KVM Live Migration (RedHat)

Live Migration using shared storage

I really love the feature to migrate running VMs from one Linux hypervisor to another without having the burden of pooling or the necessity to have some sort of shared storage attached. Although migrations using shared storage, e.g.NFS, are faster and easier to accomplish. The migration can be initiated using the virt-manager GUI tool or even simpler at the virsh CLI. As a requirement I installed libvirtd and opened the network communication for libvirtd (listen_tcp to 1 @/etc/libvirt/libvirtd.conf). Also check your firewall settings on the hypervisor, if the libvirtd port is open. (as root: netstat -ntlp |grep libvirtd)

Following example shows how to migrate a VM over network using libvirtd. You should always enable TLS for libvirtd, but encryption is not always supported by 3rd party products like Cloudstack :

sudo virsh migrate --live --persistent --p2p --tunnelled <VM> qemu+tcp://<hypervisor>/system

Important is the –persistent option, which ensures the new VM on the target hypervisor stays persistent. If you don’t use the option, the VM configuration will automatically be removed from the target hypervisor and you have to start the VM on the old machine.

I usually use a temporary live migration during hardware maintenance or overload situations, with the intention to run the VM on the old metal afterwards.


Live Migration using local storage

KVM allows you to live migrate a VM from local to local storage. The only requirement is that you have enough RAM and a destination disk image available with the same disk size. This image needs to reside at the same path and file name.

  • Create a new disk on the destination KVM host
sudo qemu-img create -f qcow2 /var/lib/libvirt/images/<VM>.img 2G
  • Start migration on the source KVM host
sudo virsh migrate --live --p2p --tunnelled --persistent --copy-storage-all <VM> qemu+tcp://<hypervisor>/system