Red Hat Training

A Red Hat training course is available for Red Hat OpenStack Platform

5.2. Migration constraints

In some cases, migrating instances involves additional constraints. Migration constraints typically arise with block migration, configuration disks, or when one or more instances access physical hardware on the Compute node.

CPU constraints

The source and destination Compute nodes must have the same CPU architecture. For example, Red Hat does not support migrating an instance from an x86_64 CPU to a ppc64le CPU. In some cases, the CPU of the source and destination Compute node must match exactly, such as instances that use CPU host passthrough. In all cases, the CPU features of the destination node must be a superset of the CPU features on the source node. Using CPU pinning introduces additional constraints. For more information, see Live migration constraints.

Memory constraints

The destination Compute node must have sufficient available RAM. Memory oversubscription can cause migration to fail. Additionally, instances that use a NUMA topology must have sufficient available RAM on the same NUMA node on the destination Compute node.

Block migration constraints

Migrating instances that use disks that are stored locally on a Compute node takes significantly longer than migrating volume-backed instances that use shared storage, such as Red Hat Ceph Storage. This latency arises because OpenStack Compute (nova) migrates local disks block-by-block between the Compute nodes over the control plane network by default. By contrast, volume-backed instances that use shared storage, such as Red Hat Ceph Storage, do not have to migrate the volumes, because each Compute node already has access to the shared storage.


Network congestion in the control plane network caused by migrating local disks or instances that consume large amounts of RAM might impact the performance of other systems that use the control plane network, such as RabbitMQ.

Read-only drive migration constraints

Migrating a drive is supported only if the drive has both read and write capabilities. For example, OpenStack Compute (nova) cannot migrate a CD-ROM drive or a read-only config drive. However, OpenStack Compute (nova) can migrate a drive with both read and write capabilities, including a config drive with a drive format such as vfat.

Live migration constraints

Migration between RHEL minor versions

In general, you can live migrate an instance between RHEL minor versions when the instance machine type version on the source Compute node is equal to or less than that of the destination Compute node. For example, you cannot live migrate an instance with a RHEL-7.6 machine type running on a RHEL-7.6 Compute node to a RHEL-7.5 Compute node, because the RHEL-7.5 Compute node does not know of the RHEL-7.6 machine type.

However, if you do not set a machine type explicitly, the instance receives the default machine type and live migration can succeed across supported RHEL minor versions. For example, you can live migrate an instance that has the default machine type, RHEL-7.6, from a RHEL-7.8 Compute node to a RHEL-7.7 Compute node.

No new operations during migration
To achieve state consistency between the copies of the instance on the source and destination nodes, RHOSP must prevent new operations during live migration. Otherwise, live migration might take a long time or potentially never end if writes to memory occur faster than live migration can replicate the state of the memory.
NUMA, CPU pinning, huge pages and DPDK

OpenStack Compute can live migrate an instance that uses NUMA, CPU pinning or DPDK when the environment meets the following conditions:

  • The destination Compute node must have sufficient capacity on the same NUMA node that the instance uses on the source Compute node. For example, if an instance uses NUMA 0 on overcloud-compute-0, to live migrate the instance to overcloud-compute-1, you must ensure that overcloud-compute-1 has sufficient capacity on NUMA 0 to support the instance.
  • NovaEnableNUMALiveMigration is set to "True" in the Compute configuration. This parameter is enabled by default only when the Compute host is configured for an OVS-DPDK deployment.
  • The NovaSchedulerDefaultFilters parameter in the Compute configuration must include the values AggregateInstanceExtraSpecsFilter and NUMATopologyFilter.
  • CPU Pinning: When a flavor uses CPU pinning, the flavor implicitly introduces a NUMA topology to the instance and maps its CPUs and memory to specific host CPUs and memory. The difference between a simple NUMA topology and CPU pinning is that NUMA uses a range of CPU cores, whereas CPU pinning uses specific CPU cores. For more information, see Configuring CPU pinning with NUMA. To live migrate instances that use CPU pinning, the destination host must be empty and must have equivalent hardware.
  • Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK): When an instance uses DPDK, such as an instance running Open vSwitch with dpdk-netdev, the instance also uses huge pages. Huge pages impose a NUMA topology such that OpenStack Compute (nova) pins the instance to a NUMA node. When you migrate instances that use DPDK, the destination Compute node must have an identical hardware specification and configuration as the source Compute node. Additionally, there must not be any instances running on the destination Compute node to ensure that it preserves the NUMA topology of the source Compute node.

Constraints that preclude live migration

Live migration is not possible when the instance is configured for the following features:

  • Single-root Input/Output Virtualization (SR-IOV): You can assign SR-IOV Virtual Functions (VFs) to instances. However, this prevents live migration. Unlike a regular network device, an SR-IOV VF network device does not have a permanent unique MAC address. The VF network device receives a new MAC address each time the Compute node reboots, or when the scheduler migrates the instance to a new Compute node. Consequently, OpenStack Compute cannot live migrate instances that use SR-IOV. You must cold migrate instances that use SR-IOV.
  • PCI passthrough: QEMU/KVM hypervisors support attaching PCI devices on the Compute node to an instance. Use PCI passthrough to give an instance exclusive access to PCI devices, which appear and behave as if they are physically attached to the operating system of the instance. However, because PCI passthrough involves physical addresses, OpenStack Compute does not support live migration of instances using PCI passthrough.