lvmsystemid — LVM system ID
(8) system ID restricts Volume Group (VG) access to one host. This
is useful when a VG is placed on shared storage devices, or when local devices
are visible to both host and guest operating systems. In cases like these, a
VG can be visible to multiple hosts at once, and some mechanism is needed to
protect it from being used by more than one host at a time.
A VG's system ID identifies one host as the VG owner. The host with a matching
system ID can use the VG and its LVs, while LVM on other hosts will ignore it.
This protects the VG from being accidentally used from other hosts.
The system ID is a string that uniquely identifies a host. It can be configured
as a custom value, or it can be assigned automatically by LVM using some
unique identifier already available on the host, e.g. machine-id or uname.
When a new VG is created, the system ID of the local host is recorded in the VG
metadata. The creating host then owns the new VG, and LVM on other hosts will
ignore it. When an existing, exported VG is imported (vgimport), the system ID
of the local host is saved in the VG metadata, and the importing host owns the
A VG without a system ID can be used by LVM on any host where the VG's devices
are visible. When system IDs are not used, device filters should be configured
on all hosts to exclude the VG's devices from all but one host.
A foreign VG
is a VG seen by a host with an unmatching system ID, i.e.
the system ID in the VG metadata does not match the system ID configured on
the host. If the host has no system ID, and the VG does, the VG is foreign and
LVM will ignore it. If the VG has no system ID, access is unrestricted, and
LVM can access it from any host, whether the host has a system ID or not.
Changes to a host's system ID and a VG's system ID can be made in limited
circumstances (see vgexport and vgimport). Improper changes can result in a
host losing access to its VG, or a VG being accidentally damaged by access
from an unintended host. Even limited changes to the VG system ID may not be
perfectly reflected across hosts. A more coherent view of shared storage
requires an inter-host locking system to coordinate access and update caches.
Valid system ID characters are the same as valid VG name characters. If a system
ID contains invalid characters, those characters are omitted and remaining
characters are used. If a system ID is longer than the maximum name length,
the characters up to the maximum length are used. The maximum length of a
system ID is 128 characters.
Print the system ID of a VG to check if it is set:
vgs -o systemid VG
Print the system ID of the local host to check if it is configured:
To benefit fully from system ID, all hosts should have a system ID configured,
and all VGs should have a system ID set. Without any method to restrict
access, e.g. system ID or device filters, a VG that is visible to multiple
hosts can be accidentally damaged or destroyed.
- A VG without a system ID can be used without restriction
from any host where it is visible, even from hosts that have a system ID.
- Many VGs will not have a system ID set because LVM has not
enabled it by default, and even when enabled, many VGs were created before
the feature was added to LVM or enabled. A system ID can be assigned to
these VGs by using vgchange --systemid (see below).
- Two hosts should not be assigned the same system ID. Doing
so defeats the purpose of distinguishing different hosts with this value.
- Orphan PVs (or unused devices) on shared storage are
unprotected by the system ID feature. Commands that use these PVs, such as
vgcreate or vgextend, are not prevented from performing conflicting
operations and corrupting the PVs. See the orphans section for more
- The system ID does not protect devices in a VG from
programs other than LVM.
- A host using an old LVM version (without the system ID
feature) will not recognize a system ID set in VGs. The old LVM can read a
VG with a system ID, but is prevented from writing to the VG (or its LVs).
The system ID feature changes the write mode of a VG, making it appear
read-only to previous versions of LVM.
This also means that if a host downgrades to the old LVM version, it would
lose access to any VGs it had created with a system ID. To avoid this, the
system ID should be removed from local VGs before downgrading LVM to a
version without the system ID feature.
A local VG is meant to be used by a single host.
A shared or clustered VG is meant to be used by multiple hosts.
These can be further distinguished as:
A local VG that has no system ID. This VG type is
unprotected and accessible to any host.
A local VG that has a system ID set, as viewed from the host with
a matching system ID (the owner). This VG type is acessible to the host.
A local VG that has a system ID set, as viewed from any host
with an unmatching system ID (or no system ID). It is owned by another host.
This VG type is not accessible to the host.
A local VG that has been exported with vgexport and has no
system ID. This VG type can only be accessed by vgimport which will change it
A shared or "lockd" VG has the lock_type set and has no
system ID. A shared VG is meant to be used on shared storage from multiple
hosts, and is only accessible to hosts using lvmlockd. Applicable only if LVM
is compiled with lvmlockd support.
A clustered or "clvm" VG has the clustered flag set
and has no system ID. A clustered VG is meant to be used on shared storage
from multiple hosts, and is only accessible to hosts using clvmd. Applicable
only if LVM is compiled with clvm support.
