Test Cluster Linux with Pacemaker, Corosync and pcs

Cluster Linux under test with Pacemaker, Corosync and pcs

Vedi L'articolo in Italiano


In this article we create a cluster on Linux with Pacemaker and Corosync using the pcs commands (Pacemaker/Corosync Configuration System).

Initially, we analyze step by step the creation of a Linux cluster on VirtualBox environment and finally automate using Vagrant.

The main needs to create a cluster instead of a single server for a company can be summarized with:

  • have a redundancy of the servers/services in the event that a failure occurs;
  • have the possibility to easily update the server by working first on one node put under maintenance than on others;
  • to be able to make a complete and consistent backup while the services on the other nodes are active.

Cluster root node installation

Suppose we have already installed Virtualbox and downloaded the ISO of Centos 7 then we create a new Centos7 vm with:

  • at least 1GB of memory;
  • with name for instance centos7-minimal (Linux – RedHat 64 bit);
  • 3 network cards and to sum up:
    • the first “NAT” for normal navigation;
    • the second as “Internal network” that is to say to manage the cluster network (we will use the subnet;
    • the last as “Internal network” to manage the fence/stonith operation (we will use the subnet;
  • we add 1 disc to the IDE/SATA controller of at least 15GB.

Graphics mode

If we want to enable integration with the mouse, we have to select “System” then “Pointing tablet” in the “Pointing device” item and not the default “Mouse PS / 2” since with Centos 7 it seems there are problems.
So we can move the mouse outside the window of the new VM without having to press the “Home” button.

Alternative mode: terminal

Using the “VBoxManage” command we can do the same operations done above in graphic mode but faster.
Check the “ISO” variable below the valid path where the centos7-minimal iso is.

VBoxManage createvm --name centos7-minimal --ostype RedHat_64 --register
VBoxManage modifyvm centos7-minimal --vram 15
VBoxManage modifyvm centos7-minimal --mouse usbtablet --usbehci on
VBoxManage modifyvm centos7-minimal --nic1 nat
VBoxManage modifyvm centos7-minimal --nic2 intnet
VBoxManage modifyvm centos7-minimal --nic3 intnet
VBoxManage modifyvm centos7-minimal --memory 1024

cfg_row=$(VBoxManage showvminfo --machinereadable "centos7-minimal" | grep '^CfgFile')
eval "$cfg_row"
vm_basedir=$(dirname "$CfgFile")
VBoxManage createmedium disk --filename "${vm_basedir}/centos7-minimal.vdi" --size 15360 --format VDI
VBoxManage storagectl centos7-minimal --name "SATA Controller" --add sata --controller IntelAhci
VBoxManage storageattach centos7-minimal --storagectl "SATA Controller" --port 0 --device 0 --type hdd --medium "${vm_basedir}/centos7-minimal.vdi"
VBoxManage storagectl centos7-minimal --name "IDE Controller" --add ide --controller PIIX4
VBoxManage storageattach centos7-minimal --storagectl "IDE Controller" --port 1 --device 0 --type dvddrive --medium "$ISO"

Centos 7 minimal installation

Finally, to install we start the VM graphically via the Virtualbox interface or alternatively via the command

VBoxManage start centos7-minimal

where “centos7-minimal” is the name we have given to vm so we follow the simple screens of the Centos 7 installer.

Cluster root node configuration

We enter a bash shell of the newly installed vm then we start the configuration that will be valid for all three nodes of the cluster and that must be done only once.

Environment: keyboard and local language

If we need to configure a keyboard layout different from that of the installation, for example for Italian we run the command:

localectl set-keymap it

We could also choose other layouts for Italian based on our keyboard such as “it2” or “it-winkeys” or see the complete list of layouts run the command

 localectl list-keymaps

If necessary we set the “locale” for the proper functioning of the console through the commands:

localectl set-locale LANG=en_US.utf8
localectl status

Network interface for navigation

If we have done the minimal installation of Centos 7, the network will not have been configured so let’s test it with the command:

ip a
Cluster Centos 7 minimal: scheda di rete non configurata
Centos 7 minimal: network card not configured

