Feature pages are design documents that developers have created while collaborating on oVirt.

Most of them are outdated, but provide historical design context.

They are not user documentation and should not be treated as such.

Documentation is available here.

SR-IOV Live Migration without downtime


This feature allows you to migrate VM that is connected via SR-IOV with a minimal network downtime and supersedes the Live Migration Support For SRIOV that required additional configuration inside affected VM.

The state of the feature is tracked in [RFE] [SR-IOV] Migration should not require downtime as of today. Related patches can be found on gerrit topic:sriov_live_migration.


Detailed Description

In order to migrate a VM that is connected to SR-IOV passthrough profile we need to first unplug the SR-IOV device from a VM on the source, migrate the VM and plug SR-IOV device on the destination. This causes longer downtime during which the VM is not connected to the network.

The current implementation allowed to mitigate this downtime Live Migration Support For SRIOV, however this approach required manual configuration to be done in the guest which is not convenient for large setups.

In order to achieve minimal downtime the NET_FAILOVER support was added to Linux kernel. The driver provides automated mechanism which is transparent to the VM, and the user space. It is achieved by failover netdev which acts as master device and controls two slave devices, the primary device being SR-IOV passtrough and the virtio as standby. The VM user access network through the failover device.

There is still need to provide two interfaces, the SR-IOV passtrough device and virtio device, to the affected VM, but the overall configuration overhead has been reduced to selecting suitable vNIC profile pair.


The implementation requires a Linux kernel, libvirt and qemu support with net_failover.

The Linux kernel support has to be only on guest side.


  • In addition to the SR-IOV NIC, a linux-bridge based has to be connected to the source, and the destination host.
  • Because of the required support in the guest, only RHEL8 (Linux kernel version >=4.18 or >=5.10) and Windows (Windows VirtIO Drivers >=0.1.189) guests are supported.
  • Hosts with Cluster level version of >=4.6 are required.
  • Updating of the vNIC profile acting as failover is not allowed.
  • Due to internal implementation details attaching two VFs, that are using the same failover vNIC profile, to the same VM will fail in libvirt.


Entity Description

vNIC profile will get a new attribute that will point to the failover virtio vNIC profile. This selection will be only available with Passthrough and Migratable selected.

User Experience

Upon creation of vNIC profile, the user can enable failover and select the failover network vNIC profile. The Failover selection is available only for Passthrough and Migratable vNIC profiles.

REST API takes an additional parameter for vNIC called failover containing id of the failover vNIC profile:

<vnic_profile id="123">
  <failover id="456"/>

VM interface then requires only single vNIC profile that has the failover attribute in order to utilize this behavior.

Engine backend

As engine is responsible for creating XML for a new VM nic, the appropriate XML will be created and provided to libvirt.

In order to ensure that the virtio network is available the migration policy needs to be updated.

The ActivateDeactivateVmNicCommand will be updated to handle plug/unplug of the failover nic, when needed. During migration the command will ensure that only VF VM nic is unplugged and then plugged back, any other user interaction will affect both VF and failover VM nic.

As mentioned in the Limitations, new cluster level is required to ensure correct package version of libvirt and qemu.

Libvirt XML

If the feature is activated for a new VM nic, the libvirt XML definition contains an additional network with attribute teaming element, as follows:

  <interface type='bridge'>
    <mac address='00:11:22:33:44:55' />
    <model type='virtio' />
    <link state='up' />
    <source bridge='ovirtmgmt' />
    <mtu size='1500' />
    <alias name='ua-virtio-net' />
    <teaming type='persistent'/>
  <interface managed='no' type='hostdev'>
    <mac address='00:11:22:33:44:55' />
      <address bus='0xb3' domain='0x0000' function='0x3' slot='0x02' type='pci' />
    <link state='up' />
    <driver name='vfio' />
    <alias name='ua-sriov-hostdev' />
    <teaming type='transient' persistent='ua-virtio-net'/>


Because of the current rule that VF and failover have same MAC address, vdsm code needs to adjusted to account for that. In order to achieve that, vdsm will require matching of alias and MAC address if the interface xml contains teaming attribute.


The feature will not affect new or existing installations.


To test this feature, the desired VM with SR-IOV failover configured, should be migrated to a different host.

Open qeustions

  • An allowed limit of packet drop during migration?
  • Can the virtio device be connected to the same PF as VF?

Documentation & External references

Live Migration Support For SRIOV

Bug 1688177 - [RFE] [SR-IOV] Migration should not require downtime as of today

gerrit topic:sriov_live_migration


Linux: net: Introduce generic failover module

qemu: net/virtio: add failover support

Bug 1693587 - RFE: support for net failover devices in libvirt

Teaming a virtio/hostdev NIC pair