How to disable Cloud-Init in a RHEL Cloud Image

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So this one is pretty simple. However, I found a lot of misinformation along the way, so I figured that I would jot the proper (and most simple) process here.

Symptoms: a RHEL (or variant) VM that takes a very long time to boot. On the VM console, you can see the following output while the VM boot process is stalled and waiting for a timeout. Note that the message below has nothing to do with cloud init, but its the output that I have most often seen on the console while waiting for a VM to boot.

[106.325574} random: crng init done

Note that I have run into this issue in both OpenStack (when booting from external provider networks) and in KVM.

Upon initial boot of the VM, run the command below.

touch /etc/cloud/cloud-init.disabled

Seriously, that’s it. No need to disable or remove cloud-init services. See reference.

 

 

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Mapping Virtual Networks with plotnetcfg

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Plotnetcfg is a Linux utility that you can use to scan the networking configuration on a server and output the configuration hierarchy to a file. Plotnetcfg is most useful when troubleshooting complex virtual networks with all sorts of bonds and bridges, the likes of which you will find on KVM nodes, or OpenStack Controller nodes.

You can install plot on RHEL/Centos as shown below.

# yum -y plotnetcfg.x86_64

You will also want to install the “dot” command which is installed with graphiz. See below.

# yum -y install graphviz.x86_64

Now that the bits and pieces are installed we can run the command below which outputs to PDF file named file.pd

# plotnetcfg | dot -Tpdf > file.pd

If you want to, you can also use “convert” to convert the PDF to a jpg. For example, I exported to jpg to embed below.

file

Super clean, and super easy to read and understand

 

 

Managing RHEV VMs Via the Virsh CLI

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Out of the box you are not going to be able to run virsh commands on the cli as root. Libvirt, Virsh, and KVM are just not that tightly integrated in RHEV.

You can however, follow the procedure below, and create a user and password to use for authentication.

# saslpasswd2 -a libvirt fatmin
Password:
Again (for verification):

Now enter the credentials you entered above.

# virsh list –all
Please enter your authentication name: fatmin
Please enter your password:
Id Name State
—————————————————-
10 HostedEngine running

Now you can shut down or start a VM. Here I am shutting down my RHEV HostedEngine.

# virsh destroy HostedEngine
Please enter your authentication name: fatmin
Please enter your password:
Domain HostedEngine destroyed

 

 

Numa CPU Pinning with KVM/Virsh

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According to Wikipedia, Numa is — “computer memory design used in multiprocessing, where the memory access time depends on the memory location relative to the processor. Under NUMA, a processor can access its own local memory faster than non-local memory (memory local to another processor or memory shared between processors). The benefits of NUMA are limited to particular workloads, notably on servers where the data are often associated strongly with certain tasks or users.

So what does this mean for a Virtual Machine optimization under KVM/Libvirt? It means that for best performance, you want to configure your multi-vcpu VMs to use only cores from the same physical CPU (or numa node).

So how do we do this? See the example below from one of my homelab servers. This machine has two hyperthreaded quad core Xeons (x5550) — for a total of 16 cores.

First we use the “lspcu” command to determine which cpu cores are tied to which CPU. This is in bold below.

# lscpu
Architecture: x86_64
CPU op-mode(s): 32-bit, 64-bit
Byte Order: Little Endian
CPU(s): 16
On-line CPU(s) list: 0-15
Thread(s) per core: 2
Core(s) per socket: 4
Socket(s): 2
NUMA node(s): 2
Vendor ID: GenuineIntel
CPU family: 6
Model: 26
Model name: Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X5550 @ 2.67GHz
Stepping: 5
CPU MHz: 2668.000
BogoMIPS: 5319.11
Virtualization: VT-x
L1d cache: 32K
L1i cache: 32K
L2 cache: 256K
L3 cache: 8192K
NUMA node0 CPU(s): 0-3,8-11 
NUMA node1 CPU(s): 4-7,12-15

Using the virsh command, we can inspect the CPU pinning for my test VM called “mytestvm“.