We verify that the NAT interface, the first in the list excluding “lo” is enp0s3 and enable it by putting the ONBOOT = yes parameter in the file /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-enp0s3 and finally restart the network service:

sed -i 's/ONBOOT=no/ONBOOT=yes/' /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-enp0s3
/etc/init.d/network restart

Let’s double check that the network works well so you can continue using the commands:

ip a
ping -c 1 google.com

Software packages update:

yum update -y

Software packages related to the cluster

We install the packages for the cluster and if necessary finally we eliminate the default cluster:

yum install -y pacemaker pcs httpd wget
pcs cluster destroy --force

Virtualbox Guest Additions (optional)

We restart the vm to use the new kernel after the updates otherwise it will be difficult to compile the “Guest Additions“:

shutdown -r now

The installation of the “Guest Additions” of VirtualBox takes place by inserting the disk in the VM via the “Devices” menu at the top and then “mounting” the cdrom from the Linux shell:

mount /dev/cdrom /mnt
yum install -y perl gcc dkms kernel-devel kernel-headers make bzip2 tar
/mnt/VBoxLinuxAdditions.run --nox11

End of first part: root node of the cluster

At this point the main configuration is finished, we can turn off the VM to clone it 2 times via the VirtualBox interface in order to have all 3 nodes in the cluster.

shutdown -h now

Cluster root node cloning

In the previous paragraph we created node 1 of the cluster now we clone it to immediately obtain node 2 and node 3 then from VirtualBox select our Centos 7 VM and click on the “Clone virtual machine” button

In the “Name” field we enter cl-c7-node-2 for the second node and cl-c7-node-3 for the third node. Also in “MAC Address Policy” we put the option to generate new MAC addresses and finally select “Full Clone“.

If instead we want to make clones from the command line we use:

vboxmanage clonevm cl-c7-node-1 --name="cl-c7-node-2" --register
vboxmanage clonevm cl-c7-node-1 --name="cl-c7-node-3" --register

subsequently we will have 3 Centos 7 vm: cl-c7-node-1, cl-c7-node-2 and cl-c7-node-3 all with the updates made with the cluster software installed (we change the original name of centos7- minimal in cl-c7-node-1).

Ports redirect

If we want to work in the vm by connecting in ssh (so we can copy and paste and have a terminal with the history of the commands) without having to add an additional “hostonly” network card and if we want to see the internal http just launch the following command lines:

VBoxManage modifyvm cl-c7-node-1 --natpf1 "ssh,tcp,,2022,,22"
VBoxManage modifyvm cl-c7-node-1 --natpf1 "http,tcp,,7080,,80"
VBoxManage modifyvm cl-c7-node-2 --natpf1 "ssh,tcp,,3022,,22"
VBoxManage modifyvm cl-c7-node-2 --natpf1 "http,tcp,,8080,,80"
VBoxManage modifyvm cl-c7-node-3 --natpf1 "ssh,tcp,,4022,,22"
VBoxManage modifyvm cl-c7-node-3 --natpf1 "http,tcp,,9080,,80"

So to connect in ssh to node 1 we use:

ssh -p 2022 root@localhost

while for node 2 and 3 just replace port 2022 with 3022 and 4022

Parallel configuration of the 3 nodes of the cluster

To continue configuring the cluster, we work on each node in parallel, that is, we will execute the same commands on all 3 nodes, that is, based on the node in which we are running the commands, we must replace:

  • cl-c7-node-X with the name of the node (for example for the second cl-c7-node-2).
  • with the ip associated with the node for the cluster network (for example for the third
  • with the ip associated with the node for the fence network (for example for the third

hostname configuration

hostnamectl set-hostname cl-c7-node-X.localhost

Apache Web Server configuration

Let’s configure Apache Web Server to respond to the cluster agent (relative URL /server-status) and disable it as a systemd service and create a test html page:

cat <<EOF >>/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf
<Location /server-status>
SetHandler server-status
Require local
systemctl stop httpd
systemctl disable httpd

We save the existing Apache Web Server courtesy page:

if [ -e "/var/www/html/index.html" ]; then
  mv /var/www/html/index.html /var/www/html/index.html.orig
  chmod 600 /var/www/html/index.html.orig

