Creating an Ubuntu 11.04 KVM Networked Bridge Interface

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Installing and Configuring Ubuntu 11.04 KVM VirtualizationConfiguring a New Ubuntu 11.04 KVM Virtual Network


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By default, the KVM virtualization environment on Ubuntu 11.04 only creates a virtual network to which virtual machines may connect. The goal of this chapter is to cover the steps involved in creating a network bridge on Ubuntu 11.04 enabling guest systems to share one or more of the host system’s physical network connections.

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[edit] Ubuntu Virtual Networks and Network Bridges

A KVM virtual machine running on Ubuntu has two options in terms of networking connectivity.

One option is for it to be connected to a virtual network running within the operating system of the host computer. In this configuration any virtual machines on the virtual network can see each other but access to the external network is provided by Network Address Translation (NAT). When using the virtual network and NAT, each virtual machine is represented on the external network (the network to which the host is connected) using the IP address of the host system. This is the default behavior for KVM virtualization and requires no additional configuration, other than selecting the Virtual network option on the advanced settings section of the summary screen of the virt-manager New VM wizard. Typically, a single virtual network is created by default, represented by the name default and the device virbr0.

In order for guests to appear as individual and independent systems on the external network (i.e. with their own IP addresses), they must be configured to share a physical network interface on the host. This is achieved by configuring a network bridge interface on the host system to which the guests can connect. In the remainder of this chapter we will cover the steps necessary to configure an Ubuntu 11.04 network bridge for use by KVM based guest operating systems.

[edit] Installing the Network Bridge Package Requirements

The creation of a network bridge involves the use of the qemu, libcap2-bin and bridge-utils packages, each of which may be installed from within a terminal window using the following command:

sudo apt-get install qemu libcap2-bin bridge-utils

[edit] Configuring Network Administration Capabilities

In order to allow the creation of a network bridge it is first necessary to allocate some network configuration permissions to the current user (i.e. the user that will be logged in during the bridge creation process). The first step in achieving this goal is to run the following command in a terminal window:

For 64-bit Ubuntu hosts:

sudo setcap cap_net_admin=ei /usr/bin/qemu-system-x86_64

For 32-bit Ubuntu hosts:

sudo setcap cap_net_admin=ei /usr/bin/qemu-system-i386

Next, edit the /etc/security/capability.conf file using your preferred editor. For example:

sudo gedit /etc/security/capability.conf

Within the editor, add a line to the file that reads as follows (where <username> is replaced by the user that will be logged in when the network bridge is created):

cap_net_admin <username>

Once the line has been added, save the file and exit from the editor.

[edit] Identifying Physical Network Connections

With the requisite packages installed and permissions configured it is now time to look at the current network configuration. The easiest way to do this is to run the ifconfig command. The following shows output from running ifconfig on a system on which KVM is installed, but on which a network bridge has yet to be configured:

eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:18:e7:16:da:65
          UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)
          Interrupt:16 Base address:0xb800

eth1      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:13:72:0b:14:57
          inet addr:192.168.2.18  Bcast:192.168.2.255  Mask:255.255.255.0
          inet6 addr: fe80::213:72ff:fe0b:1457/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:13561 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:5833 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:7549871 (7.5 MB)  TX bytes:784862 (784.8 KB)
          Interrupt:17 Memory:fe3e0000-fe400000

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback
          inet addr:127.0.0.1  Mask:255.0.0.0
          inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:16436  Metric:1
          RX packets:96383 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:96383 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
          RX bytes:175806587 (175.8 MB)  TX bytes:175806587 (175.8 MB)

virbr0    Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:00:00:00:00:00
          inet addr:192.168.122.1  Bcast:192.168.122.255  Mask:255.255.255.0
          inet6 addr: fe80::7ce4:c9ff:fe4f:d4c0/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:5308 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:6351 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
          RX bytes:417587 (417.5 KB)  TX bytes:6691251 (6.6 MB)

In the above output, the entry for eth1 represents a physical network adaptor on the host computer with a presence on the external network represented by the IP address 192.168.2.18. This is the connection currently used by this host to access the external network. The virbr0 entry represents the virtual network to which guest operating systems will connect if configured to do so. In order to provide the option for guest operating systems to share the eth1 connection of the host it is necessary to establish a network bridge between eth1 and the virtual machines.

