Live Migration of Rescued Instances

When an instance is rescued the libvirt driver creates a file in the instance directory that contains the original instance xml. This file is used when unrescuing the instance to revert to the original disk configuration. However, this file is not necessary to restore the instance’s original configuration. Furthermore the reliance on this file means we currently cannot live migrate a rescued instance. Thus it is proposed that we do not create this file during the rescue operation and rebuild the instance’s original xml file from the database when we unrescue it.

Problem description

At present operators cannot live migrate rescued instances.

Use Cases

As an operator of an OpenStack cloud, I like to live migrate all active instances on a node in order to perform maintenance.

Proposed change

The Live migration method in the compute manager will be amended to permit migration of instances in a rescued state. The implementation of rescue and live migration operations are different for each driver.


Have recently added support for rescue and live migration of rescued instances is supported.


Does not currently support live migration of instances across compute nodes but proposed patch will address this. When this is implemented live migration of rescued instances will be supported.

XenAPI and Libvirt

Do not currently support the live migration of rescued instances due to information stored locally on the compute node when an instance is rescued. Live migration does not copy this information to the target compute node so a subsequent unrescue operation would fail.

The proposal is to amend how rescue and unrescue are implemented in the XenAPI and Libvirt drivers.

In the libvirt driver rescue method saves the current domain xml in a local file and the unrescue method uses this to revert the instance to its previous setup, i.e. booting from instance primary disk again rather than rescueimage. However saving the previous state in the domain xml file is unnecessary since during unrescue the domain is destroyed and restarted. This is effectively a hard reboot so I just call hard reboot during the unrescue operation. Hard reboot rebuilds the domain xml from the nova database so the domain xml file is not needed.

A similar approach is proposed for XenAPI.

in order to support drivers that do not support live migration of instances in a rescued state a new driver capabilities flag will be added called code:supports_live_migrate_rescued. This will be set to False for drivers that do not support the migration of rescued instances.

If the driver supports live migration of instances in a rescued state the os-migrateLive action API call will return a response code of 202 instead of 409 when an attempt is made to perform a live migration of an instance in a rescued state so a new API microversion will be introduced.

If the driver does not support live migration of instances in a rescued state then a 400 response will be returned with a message indicating that the driver does not support live migration of instances in a rescued state. The response message will identify the compute node that does not support live migration of rescued instances, i.e. source or destination and compute node name. This is useful during upgrade when some compute nodes may not yet have been upgraded to the version that supports the migration of rescued instances.

Live migration already preserves the current instance status whether the migration successful or rolled back.


One alternative is not doing this, leaving it up to operators to ask the user to unrescue their instance so it can be migrated.

Another option is to write the original instance state to the database during the rescue operation so that it can be retrieved by the target compute node during unrescue. However this is unnecessary and would require a database schema change to add a table to store this information.

Data model impact


REST API impact

To be added in a new microversion.

This is required because a live migration operation on an instance in a rescued state will return 202 instead of the current 409 response.

Security impact


Notifications impact


Other end user impact

User attemting to unrescue an instance whilst a migration was in progress would be prevented from doing so until the migration was complete.

Performance Impact


Other deployer impact

During upgrade live migrations of rescued instances may fail with a 400 response due to one of the source or destination nodes not yet being upgraded.

Developer impact




Primary assignee: Paul Carlton (irc: paul-carlton2)

Other assignees: None

Work Items

  • Change compute API live migration methods to allow migration of rescued instances.

  • Bump python-novaclient API version.

  • Change libvirt driver rescue and unrescue functions.

  • Change compute manager unrescue to pass context object to virt/driver unrescue method and change implementations of virt/driver unrescue to accept context parameter (This is required by libvirt driver unrescue in order to utilize the driver’s hard_reboot method)

  • Change XenAPI driver rescue and unrescue methods to remove the use of information held locally on the compute node.

  • Implement a driver capability check to if the driver supports live migration of rescued instances.




Unit tests will be added as required. Also tempest tests to verify the use of live migration of an instance in a rescued state and subsequent unrescuing of the instance.

Documentation Impact

New API needs to be documented:




Release Name