Difference between revisions of "Network Configuration Examples (Xen 4.1+)"

From Xen
(Expand on Proxy ARP.)
(Remove debian "dummy" example. It is just a complicated way of setting up an internal bridge (shown in example 4))
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Further information about configuring bridging on Debian-like systems is available in the [http://wiki.debian.org/BridgeNetworkConnections Debian Wiki].
Further information is available in the [http://wiki.debian.org/BridgeNetworkConnections Debian Wiki].
==== Example Debian-style internal dummy network bridge configuration (e.g. Debian, Ubuntu) ====
The dummy virtual network devices have all the functionality of physical network interfaces are used to create private networks that do not have access to a physical network. These serve to connect [[DomUs]] to each other without connecting them to the outside world.
''Example 1: A internal bridged network using dummy interface:'' <code>/etc/network/interfaces</code>
auto dummy0
iface dummy0 inet manual
pre-up ifconfig $IFACE up
post-down ifconfig $IFACE down
auto xenbrdummy
iface xenbrdummy inet manual
bridge_ports dummy0
bridge_maxwait 0
bridge_stp off
==== Red Hat-style bridge configuration (e.g. RHEL, Fedora, CentOS) ====
==== Red Hat-style bridge configuration (e.g. RHEL, Fedora, CentOS) ====

Revision as of 11:27, 24 September 2012


When using the xl toolstack the host networking configuration is not configured by the toolstack but rather administrators are required to setup an appropriate network configuration using the tools provided by their host distribution.

There are two main styles of network setup for a Xen host, bridged and routed. The default and most common is bridged. See Xen Networking for a general discussion of what each of these options mean.

From Xen 4.1 onwards the xend toolstacks network-bridge script will only reconfigure the host network stack if the network stack does not appear to have been configured already (e.g. no bridges currently exist). This change allows administrators who wish to configure the network stack themselves to do so by default while preserving the existing behaviour for those who do not. Other network-* scripts will still unconditionally reconfigure networking when called by xend. To force xend to never try and reconfigure networking edit /etc/xen/xend-config.sxp and remove any (network-script ...) options.

Other toolstack's requirements may differ. e.g. XCP contains its own mechanisms for configuring networking which should be used instead.

When using bridging it is recommended to use the xenbrN naming convention for maximum compatibility.

Distribution Network Configuration Examples

The following sections contain examples of common network configurations for various Linux distributions.


A host with correctly configured bridged networking should have a bridge device (or "shared physical device" in libvirt terms), to which guests can be attached and have full LAN access. This can be seen in the output of the brctl show command.

 bridge name     bridge id               STP enabled     interfaces
 xenbr0          8000.000e0cb30550       yes             eth0

Note: Your system may be configured several bridges. e.g. libvirt will create a bridge called virbr0.

Disable Netfilter on Bridges (All Distributions)

In addition to the per distribution examples below it is highly recommended for performance and security reasons that netfilter is disabled on all bridges by adding the following to /etc/sysctl.conf. See Fedora Bug #512206 for more details.

net.bridge.bridge-nf-call-ip6tables = 0
net.bridge.bridge-nf-call-iptables = 0
net.bridge.bridge-nf-call-arptables = 0

Then run, as root:

# sysctl -p /etc/sysctl.conf

Alternatively you can configure iptables to allow all traffic to be forwarded across the bridge by adding the following rule:

-I FORWARD -m physdev --physdev-is-bridged -j ACCEPT

The manner in which this can be achieved is distro specific.

Example Debian-style bridge configuration (e.g. Debian, Ubuntu)

Under Debian (and its derivative distributions) the basic network configuration is managed by the ifupdown tool and configured via the /etc/network/interfaces configuration file which is described in the interfaces(5) man page. The Linux bridge configuration tools are supplied in the bridge-utils package which integrates support into /etc/network/interfaces as described in the bridge-utils-interfaces(5) man page.

The following examples show /etc/network/interfaces stanzas which setup common network configurations. Substitute xenbr0 and eth0 as necessary. In most cases you will also want to include an auto xenbr0 line to cause the bridge to be brought up on boot.