[edit] Configuring the Network Bridge

Begin the bridge creation process by editing the /etc/network/interfaces file:

sudo gedit /etc/network/interfaces

If you would like the network bridge to obtain an IP address from a DHCP server on the external network, modify the file so that it reads as follows (keeping in mind that your network device may not be eth1):

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth1
iface eth1 inet manual

auto br0
iface br0 inet dhcp
        bridge_ports eth1
        bridge_stp off
        bridge_fd 0
        bridge_maxwait 0

If, on the other hand, you would like to assign static IP information to the bridge device, modify the file accordingly (substituting your own static IP information in place of the example values provided):

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth1
iface eth1 inet manual

auto br0
iface br0 inet static
        address 192.168.2.100
        network 192.168.2.0
        netmask 255.255.255.0
        broadcast 192.168.2.255
        gateway 192.168.2.1
        bridge_ports eth1
        bridge_stp off
        bridge_fd 0
        bridge_maxwait 0

Once the changes have been made, save the configuration file and exit from the editor session. Finally, restart the networking services on the host using the following command:

sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

[edit] Checking for the Presence of the Bridge

Using the ifconfig command once again, the new bridge interface should now be visible:

br0       Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:13:72:0b:14:57
          inet addr:192.168.2.18  Bcast:255.255.255.255  Mask:255.255.255.0
          inet6 addr: fe80::213:72ff:fe0b:1457/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:3823 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:2193 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
          RX bytes:4433459 (4.4 MB)  TX bytes:199714 (199.7 KB)

eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:18:e7:16:da:65
          UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)
          Interrupt:16 Base address:0xb800

eth1      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:13:72:0b:14:57
          inet6 addr: fe80::213:72ff:fe0b:1457/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:17417 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:8184 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:12075177 (12.0 MB)  TX bytes:1003193 (1.0 MB)
          Interrupt:17 Memory:fe3e0000-fe400000

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback
          inet addr:127.0.0.1  Mask:255.0.0.0
          inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:16436  Metric:1
          RX packets:105767 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:105767 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
          RX bytes:204343793 (204.3 MB)  TX bytes:204343793 (204.3 MB)

virbr0    Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:00:00:00:00:00
          inet addr:192.168.122.1  Bcast:192.168.122.255  Mask:255.255.255.0
          inet6 addr: fe80::7ce4:c9ff:fe4f:d4c0/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:5308 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:6373 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
          RX bytes:417587 (417.5 KB)  TX bytes:6692359 (6.6 MB)

vnet0     Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr fe:54:00:85:24:05
          inet6 addr: fe80::fc54:ff:fe85:2405/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:152 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:524 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:500
          RX bytes:17403 (17.4 KB)  TX bytes:77444 (77.4 KB)

[edit] Configuring the Ubuntu Firewall for a Network Bridge

If a firewall is enabled on the Ubuntu host, it may be necessary to add an iptables rule to allow network traffic via the bridge interface. This is achieved by adding a rule similar to the following to the /etc/sysconfig/iptables configuration file:

-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -i br0 -j ACCEPT

[edit] Configuring a Virtual Machine to use the Network Bridge

Within the virt-manager tool, the networking menu under the Advanced options section of the final page of the new virtual machine creation wizard includes an option to Specify shared device name. Select this option and enter the name of the bridge (in this case br0) into the text box provided:

Configuring a new Ubuntu 11.04 KVM guest to use a network bridge


When this option is selected for a virtual machine it will have access to the external network using the same physical network device used by the host, but now using its own IP address.  

Purchase and download the full version of this eBook in PDF & ePub formats for only $12.99
PDF/ePub version contains 39 chapters and 255 pages. Download preview.

Add to Cart



PreviousTable of ContentsNext
Installing and Configuring Ubuntu 11.04 KVM VirtualizationConfiguring a New Ubuntu 11.04 KVM Virtual Network
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