Volume multi-attach: Enable attaching a volume to multiple servers

Volume multi-attach: Enable attaching a volume to multiple servers

The ability to attach a volume to multiple hosts/servers simultaneously is a use case desired for active/active or active/standby scenarios.

Support was added in both Cinder and Nova in the Queens release to volume multi-attach with read/write (RW) mode.


It is the responsibility of the user to ensure that a multiattach or clustered file system is used on the volumes. Otherwise there may be a high probability of data corruption.

In Cinder the functionality is available from microversion ‘3.50’ or higher.

As a prerequisite new Attach/Detach APIs were added to Cinder in Ocata to overcome earlier limitations towards achieving volume multi-attach.

In case you use Cinder together with Nova, compute API calls were switched to using the new block storage volume attachment APIs in Queens, if the required block storage API microversion is available.

For more information on using multiattach volumes with the compute service, refer to the corresponding compute admin guide section.

How to create a ‘multiattach’ volume

In order to be able to attach a volume to multiple server instances you need to have the ‘multiattach’ flag set to ‘True’ in the volume details. Please ensure you have the right role and policy settings before performing the operation.

Currently you can create a multiattach volume in two ways.


For information on back ends that provide the functionality see Back end support.

Multiattach volume type

Starting from the Queens release the ability to attach a volume to multiple hosts/servers requires that the volume is of a special type that includes an extra-spec capability setting of multiattach=<is> True. You can create the volume type the following way:

$ cinder type-create multiattach
$ cinder type-key multiattach set multiattach="<is> True"


Creating a new volume type is an admin-only operation by default, you can change the settings in the ‘policy.json’ configuration file if needed.

To create the volume you need to use the volume type you created earlier, like this:

$ cinder create <volume_size> --name <volume_name> --volume-type <volume_type_uuid>

In addition, it is possible to retype a volume to be (or not to be) multiattach capable. Currently however we only allow retyping a volume if its status is available.

The reasoning behind the limitation is that some consumers/hypervisors need to make special considerations at attach-time for multiattach volumes (like disable caching) and there’s no mechanism currently to update a currently attached volume in a safe way while keeping it attached the whole time.

Multiattach flag - DEPRECATED

Starting from the Queens release using the old way of specifying multiattach with the flag is DEPRECATED:

$ cinder create <volume_size> --name <volume_name> --allow-multiattch

RO / RW caveats (the secondary RW attachment issue)

By default, secondary volume attachments are made in read/write mode which can be problematic, especially for operations like volume migration.

There might be improvements to provide support to specify the attach-mode for the secondary attachments, for the latest information please take a look into Cinder’s specs list for the current release.

Back end support

In order to have the feature available, multi-attach needs to be supported by the chosen back end which is indicated through capabilities in the corresponding volume driver.

The reference implementation is available on LVM in the Queens release. You can check the Driver Support Matrix for further information on which back end provides the functionality.

Policy rules

You can control the availability of volume multi-attach through policies. We describe the default values in this documentation, you need to modify the ‘policy.json’ configuration file if you would like to changes these settings.

Multiattach policy

The general policy rule to allow the creation or retyping of multiattach volumes is named volume:multiattach.

The default setting of this policy is rule:admin_or_owner.

Multiattach policy for bootable volumes

This is a policy to disallow the ability to create multiple attachments on a volume that is marked as bootable with the name volume:multiattach_bootable_volume.

This is an attachment policy with a default setting of rule:admin_or_owner.

Known issues and limitations

  • Retyping an in-use volume from a multiattach-capable type to a non-multiattach-capable type, or vice-versa, is not supported.
  • It is not recommended to retype an in-use multiattach volume if that volume has more than one active read/write attachment.
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