Installing Ganeti is a relatively simple process on Gentoo. This post will go over the basics on getting it running on Gentoo. Its based primarily on a wiki page at the OSUOSL so check it out for more detailed instructions. I also recommend you read the upstream docs on Ganeti prior to installing it on your own. It will cover a lot more topics in detail and this post is intended just as a diff from that doc.

I should note that I have only installed Ganeti with KVM and have not tested it with Xen on Gentoo. I appreciate feedback if you have installed and used Xen with Ganeti on Gentoo. I'm also the current package maintainer for Ganeti and the related packages in Gentoo such as:

The first step is to install a base Gentoo system using the standard profile. You can use a hardened profile however if you intend to use ganeti-htools, it requires haskell which seems to have issues in hardened.

Configuring DNS

Ganeti requires the following names to resolve before you can set it up.

  • A master name for the cluster, this IP must be available (
  • A name for each node or Dom0 (
  • A name for each instance or virtual machine (


DRBD is optional in Ganeti so you can skip this step if you're not planning on using it. DRBD was recently included in the mainline kernel in 2.6.33 however Gentoo's DRBD packages do not currently reflect that. I hope to get that changed soon but for now you have two options.

  1. Install gentoo-sources, drbd, and drbd-kernel
  2. Install gentoo-sources & enable drbd, install drbd without deps

For simplicity, I'll describe option #2 above below. Check out the wiki page for #1.

DRBD requires you have the following option enabled. Make sure you've rebooted using a kernel with these options above before you continue.:

Device Drivers --->
<*> Connector - unified userspace <-> kernelspace linker

We recommend that you keyword both sys-cluster/drbd and sys-cluster/drbd-kernel so that you pull in the latest 8.3.x version.:

echo "sys-cluster/drbd" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords
echo "sys-cluster/drbd-kernel" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords

Install DRBD.:

emerge drbd

Ganeti uses DRBD in a unique way and requires the module to be loaded with specific settings. Add the autoload settings and load the module.:

echo "drbd minor_count=255 usermode_helper=/bin/true" >> \
modprobe drbd

If you forget this step, you will get an error similar to the one mentioned in this email thread.

Install Ganeti

Set the appropriate USE flags. In this case we will be using kvm with drbd.:

echo "app-emulation/ganeti kvm drbd" >> \

Install Ganeti (you might need to keyword other dependencies):

emerge ganeti

Configure Networking

There's currently two methods for setting up networking: bridged or routed. I picked the bridged method mainly because I'm familiar with the setup and it seemed to be the simplest.

Ideally you should have a public network that will be used for communicating with the nodes and instances from the outside, and a backend private network that will be used by ganeti for DRBD, migrations, etc. Assuming your public IP (which should resolve to) is and your backend IP is, you should edit /etc/conf.d/net to look something like this:

config_eth0=( "null" )
config_br0=( " netmask" )
routes_br0=( "default gw" )

# make sure eth0 is up before configuring br0
depend_br0() {
need net.eth0

config_eth1=( " netmask" )

You can have a more complicated networking setup using VLAN tagging and bridging but I'll go over that in another blog post.

Set the Hostname

Ganeti is picky about hostnames, and requires that the output of hostname be fully qualified. So make sure /etc/conf.d/hostname uses the FQDN and looks like this:


NOT like this::


Configure LVM

It is recommended that you edit this line in /etc/lvm/lvm.conf:

filter = [ "r|/dev/nbd.\*|", "a/.\*/", "r|/dev/drbd[0-9]+|"]

The important part is the:


entry, which will prevent LVM from scanning drbd devices.

Now, go ahead and create an LVM volume group with the disks you plan to use for instance storage. The default name that Ganeti prefers is xenvg but we recommend you choose something more useful for your infrastructure (we use ganeti).:

pvcreate /dev/sda3
vgcreate ganeti /dev/sda3

Initialize the Cluster

Now we can initialize the cluster on the first node. The command below will do the following:

  • Set br0 as the primary interface for Ganeti communication
  • Set as the DRBD ip for the node
  • Enable KVM
  • Set the default bridged interface for instances to br0
  • Set the default KVM settings to 2 vcpus & 512M RAM
  • Set the default kernel path to /boot/guest/vmlinuz-x86_64
  • Set the master DNS name is
$ gnt-cluster init --master-netdev=br0 \
  -g ganeti \
  -s \
  --enabled-hypervisors=kvm \
  -N link=br0 \
  -B vcpus=2,memory=512M \
  -H kvm:kernel_path=/boot/guest/vmlinuz-x86_64 \

Now you have a ganeti cluster! Lets verify everything is setup correctly.:

$ gnt-cluster verify
Sun May 16 22:43:00 2010 * Verifying global settings
Sun May 16 22:43:00 2010 * Gathering data (1 nodes)
Sun May 16 22:43:02 2010 * Verifying node status
Sun May 16 22:43:02 2010 * Verifying instance status
Sun May 16 22:43:02 2010 * Verifying orphan volumes
Sun May 16 22:43:02 2010 * Verifying remaining instances
Sun May 16 22:43:02 2010 * Verifying N+1 Memory redundancy
Sun May 16 22:43:02 2010 * Other Notes
Sun May 16 22:43:02 2010 * Hooks Results


SSH Keys

Ganeti uses ssh to run some tasks but not for all tasks. During the initialization, it generated a new ssh key for the root user and installs it in /root/.ssh/authorized_keys. In our case, we manage that file with cfengine, so to work around it we copy the key as /root/.ssh/authorized_keys2 which ssh will automatically pick up.

Adding nother node

To add an additional node, you duplicate the setup steps above skipping initializing the cluster. Instead run the following command:

gnt-node add -s <node drbd_ip> <node hostname>

Next steps...

The next steps is actually deploying new virtual machines using Ganeti. I wrote a new instance creation script called ganeti-instance-image which uses disk images for deployment. I'm currently working on a new project website with detailed documentation and a blog post about it as well. We're able to deploy new virtual machines (such as Ubuntu, Centos, or Gentoo) in under 30 seconds using this method!


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