Note! The IP configuration of the bridge device should replace the IP configuration of the underlying interface, i.e. remove the IP settings from eth0 and move them to the bridge interface. eth0 will function purely as the physical uplink from the bridge so it can't have any IP (L3) settings on it!

Example 1: A single bridged network using eth0 configured with a local IP address via DHCP

iface xenbr0 inet dhcp
	bridge_ports eth0

Example 2: A single bridged network using eth0 configured with a static local IP address

iface xenbr0 inet static
        bridge_ports eth0

Example 3: A single bridged network using eth0 with no local IP address

iface xenbr0 inet manual
	bridge_ports eth0

Example 4: An internal bridge with no external connectivity. Note that $IFACE here can be entered literally, it is substituted automatically by ifupdown

iface xenbr0 inet manual
	pre-up brctl addbr $IFACE
	up ip link set $IFACE up
	post-down brctl delbr $IFACE
	down ip link set $IFACE down

Some other useful options to use in any stanza in a virtualised environment are:

	bridge_stp off		# disable Spanning Tree Protocol
	bridge_waitport 0	# no delay before a port becomes available
	bridge_fd 0		# no forwarding delay

Further information about configuring bridging on Debian-like systems is available in the Debian Wiki.

Red Hat-style bridge configuration (e.g. RHEL, Fedora, CentOS)

As of the time of writing (Fedora 12), NetworkManager still does not support bridging, so it is necessary to use "classic" network initscripts for the bridge, and to explicitly mark them as independent from NetworkManager (the "NM_CONTROLLED=no" lines in the scripts below).

If desired you can completely disable the NetworkManager by running the following commands:

Example 1: Disabling NetworkManager

# chkconfig NetworkManager off
# chkconfig network on
# service NetworkManager stop
# service network start

In order to create a bridged network configuration on a Red Hat-style system it is necessary to create two ifcfg configuration files under /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts//. The first configures the phyical network device to be placed on a specific bridge. The second (see Example 2 onwards) configures the bridge itself and includes any necessary IP address configuration.

All ifcfg files are case sensitive. In particular Bridge must be written exactly as shown.

Example 1: A physical network device on a bridge: /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0


Change the HWADDR to match your actual NIC's address. This configuration is the counterpart used by all of the following xenbr0 examples.

Example 2: A single bridged network configured with a local IP address via DHCP: /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-xenbr0


Example 3: A single bridged network configured with a static local IP address: /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-xenbr0


Example 4: A single bridged network with no local IP address: /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-xenbr0


Example 5: An internal bridge with no external connectivity: /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-xenbr0

An internal bridge can be created as per Example 4 but omitting the eth0 configuration shown in example 1.

Some other useful options to use in any stanza are:

MTU=9000                        # Configure Jumbo frames

After changing this restart networking by running:

# service network restart

As discussed above it is recommended to disable netfilter for bridges. However you can alternatively you can configure iptables to allow all traffic to be forwarded across the bridge as follows:

echo "-I FORWARD -m physdev --physdev-is-bridged -j ACCEPT" > /etc/sysconfig/iptables-forward-bridged
lokkit --custom-rules=ipv4:filter:/etc/sysconfig/iptables-forward-bridged
service libvirtd reload

Further information is available in the libvirt wiki.


In order to configure routed networking on a host it is necessary to enable IP forwarding on the host.

In addition unless you control the routing tables of the upstream gateway it will also be necessary to enable proxy ARP for the physical devices which will be handling traffic. This will cause the domain 0 kernel to reply to ARP requests on behalf of the guests in order to cause traffic for those guests to be routed to domain 0 such that they can be forwarded to the domain.

In these examples we assume that eth0 is the physical interface used to route traffic.

Enabling Routing (All Distributions)

These options are controlled via the sysctl interface and are documented in networking/ip-sysctl.txt in the Linux kernel source.

To enable these options edit the file /etc/sysctl.conf and add or uncomment the following lines:

net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1
net.ipv4.conf.eth0.proxy_arp = 1

To make this change take effect immediately run, as root:

# sysctl -p /etc/sysctl.conf