A host's own system ID can be defined in a number of ways. lvm.conf
global/system_id_source defines the method LVM will use to find the local
LVM will not use a system ID. LVM is allowed to access VGs without a system
ID, and will create new VGs without a system ID. An undefined
system_id_source is equivalent to none.
system_id_source = "none"
The content of /etc/machine-id is used as the system ID if available. See
machine-id(5) and systemd-machine-id-setup(1) to check if
machine-id is available on the host.
system_id_source = "machineid"
The string utsname.nodename from uname(2) is used as the system ID. A
uname beginning with "localhost" is ignored and equivalent to
system_id_source = "uname"
The system ID is defined in lvmlocal.conf local/system_id.
system_id_source = "lvmlocal"
system_id = "example_name"
The system ID is defined in a file specified by lvm.conf
system_id_source = "file"
system_id_file = "/path/to/file"
Changing system_id_source will likely cause the system ID of the host to change,
which will prevent the host from using VGs that it previously used (see
extra_system_ids below to handle this.)
If a system_id_source other than none fails to produce a system ID value, it is
the equivalent of having none. The host will be allowed to access VGs with no
system ID, but will not be allowed to access VGs with a system ID set.
In some cases, it may be necessary for a host to access VGs with different
system IDs, e.g. if a host's system ID changes, and it wants to use VGs that
it created with its old system ID. To allow a host to access VGs with other
system IDs, those other system IDs can be listed in lvmlocal.conf
extra_system_ids = [ "my_other_name" ]
A safer option may be configuring the extra values as needed on the command line
In vgcreate, the host running the command assigns its own system ID to the new
VG. To override this and set another system ID:
vgcreate --systemid SystemID VG PVs
Overriding the host's system ID makes it possible for a host to create a VG that
it may not be able to use. Another host with a system ID matching the one
specified may not recognize the new VG without manually rescanning devices.
If the --systemid argument is an empty string (""), the VG is created
with no system ID, making it accessible to other hosts (see warnings above.)
The system ID of a VG is displayed with the "systemid" reporting
Report/display commands ignore foreign VGs by default. To report foreign VGs,
the --foreign option can be used. This causes the VGs to be read from disk.
Because lvmetad caching is not used, this option can cause poor performance.
vgs --foreign -o +systemid
When a host with no system ID sees foreign VGs, it warns about them as they are
skipped. The host should be assigned a system ID, after which standard
reporting commands will silently ignore foreign VGs.
vgexport clears the system ID.
Other hosts will continue to see a newly exported VG as foreign because of local
caching (when lvmetad is used). Manually updating the local lvmetad cache with
pvscan --cache will allow a host to recognize the newly exported VG.
vgimport sets the VG system ID to the system ID of the host doing the import.
vgimport automatically scans storage for newly exported VGs.
After vgimport, the exporting host may continue to see the VG as exported, and
not owned by the new host. Manually updating the local cache with pvscan
--cache will allow a host to recognize the newly imported VG as foreign.
A host can change the system ID of its own VGs, but the command requires
confirmation because the host may lose access to the VG being changed:
vgchange --systemid SystemID VG
The system ID can be removed from a VG by specifying an empty string
("") as the new system ID. This makes the VG accessible to other
hosts (see warnings above.)
A host cannot directly change the system ID of a foreign VG.
To move a VG from one host to another, vgexport and vgimport should be used.
To forcibly gain ownership of a foreign VG, a host can temporarily add the
foreign system ID to its extra_system_ids list, and change the system ID of
the foreign VG to its own. See Overriding system ID above.
A shared/lockd VG has no system ID set, allowing multiple hosts to use it via
lvmlockd. Changing a VG to a lockd type will clear the existing system ID.
Applicable only if LVM is compiled with lockd support.
A clustered/clvm VG has no system ID set, allowing multiple hosts to use it via
clvmd. Changing a VG to clustered will clear the existing system ID. Changing
a VG to not clustered will set the system ID to the host running the vgchange
In vgcreate, the VG metadata field creation_host is set by default to the host's
uname. The creation_host cannot be changed, and is not used to control access.
When system_id_source is "uname", the system_id and creation_host
fields will be the same.
Orphan PVs are unused devices; they are not currently used in any VG. Because of
this, they are not protected by a system ID, and any host can use them.
Coordination of changes to orphan PVs is beyond the scope of system ID. The
same is true of any block device that is not a PV.
The effects of this are especially evident when LVM uses lvmetad caching. For
example, if multiple hosts see an orphan PV, and one host creates a VG using
the orphan, the other hosts will continue to report the PV as an orphan.
Nothing would automatically prevent the other hosts from using the newly
allocated PV and corrupting it. If the other hosts run a command to rescan
devices, and update lvmetad, they would then recognize that the PV has been
used by another host. A command that rescans devices could be pvscan --cache,
or vgs --foreign.