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Determining Which Component Is Broken

OpenStack’s collection of different components interact with each other strongly. For example, uploading an image requires interaction from nova-api, glance-api, glance-registry, keystone, and potentially swift-proxy. As a result, it is sometimes difficult to determine exactly where problems lie. Assisting in this is the purpose of this section.

Tailing Logs

The first place to look is the log file related to the command you are trying to run. For example, if openstack server list is failing, try tailing a nova log file and running the command again:

Terminal 1:

# tail -f /var/log/nova/nova-api.log

Terminal 2:

# openstack server list

Look for any errors or traces in the log file. For more information, see Logging and Monitoring.

If the error indicates that the problem is with another component, switch to tailing that component’s log file. For example, if nova cannot access glance, look at the glance-api log:

Terminal 1:

# tail -f /var/log/glance/api.log

Terminal 2:

# openstack server list

Wash, rinse, and repeat until you find the core cause of the problem.

Running Daemons on the CLI

Unfortunately, sometimes the error is not apparent from the log files. In this case, switch tactics and use a different command; maybe run the service directly on the command line. For example, if the glance-api service refuses to start and stay running, try launching the daemon from the command line:

# sudo -u glance -H glance-api

This might print the error and cause of the problem.


The -H flag is required when running the daemons with sudo because some daemons will write files relative to the user’s home directory, and this write may fail if -H is left off.


Example of Complexity

One morning, a compute node failed to run any instances. The log files were a bit vague, claiming that a certain instance was unable to be started. This ended up being a red herring because the instance was simply the first instance in alphabetical order, so it was the first instance that nova-compute would touch.

Further troubleshooting showed that libvirt was not running at all. This made more sense. If libvirt wasn’t running, then no instance could be virtualized through KVM. Upon trying to start libvirt, it would silently die immediately. The libvirt logs did not explain why.

Next, the libvirtd daemon was run on the command line. Finally a helpful error message: it could not connect to d-bus. As ridiculous as it sounds, libvirt, and thus nova-compute, relies on d-bus and somehow d-bus crashed. Simply starting d-bus set the entire chain back on track, and soon everything was back up and running.