Moving instances between clusters

Starting with Ganeti 2.2, instances can be moved between separate Ganeti clusters using a new tool, move-instance. The tool has a number of features:

  • Moving a single or multiple instances
  • Moving instances in parallel (--parallel option)
  • Renaming instance (only when moving a single instance)
  • SSL certificate verification for RAPI connections

The design of the inter-cluster instances moves is described in detail in the Ganeti 2.2 design document. The instance move tool talks to the Ganeti clusters via RAPI and can run on any machine which can connect to the cluster’s RAPI. Despite their similar name, the instance move tool should not be confused with the gnt-instance move command, which is used to move without changes (instead of export/import plus rename) an instance within the cluster.

Configuring clusters for instance moves

To prevent third parties from accessing the instance data, all data exchanged between the clusters is signed using a secret key, the “cluster domain secret”. It is recommended to assign the same domain secret to all clusters of the same security domain, so that instances can be easily moved between them. By checking the signatures, the destination cluster can be sure the third party (e.g. this tool) didn’t modify the received crypto keys and connection information.

To create a new, random cluster domain secret, run the following command on the master node:

$ gnt-cluster renew-crypto --new-cluster-domain-secret

To read and set the cluster domain secret from the contents of a file, run the following command on the master node:

$ gnt-cluster renew-crypto --cluster-domain-secret=/.../ganeti.cds

More information about the renew-crypto command can be found in gnt-cluster(8).

Moving instances

As soon as the clusters share a cluster domain secret, instances can be moved. The tool usage is as follows:

$ move-instance [options] source-cluster destination-cluster instance-name...

Multiple instances can be moved with one invocation of the instance move tool, though a few options are only available when moving a single instance.

The most important options are listed below. Unless specified otherwise, destination-related options default to the source value (e.g. setting --src-rapi-port=1234 will make --dest-rapi-port‘s default 1234).

RAPI server TCP port, defaults to 5080.
Path to file containing source cluster Certificate Authority (CA) in PEM format. For self-signed certificates, this is the certificate itself (see more details below in Certificates). For certificates signed by a third party CA, the complete chain must be in the file (see documentation for SSL_CTX_load_verify_locations(3)).
RAPI username, must have write access to cluster.
Path to file containing RAPI password (make sure to restrict access to this file).
When moving a single instance: Change name of instance on destination cluster.
When moving a single instance: Primary node on destination cluster.
When moving a single instance: Secondary node on destination cluster.
Disk template to use after the move. Can be used to change disk templates.
Compression mode to use during the instance move. This mode has to be supported by both the source and the destination cluster.
Iallocator for creating instance on destination cluster.
When moving a single instance: Override instances’ parameters.
Number of instance moves to run in parallel.
Increase output verbosity.

The exit value of the tool is zero if and only if all instance moves were successful.


If using certificates signed by a CA, then you need to pass the same CA certificate via both --src-ca-file and dest-ca-file.

However, if you’re using self-signed certificates, this has a few (security) implications:

  • the certificates of both the source and destinations clusters (rapi.pem from the Ganeti configuration directory, usually /var/lib/ganeti/rapi.pem) must be available to the tool
  • by default, the certificates include the private key as well, so simply copying them to a third machine means that machine can now impersonate both the source and destination clusters RAPI endpoint

It is therefore recommended to copy only the certificate from the rapi.pem files, and pass these to --src-ca-file and --dest-ca-file appropriately.

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