6.2 Quorum Determination

Whenever communication fails between one or more nodes and the rest of the cluster, a cluster partition occurs. The nodes can only communicate with other nodes in the same partition and are unaware of the separated nodes. A cluster partition is defined as having quorum (can quorate) if it has the majority of nodes (or votes). How this is achieved is done by quorum calculation. Quorum is a requirement for fencing.

Quorum calculation has changed between SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension 11 and SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension 12. For SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension 11, quorum was calculated by Pacemaker. Starting with SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension 12, Corosync can handle quorum for two-node clusters directly without changing the Pacemaker configuration.

How quorum is calculated is influenced by the following factors:

Number of Cluster Nodes

To keep services running, a cluster with more than two nodes relies on quorum (majority vote) to resolve cluster partitions. Based on the following formula, you can calculate the minimum number of operational nodes required for the cluster to function:

N ≥ C/2 + 1

N = minimum number of operational nodes
C = number of cluster nodes

For example, a five-node cluster needs a minimum of three operational nodes (or two nodes which can fail).

We strongly recommend to use either a two-node cluster or an odd number of cluster nodes. Two-node clusters make sense for stretched setups across two sites. Clusters with an odd number of nodes can be built on either one single site or might being spread across three sites.

Corosync Configuration

Corosync is a messaging and membership layer, see Section 6.2.4, Corosync Configuration for Two-Node Clusters and Section 6.2.5, Corosync Configuration for N-Node Clusters.

6.2.1 Global Cluster Options

Global cluster options control how the cluster behaves when confronted with certain situations. They are grouped into sets and can be viewed and modified with the cluster management tools like Hawk2 and the crm shell.

The predefined values can usually be kept. However, to make key functions of your cluster work correctly, you need to adjust the following parameters after basic cluster setup:

6.2.2 Global Option no-quorum-policy

This global option defines what to do when a cluster partition does not have quorum (no majority of nodes is part of the partition).

Allowed values are:


Setting no-quorum-policy to ignore makes the cluster behave like it has quorum. Resource management is continued.

This was the default for SLES 11 for a two-node cluster. Starting with SLES 12, this option is obsolete. Based on configuration and conditions, Corosync gives cluster nodes or a single node quorum—or not.

For two-node clusters the only meaningful behavior is to always react in case of quorum loss. The first step should always be to try to fence the lost node.


If quorum is lost, the cluster partition freezes. Resource management is continued: running resources are not stopped (but possibly restarted in response to monitor events), but no further resources are started within the affected partition.

This setting is recommended for clusters where certain resources depend on communication with other nodes (for example, OCFS2 mounts). In this case, the default setting no-quorum-policy=stop is not useful, as it would lead to the following scenario: Stopping those resources would not be possible while the peer nodes are unreachable. Instead, an attempt to stop them would eventually time out and cause a stop failure, triggering escalated recovery and fencing.

stop (default value)

If quorum is lost, all resources in the affected cluster partition are stopped in an orderly fashion.


If quorum is lost, all nodes in the affected cluster partition are fenced. This option works only in combination with SBD, see Section 11.0, Storage Protection and SBD.

6.2.3 Global Option stonith-enabled

This global option defines whether to apply fencing, allowing STONITH devices to shoot failed nodes and nodes with resources that cannot be stopped. By default, this global option is set to true, because for normal cluster operation it is necessary to use STONITH devices. According to the default value, the cluster will refuse to start any resources if no STONITH resources have been defined.

If you need to disable fencing for any reasons, set stonith-enabled to false, but be aware that this has impact on the support status for your product. Furthermore, with stonith-enabled="false", resources like the Distributed Lock Manager (DLM) and all services depending on DLM (such as cLVM, GFS2, and OCFS2) will fail to start.


A cluster without STONITH is not supported.

6.2.4 Corosync Configuration for Two-Node Clusters

When using the bootstrap scripts, the Corosync configuration contains a quorum section with the following options:

Example 6-1 Excerpt of Corosync Configuration for a Two-Node Cluster

quorum {
   # Enable and configure quorum subsystem (default: off)
   # see also corosync.conf.5 and votequorum.5
   provider: corosync_votequorum
   expected_votes: 2
   two_node: 1

As opposed to SUSE Linux Enterprise 11, the votequorum subsystem in SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 is powered by Corosync version 2.x. This means that the no-quorum-policy=ignore option must not be used.

By default, when two_node: 1 is set, the wait_for_all option is automatically enabled. If wait_for_all is not enabled, the cluster should be started on both nodes in parallel. Otherwise the first node will perform a startup-fencing on the missing second node.

6.2.5 Corosync Configuration for N-Node Clusters

When not using a two-node cluster, we strongly recommend an odd number of nodes for your N-node cluster. With regard to quorum configuration, you have the following options:

  • Adding additional nodes with the ha-cluster-join command, or

  • Adapting the Corosync configuration manually.

If you adjust /etc/corosync/corosync.conf manually, use the following settings:

Example 6-2 Excerpt of Corosync Configuration for an N-Node Cluster

quorum {
   provider: corosync_votequorum 
   expected_votes: N 
   wait_for_all: 1 

Use the quorum service from Corosync

The number of votes to expect. This parameter can either be provided inside the quorum section, or is automatically calculated when the nodelist section is available.

Enables the wait for all (WFA) feature. When WFA is enabled, the cluster will be quorate for the first time only after all nodes have become visible. To avoid some start-up race conditions, setting wait_for_all to 1 may help. For example, in a five-node cluster every node has one vote and thus, expected_votes is set to 5. When three or more nodes are visible to each other, the cluster partition becomes quorate and can start operating.