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Enable Nested Virtualization on RHEL 7

empty birds nest

Follow the steps shown below if you want to be able to run nested virtual machines on RHEL 7 via KVM.

In this particular situation I have a physical Supermicro server that I want to use to host OpenStack.

Note that my home server has Intel Xeon processors, so I first enable nested virtualization via the KVM intel module.  AMD procs use a different module.

[code language=”css”]
cat << EOF > /etc/modprobe.d/kvm_intel.conf
options kvm-intel nested=1
options kvm-intel enable_shadow_vmcs=1
options kvm-intel enable_apicv=1
options kvm-intel ept=1
EOF
[/code]

Also, in order to communicate with your nested VMs you will need to disable reverse path filtering, otherwise RHEL will discard any network packets in order to prevent asymmetric routing. See below.

[code language=”css”]
cat << EOF > /etc/sysctl.d/98-rp-filter.conf
net.ipv4.conf.default.rp_filter = 0
net.ipv4.conf.all.rp_filter = 0
EOF
[/code]

The simplest way to enable these changes is via a reboot of the physical host.

How Not to Assign KVM IP Addresses Via Cisco UCS Manager

Boxing-gloveAfter a few hours poking around a newly deployed UCS cluster trying to get some basic profiles created and assigned. I realized that I had actually no idea how the KVM is actually supposed to work inside the UCS cluster. Which is funny as this was a subject that we touched on during my DCUDC class. Apparently we did not touch on it enough.

Anyway, before I get ahead of myself, lets review the gear in this cluster.

2 5108 chassis
7 B200 M2 blades with 2104 IOMs
2 6248s Fabric Interconnects

Now in my network all lights out management ips (ilos, ipmi, etc) are all on one particular vlan, which for the purpose of this post we will call VLAN 100. Non application related infrastructure equipment (servers, virtual hosts) are on another vlan, which we will call VLAN 200. So when the Fabric Interconnets were deployed, I gave them each an ip address on VLAN 200. And once UCS Manager was up and running, I created a KVM ip address pool of unused ip addresses on VLAN 100. Well guess what, this is wrong.

Routing for the KVM addresses is done through the management interfaces on the Fabric Interconects, so unless you are using vlan tagging, your KVM pool must be on the same vlan as the ip addresses assigned to your Fabric Interconnects.

But wait, why is this?

I thought that I could even assign private 192.168.x.x ip addreses to the KVMs as they were only supposed to be managed via the UCS Manager, but this also incorrect.

Navigate to one of your working KVM ip addresses in a web browser and you can access the KVM of the blade outside of UCS Manager. Nice, which is how I actually expected this to work. 

Logo

Note that I find it rather dumb to have my KVM management ips and Fabric Interconnects on the same vlan as a rule, however since this is how its supposed to work I am going to have to let that one go.

Now, the fact that you can navigate to a specific KVM IP address via a web browser also makes the idea of using a pool of ip addresses silly. Would you not want to hard code the KVM ip address in the service profile so that you always know which server's console you are logging into? Dunno, I am still working on figuring that one out.

 

Cloning A Virtual Machine in KVM

4794-96-20090910021400 KVM (for Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is a full virtualization solution for Linux on x86 hardware containing virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V). More Information here.

KVM is now native to RHEL/Centos and has replaced Xen in RHEL 5.4.

What i have seen so far has been pretty interesting, but I have barely scratched the surface of KVM’s inner workings.

Anyway, to clone a virtual machine you need to run the virt-clone command to clone the virtual disk. This automatically creates the virtual machine for you and registers it in virt-manager.

#virt-clone –original vm01 –name vm02 –file /vol0/vm02.img

Note that you do not need to tell virt-clone the location of the existing virtual disk. It figures this out on its own based on the name of the existing virtual machine.