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Live migration failures with KVM and libvirt

·334 words·2 mins·

I decided to change some of my infrastructure back to KVM again, and the overall experience has been quite good in Fedora 22. Using libvirt with KVM is a breeze and the virt-manager tools make it even easier. However, I ran into some problems while trying to migrate virtual machines from one server to another.

The error #

# virsh migrate --live --copy-storage-all bastion qemu+ssh://root@
error: internal error: unable to execute QEMU command 'drive-mirror': Failed to connect socket: Connection timed out

That error message wasn’t terribly helpful. I started running through my usual list of checks:

  • Can the hypervisors talk to each other? Yes, iptables is disabled.
  • Are ssh keys configured? Yes, verified.
  • What about ssh host keys being accepted on each side? Both sides can ssh without interaction.
  • SELinux? No AVC’s logged.
  • Libvirt logs? Nothing relevant in libvirt’s qemu logs.
  • Filesystem permissions for libvirt’s directories? Identical on both sides.
  • Libvirt daemon running on both sides? Yes.

I was pretty confused at this point. A quick Google search didn’t reveal too many relevant issues, but I did find a Red Hat Bug from 2013 that affected RHEL 7. The issue in the bug was that libvirt wasn’t using the right ports to talk between servers and those packets were being dropped by iptables. My iptables rules were empty.

Debug time #

I ran the same command with LIBVIRT_DEBUG=1 at the front:


After scouring the pages and pages of output, I couldn’t find anything useful.

Eureka! #

I spotted an error message briefly in virt-manager or the debug logs that jogged my brain to think about a potential problem: hostnames. Both hosts had a fairly bare /etc/hosts file without IP/hostname pairs for each hypervisor. After editing both servers’ /etc/hosts file to include the short and full hostnames for each hypervisor, I tested the live migration one more time.


The migration went off without a hitch in virt-manager and via the virsh client. I migrated several VM’s, including the one running this site, with no noticeable interruption.