4. Fencing parameters

When you deploy fencing on the overcloud, you generate a fencing.yaml file with the required parameters to configure fencing. For more information about deploying and testing fencing, see Section 5.2, “Deploying and testing fencing on the overcloud”.

The following example shows the structure of the fencing.yaml environment file:

  EnableFencing: true
    - agent: fence_ipmilan
      host_mac: 11:11:11:11:11:11
        lanplus: true
        login: admin
        passwd: InsertComplexPasswordHere
        pcmk_host_list: host04
        privlvl: administrator

This file contains the following parameters:

Enables the fencing functionality for Pacemaker-managed nodes.

Lists the fencing devices and the parameters for each device:

  • agent: Fencing agent name. Red Hat OpenStack Platform only supports fence_ipmilan for IPMI.
  • host_mac: The mac address in lowercase of the provisioning interface or any other network interface on the server. You can use this as a unique identifier for the fencing device.
  • params: List of fencing device parameters.
Fencing device parameters
  • auth: IPMI authentication type (md5, password, or none).
  • ipaddr: IPMI IP address.
  • ipport: IPMI port.
  • login: Username for the IPMI device.
  • passwd: Password for the IPMI device.
  • lanplus: Use lanplus to improve security of connection.
  • privlvl: Privilege level on IPMI device
  • pcmk_host_list: List of Pacemaker hosts.