We add the new courtesy page and to understand better during the switch between one node and the other we use the hostname command to distinguish the page between the 3 nodes.

cat <<EOF >/var/www/html/index.html
<meta charset="UTF-8">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
<style id='linux-text-cluster-inline-quolltech-css' type='text/css'>
  body {margin: 0;} 
  #top { position:fixed; top:86px; left:72px; transform:rotate(90deg); transform-origin:0% 0%; background-color: #f94701; background-image: linear-gradient(to right,#a6a6a6,#c9c925,#1e73be,#fe36f9,#0fe22a,#fe4809); text-align:center; padding:5px; border-radius:5px; opacity:0.9;} 
  #top div {font-size:14px;} 
  h2 { font-size:20px; margin-bottom:10px; margin-top:10px; } 
  #test_frame {width:100vw;height:99vh;border:0px hidden;margin:0;padding:0;}
<div id="top"> Linux Cluster Test: Cps, Pacemaker, Corosync</h2>
$(hostname) - by Quoll Tech</div></div>
<iframe id="test_frame" src="https://quoll.it/servizi-chiedi-un-preventivo/"></iframe>
<script type="text/javascript"> 
  function quoll_resize() {
   el.style.left = el_h +"px";
  window.onresize = quoll_resize;

Cluster network configuration

Network interface

To configure the network we must first check the presence of the network interfaces with the command

ip a

and then verify that the network interface (the second after the loopback “lo“) is enp0s8, otherwise we substitute its value for enp0s8 in the following command:

cat <<EOF >/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-enp0s8
/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifup enp0s8

Names of the cluster nodes

echo -e "\t cl-c7-node-1" >>/etc/hosts
echo -e "\t cl-c7-node-2" >>/etc/hosts
echo -e "\t cl-c7-node-3" >>/etc/hosts

hacluster user password

The hacluster user who manages parts of cluster operations must necessarily have the same password on all nodes in order to be authorized to be part of the same cluster.
Suppose that “<very secure password>” is the password to be put to the hacluster user then we use the following command to set it:

echo "hacluster:<password sicurissima>" | chpasswd

Fence agents configurations

To also manage the fence network and consequently enable the cluster agents that will attempt to shut down or disable a node when that node no longer works well due to one or more faults we must also follow this paragraph.

Fence network interface

The same reasoning also applies to the fence net so let’s check with the command

ip a

that the fence interface (the third after the loopback “lo“) is enp0s9, otherwise we substitute its value for enp0s9 in the following command:

cat <<EOF >/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-enp0s9
/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifup enp0s9

Installation of fence agents

yum install -y "fence-agents-all"

Names of nodes in the fence network

echo -e "\t cl-c7-nodefence-1" >>/etc/hosts
echo -e "\t cl-c7-nodefence-2" >>/etc/hosts
echo -e "\t cl-c7-nodefence-3" >>/etc/hosts

Test fence agent

For this test environment we use the agent fence ssh while in production we should use a more appropriate one, perhaps based on the APIs made available by our ups or on the iLO interface if we have an HP or compatible server. Be that as it may, the agent fence will need to be able to shutdown or exclude the node from the cluster physically.

wget -q -O /usr/sbin/fence_ssh https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nannafudge/fence_ssh/master/fence_ssh
chmod +x /usr/sbin/fence_ssh

For the “fence_ssh” agent to work correctly, it must be able to connect to the other 2 nodes on the fence network but not on the cluster network or on the NAT network (where the fault could occur).

Let’s create, consequently, a special user with the same password for all nodes”<very secure password fence>“:

useradd -c "Fence ssh user" -m -s /bin/bash fence
echo "fence:<very secure password fence>" | chpasswd

To the newly created fence user we give him the rights with sudo to shutdown the server:

cat <<EOF >/etc/sudoers.d/fence
fence ALL = NOPASSWD: /sbin/shutdown

so you can use both “/sbin/shutdown -r” to reboot and “/sbin/shutdown -h” to shutdown the vm.

