Yesterday I was working on a migration bug.

It didn’t take long to identify or fix, and afterwards I was terribly pleased with myself.

The fix was simple, elegant and allowed the cluster to use migration (instead of stop then start) more often.

Why had I not seen how easy it was sooner?

Unfortunately it was because I’d ignored half the problem.

One decision I’m particularly happy I made place 6 years ago, is the one when I ensured Pacemaker’s Policy Engine could be used outside of a running cluster. Combined with some additional output options, this makes it possible to have a suite (224 right at this moment) of regression tests that catch this sort of idiocy before it ever affects an actual user.

The Policy Engine is by far the most complex part of the system, and it’s totally infeasible to test by hand even a small fraction what the regression suite can (and in under 30s too!).

This is why I’m so confident when I say that each release is better than the last. Once a Policy Engine bug gets fixed, it stays fixed.

The benefits of offline testing also occur much earlier in the process. The Policy Engine keeps a rolling list of the cluster states it performed calculations on and our test reporting tool collects these. So when users report a Policy Engine bug, there is no need to reproduce the issue and afterwards we can conclusively show (using pretty dot graphs of the cluster’s old and new behavior) that the issue is resolved.

So I sat down again today and made sure I’d thought the whole problem through - so that the next version would be a complete solution. You can see my notes below if you’re interested.

And now I’m off to implement it (and some extra tests :-)

Migration Scenario Notes

Cluster Setup

primitive(A) depends on clone(B)

Resource Activity During Move: A(node-1 to node-2)

t0    A.stop

Resource Activity During Migration: A(node-1 to node-2)

t0    B.startB.start

  • Node *: Rewritten to be a migrate-to operation
  • Node **: Rewritten to be a migrate-from operation


The following constraints already exist in the system. The ‘ok’ and ‘fail’ column refers to whether they still hold for migration.

  1. A.stop -> A.start - ok
  2. B.stop -> B.start - fail
  3. A.stop -> B.stop - ok
  4. B.start -> A.start - ok
  5. B.stop -> A.start - fail
  6. A.stop -> B.start - fail


  1. B unchanged - ok
  2. B stopping only - fail - possible after reversing constraint 5
  3. B starting only - fail - possible after reversing constraint 6***
  4. B stoping and starting - fail - constraint 2 is unfixable
  5. B restarting but only on N2 - fail - as per case 4 but even less likely

Note ***: This is what the existing implementation does