Deletion Policy

The deletion policy is provided to help users control the election of victim nodes when a cluster is about to be shrank. In other words, when the size of a cluster is to be decreased, which node(s) should be removed first.

Currently, this policy is applicable to clusters of all profile types and it is enforced when the cluster’s size is about to be reduced.


Criteria used in selecting candidates for deletion
Whether a node should be completely destroyed after deletion. Default to True
Number of seconds before real deletion happens.
Whether the desired capacity of the cluster should be reduced along the deletion. Default to True.
Number of seconds before actual deletion happens.
Type of lifecycle hook
Zaqar queue to receive lifecycle hook message
Url sink to which to send lifecycle hook message


Below is a typical spec for a deletion policy:

# Sample deletion policy that can be attached to a cluster.
type: senlin.policy.deletion
version: 1.0
description: A policy for choosing victim node(s) from a cluster for deletion.
  # The valid values include:
  criteria: OLDEST_FIRST

  # Whether deleted node should be destroyed 
  destroy_after_deletion: True

  # Length in number of seconds before the actual deletion happens
  # This param buys an instance some time before deletion
  grace_period: 60

  # Whether the deletion will reduce the desired capacity of
  # the cluster as well
  reduce_desired_capacity: False

The valid values for the “criteria property include:

  • OLDEST_FIRST: always select node(s) which were created earlier than other nodes.

  • YOUNGEST_FIRST: always select node(s) which were created recently instead of those created earlier.

  • OLDEST_PROFILE_FIRST: compare the profile used by each individual nodes and select the node(s) whose profile(s) were created earlier than others.

  • RANDOM: randomly select node(s) from the cluster for deletion. This is the default criteria if omitted.


There is an implicit rule (criteria) when electing victim nodes. Senlin engine always rank those nodes which are not in ACTIVE state or which are marked as tainted before others.

There are more several actions that can trigger a deletion policy. Some of them may already carry a list of candidates to remove, e.g. CLUSTER_DEL_NODES or NODE_DELETE; others may only carry a number of nodes to remove, e.g. CLUSTER_SCALE_IN or CLUSTER_RESIZE. For actions that already have a list of candidates, the deletion policy will respect the action inputs. The election of victims only happens when no such candidates have been identified.

Deletion vs Destroy

There are cases where you don’t want the node(s) removed from a cluster to be destroyed. Instead, you prefer them to become “orphan” nodes so that in future you can quickly add them back to the cluster without having to create new nodes.

If this is your situation, you may want to set destroy_after_deletion to false. Senlin engine won’t delete the node(s) after removing them from the cluster.

The default behavior is to delete (destroy) the node(s) after they are deprived of their cluster membership.

Grace Period

Another common scenario is to grant a node a period of time for it to shutdown gracefully. Even if a node doesn’t have a builtin logic to perform a graceful shutdown, granting them some extra time may still help ensure the resources they were using have been properly released.

The default value for grace_period property is 0, which means the node deletion happens as soon as it is removed from the cluster. You can customize this value according to your need. Note that the grace period will be granted to all node(s) deleted. When setting this value to a large number, be sure it will not exceed the typical timeout value for action execution. Or else the node deletion will be a failure.

Reduce Desired Capacity or Not

In most cases, users would anticipate the “desired_capacity” of a cluster be reduced when there are nodes removed from it. Since the victim selection algorithm always pick nodes in non-ACTIVE status over ACTIVE ones, you can actually remove erroneous nodes by taking advantage of this rule.

For example, there are 4 nodes in a cluster and 2 of them are known to be in inactive status. You can use the command openstack cluster members del to remove the bad nodes. If you have a deletion policy attached to the cluster, you get a chance to tell the Senlin engine that you don’t want to change the capacity of the cluster. Instead, you only want the bad nodes removed. With the help of other cluster health related commands, you can quickly recover the cluster to a healthy status. You don’t have to change the desired capacity of the cluster to a smaller value and then change it back.

If this is your use case, you can set reduce_desired_capacity to false in the policy spec. The cluster’s desired capacity won’t be changed after cluster membership is modified.

Lifecycle Hook

If there is a need to receive notification of a node deletion, you can specify a lifecycle hook in the deletion policy:

type: senlin.policy.deletion
version: 1.1
    type: 'zaqar'
    timeout: 120
      queue: 'my_queue'

The valid values for the type are:

  • zaqar: send message to zaqar queue. The name of the zaqar must be specified in queue property.

  • webhook: send message to webhook URL. The URL of the webhook must be specified in url property.

timeout property specifies the number of seconds to wait before the actual node deletion happens. This timeout can be preempted by calling complete lifecycle hook API.


Hooks of type webhook will be supported in a future version. Currently only hooks of type zaqar are supported.

Deleting Nodes Across Regions

With the help of Region Placement Policy, you will be able to distribute a cluster’s nodes into different regions as instructed. However, when you are removing nodes from more than one regions, the same distribution rule has to be respected as well.

When there is a region placement policy in effect, the deletion policy will first determine the number of nodes to be removed from each region. Then in each region, the policy performs a victim election based on the criteria you specified in the policy spec.

Deleting Nodes Across Availability Zones

Similarly, when there is a zone placement policy attached to the cluster in question, nodes in the cluster may get distributed across a few availability zones based on a preset algorithm.

The deletion policy, when triggered, will first determine the number for nodes to be removed from each availability zone. Then it proceeds to elect victim nodes based on the criteria specified in the policy spec within each availability zone.