For security, even if it should already be active, we enable the use of ssh with password if not active:

sed -i 's/^PasswordAuthentication.*/PasswordAuthentication yes/' /etc/ssh/sshd_config
systemctl restart sshd

Authentication in ssh without password with private/public key:

Key generations (to be done only on a single node such as the cl-c7-node-1)
su - fence
rm -rf .ssh
ssh-keygen -q -C "fence_agent_key" -f $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa -N ''
cp -a .ssh/id_rsa.pub .ssh/authorized_keys
cat <<EOF >.ssh/config
Host 192.168.43.* cl-c7-nodefence-*
StrictHostKeyChecking no
chmod 600 .ssh/config
Key copy in the 2 remaining nodes (cl-c7-node2 and cl-c7-node-3)

You have to copy the .ssh folder of the fence user to the other 2 nodes, for this purpose let’s assume that you are in node 1 (cl-c7-node-1) and that both nodes 2 and 3 are turned on and have configured the node at least until in the previous paragraph relating to the fence user:

su - fence
tar cf - .ssh | ssh fence@cl-c7-nodefence-2 tar xf - --warning=no-timestamp
tar cf - .ssh | ssh fence@cl-c7-nodefence-3 tar xf - --warning=no-timestamp

Having done this from any of the 3 nodes with the fence user you should be able to enter ssh on the other 2 nodes, without a password using the public key, so that the fence_ssh agent works correctly.
Let’s try to do a test for example from node 2 connecting in ssh on node 1 and 3:

ssh fence@cl-c7-nodefence-1 hostname
ssh fence@cl-c7-nodefence-3 hostname


Firewall enabling

systemctl unmask firewalld
systemctl start firewalld
systemctl enable firewalld

SSH: Firewall rules

firewall-cmd --permanent --add-service=ssh
firewall-cmd --add-service=ssh

Cluster: Firewall rules

firewall-cmd --permanent --add-service=high-availability
firewall-cmd --add-service=high-availability

Apache Web Server: Firewall rules

firewall-cmd --permanent --add-service=http
firewall-cmd --add-service=http

Activate the service for the cluster

systemctl start pcsd.service
systemctl enable pcsd.service

Cluster and agents configuration

This configuration part must be done on a single node after all the previous configurations have been made on all 3 nodes.

So suppose we work on node 1.

cluster_nodes="cl-c7-node-1 cl-c7-node-2 cl-c7-node-3"
echo -e "\tinizializing the cluster on nodes ${cluster_nodes}"
pcs cluster auth ${cluster_nodes} -u hacluster -p "<password sicurissima>"
pcs cluster setup --start --name "quolltech_cluster" ${cluster_nodes} --force
pcs cluster enable --all
# disable stonith
pcs property set stonith-enabled=false
sleep 5

and if everything went well the cluster should be active and configured on all 3 nodes and finally to check the status we try the command:

pcs cluster status
pcs status
pcs quorum status

If something does not work perhaps because a node is “OFFLINE” we try to check in that node if all the firewall rules are active especially that of the “high-availability” service.
Suppose that the problem occurs on node 2 in order to launch the command:

firewall-cmd --list-all

and therefore if the firewall rule is missing, enable it according to the paragraph above.

Add resources to cluster

pcs resource create first_test_ip IPaddr2 ip= cidr_netmask=24 --group apachegroup
pcs resource create Web1 apache configfile="$httpd_conf" statusurl="" --group apachegroup
pcs resource create second_test_ip IPaddr2 ip= cidr_netmask=24 --group group_second_test_ip
pcs resource create last_test_ip IPaddr2 ip= cidr_netmask=24 --group group_last_test_ip

In summary we have created 3 groups of resources (or resource groups):

cluster: pcs status dopo la creazione delle risorse
  • apachegroup
    with 2 resources, the first of type IPaddr2 with name first_test_ip and the other of type apache with name Web1;
  • group_second_test_ip
    similarly with a resource of type IPaddr2 with name second_test_ip;
  • group_last_test_ip
    with a resource of type IPaddr2 with name last_test_ip.

