Starting an instance on an attached volume

Find out how to start an instance on an attached volume

Last updated 1st November 2021


Cloud servers come with an original disk that is copied from a system image (Debian 8, Windows 10, etc.). It is also possible to use additional volumes, these are persistent disks that will allow to store data.

It is also possible to deploy an operating system to and from a volume. The cloud server will then start on this volume instead of the original disk.

This guide provides you with instructions on how to start an instance on an attached volume.


Openstack natively allows you to boot from a volume. It involves making the volume bootable and starting the instance from this volume. The changes will cause the original disk to disappear as the new volume is taking over. The functionality described in this guide eliminates the need to access the original disk and therefore takes advantage of the volume.


Configuring the volume

Making the volume as the priority device in the boot order.

A metadata must be added to the volume so that the instance can prioritize the volume during the boot phase.

cinder metadata 897ec71d-bae2-4394-b8c1-4d8fd373a725 set boot_from=True

Attaching the volume

Once the volume has been configured with the metadata boot_from to True, the volume needs to be attached to the instance.

nova volume-attach myinstance01 897ec71d-bae2-4394-b8c1-4d8fd373a72

Rebooting the instance

In order for the instance to start on the volume, it will need to be rebooted.
This can be done by using nova stop and nova start commands, or by a forced reboot.

nova reboot --hard myinstance01

A "soft" reboot is not sufficient for this task.

To make sure the boot order has been properly set on the volume, you can verify the mount points with the following command:

$ lsblk
vda    252:0    0  10G  0 disk
└─vda1 252:1    0  10G  0 part
vdb    252:16   0  15G  0 disk
└─vdb1 252:17   0  15G  0 part /

The mount point / is properly mounted from /dev/vdb1.

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