entropy inside a virtual machine

Sometimes my ceph-(test!)deployments inside a VM failed.

The Problem is that the kernel/cpu can not provide enough entropy (random numbers) for the ceph-create-keys command – so it stuck/hang. It is not a ceph problem! This can also happen with ssl commands.

But first things first – we need to check the available entropy on a system:

cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/entropy_avail

The read-only file entropy_avail gives the available entropy.
Normally, this will be 4096 (bits), a full entropy pool (see man 4 random)

Values less than 100-200, means you have a problem!

For a virtual machine we can create a new device – virtio-rng. Here is a xml example for libvirt.

<rng model='virtio'>
  <backend model='random'>/dev/random</backend>
</rng>

That is ok for ONE virtual machine on the hypervisor. Usually we find more than one virtual machine. Therefore we need to install the rng-tools package on the virtual machines.

$pkgmgr install rng-tools
systemctl enable rngd
systemctl start rngd

That’s it! That solved a lot of my problems 😉

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