So let’s check with the command:

pcs status

Add fence resources

pcs stonith create stonith-ssh-1 fence_ssh user=fence sudo=true private-key="/home/fence/.ssh/id_rsa" hostname="cl-c7-nodefence-1" pcmk_host_list="cl-c7-node-1" --force --disabled
pcs stonith create stonith-ssh-2 fence_ssh user=fence sudo=true private-key="/home/fence/.ssh/id_rsa" hostname="cl-c7-nodefence-2" pcmk_host_list="cl-c7-node-2" --force --disabled
pcs stonith create stonith-ssh-3 fence_ssh user=fence sudo=true private-key="/home/fence/.ssh/id_rsa" hostname="cl-c7-nodefence-3" pcmk_host_list="cl-c7-node-3" --force --disabled

For each fence resource we make sure that it does not activate in the node itself, which generally doesn’t make much sense:

pcs constraint location stonith-ssh-1 avoids cl-c7-node-1
pcs constraint location stonith-ssh-2 avoids cl-c7-node-2
pcs constraint location stonith-ssh-3 avoids cl-c7-node-3

We enable fence resources with constraints so that they start in a right node (for example “stonith-node-1” will have to start either on node 2 or on 3, while “stonith-node-2” will have to start either on node 1 or on 3):

pcs stonith enable stonith-ssh-1
pcs stonith enable stonith-ssh-2
pcs stonith enable stonith-ssh-3
cluster linux: comando pcs status

At this point we can enable the cluster to use the fence agent (we had previously disabled it to avoid errors since the fences had not been configured):

pcs property set stonith-enabled=true

Function tests

Cluster state

At this point the cluster is ready and working, we can use the following commands to see the status of the cluster and related resources:

pcs cluster status
pcs status
pcs quorum status

We can also verify that the resources are actually active in the respective nodes.
For example if the “second_test_ip” resource is active in node 1 then from that node we can launch the command

ip a

to verify that the ip is actually active.
Same thing also applies to the resource “first_test_ip” and “last_test_ip“.

To check the “Web1” resource which of course must be on the same node as “first_test_ip” because they are part of the same group “apachegroup” just go with your browser to the address:

If the web page does not work, you need to go back in order to review the steps in the paragraph on redirecting ports.

Also for the stoniths, that is the fence agents, we check that they started on the node other than the one to be controlled.
For example “stonith-ssh-2″ which checks node 2 must not absolutely start on node 2.


As a function test we can try to migrate a service from one node to another, for example we try to migrate “last_test_ip” from node 3 to node 2 by connecting to any of the nodes in order to use the command:

pcs resource move last_test_ip cl-c7-node-2
pcs status

Another test could be to simulate a problem on a node and verify that the fence agent activates and shuts down the problematic node and services are redistributed.
Use pcs command directly to simulate a problem on node 3 so let’s do it from node 1 or 2:

pcs stonith fence cl-c7-node-3
pcs status

With these commands, a “fence” will be initialized at node 3 so as to make it reboot the node.
It could be that in the status (pcs status) it complies that there is a “Timeout” for the test on the resource “stonith-ssh-3” in order to warn us for what reason the “fence” was made to the node.
So if you want to remove this note from the state just run the command:

pcs stonith cleanup stonith-ssh-3

If, instead of rebooting the node, we want it to be turned off then add the –off option to the previous command

pcs stonith fence cl-c7-node-3 --off
pcs status

After that a test to simulate hardware error could be to disconnect the cable of the cluster network of a node.
For example to node 2 via the VirtualBox graphical interface or with the command (external to the cluster):

VBoxManage controlvm cl-c7-node-2 setlinkstate2 off

and check that node 2 is put “OFFLINE” by the cluster and then that node 2 reboots caused by the fence agent.

If we want the fence agent to turn off the node (instead of the reboot) just put the “stonith-action” cluster property to “off” instead of the default “reboot“.

pcs property set stonith-action=off


In this article, to summarize we have seen how to test a 3 nodes cluster on Linux Centos 7 distribution.
During the next article, which is the continuation, we automate all using Vagrant.

In addition, we will see how to install it also on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and with LXD type containers.
Finally, again thanks to Vagrant we will see how it will be possible to add or remove nodes to the cluster, whether or not to use the “fence” network, change the network IPs, or do the initial software upgrades (all parameterizable with Vagrant).

In conclusion, for those who do not want to read the whole next article simply see my project “linux-cluster-test” on Github.


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