Heartbeat is an open source clustering software for Linux. Heartbeat ensures high availability and manageability of critical network resources including data, applications, and services. It is a multinode clustering product that supports failover, failback, and migration (load balancing) of individually managed cluster resources.

This guide is intended for administrators given the task of building Linux clusters. Basic background information is provided to build up an understanding of the Heartbeat architecture. Setup, configuration, and maintenance of a Heartbeat cluster are covered in detail. Heartbeat offers a graphical user interface as well as many command line tools. Both approaches are covered in detail to help the administrators choose the appropriate tool matching their particular needs.

NOTE: This manual covers Heartbeat version 2 and higher. Whenever the authors use the term Heartbeat, they refer to Heartbeat 2, even when no explicit version number is given.

This guide contains the following:


Before starting to install and configure your cluster, learn about the features Heartbeat offers. Familiarize yourself with the Heartbeat terminology and its basic concepts.

Installation and Setup

Learn about hardware and software requirements that must be met before you can consider installing and running your own cluster. Perform a basic installation and configuration using the Heartbeat graphical user interface.

Setting Up a Simple Resource

After you have completed the basic cluster configuration, check out a quick step-by-step instruction of how to configure an example resource. Choose from a GUI-based approach or a command line-driven one.

Configuring and Managing Cluster Resources

Managing resources encompasses much more than just the initial configuration. Learn how to use the Heartbeat graphical user interface to configure and manage resources.

Manual Configuration of a Cluster

Managing resources encompasses much more than just the initial configuration. Learn how to use the Heartbeat command line tools to configure and manage resources.

Managing a Node's Standby Status

Heartbeat provides a comprehensive set of command line tools to assist you in managing your own cluster. Get to know the most important ones for your daily cluster management tasks.

Creating Resources

In case you consider writing your own resource agents for Heartbeat or modifying existing ones, get some detailed background information about the different types of resource agents and how to create them.

How can I clean up my resources?

Managing your own cluster requires you to perform a certain amount of troubleshooting. Learn about the most common problems with Heartbeat and how to fix them.


Refer to this chapter for some basic Heartbeat terminology that helps you understand the Heartbeat fundamentals.