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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 Essentials Book now available.

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 Essentials Print and eBook (PDF) editions contain 34 chapters and 298 pages

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Chapter 10. Network Configuration

This page provides an introduction to the common networking configurations used by libvirt based applications. For additional information consult the libvirt network architecture documentation:
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 supports the following networking setups for virtualization:
  • virtual networks using Network Address Translation (NAT)
  • directly allocated physical devices using PCI passthrough or SR-IOV.
  • bridged networks
You must enable NAT, network bridging or directly share a physical device to allow external hosts access to network services on virtualized guests.

10.1. Network Address Translation (NAT) with libvirt

One of the most common methods for sharing network connections is to use Network Address Translation (NAT) forwarding (also know as virtual networks).
Host configuration
Every standard libvirt installation provides NAT based connectivity to virtual machines out of the box. This is the so called 'default virtual network'. Verify that it is available with the virsh net-list --all command.
# virsh net-list --all
Name                 State      Autostart 
default              active     yes
If it is missing, the example XML configuration file can be reloaded and activated:
# virsh net-define /usr/share/libvirt/networks/default.xml
The default network is defined from /usr/share/libvirt/networks/default.xml
Mark the default network to automatically start:
# virsh net-autostart default
Network default marked as autostarted
Start the default network:
# virsh net-start default
Network default started
Once the libvirt default network is running, you will see an isolated bridge device. This device does not have any physical interfaces added. The new device uses NAT and IP forwarding to connect to outside world. Do not add new interfaces.
# brctl show
bridge name     bridge id               STP enabled     interfaces
virbr0          8000.000000000000       yes
libvirt adds iptables rules which allow traffic to and from guests attached to the virbr0 device in the INPUT, FORWARD, OUTPUT and POSTROUTING chains. libvirt then attempts to enable the ip_forward parameter. Some other applications may disable ip_forward, so the best option is to add the following to /etc/sysctl.conf.
 net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1
Guest configuration
Once the host configuration is complete, a guest can be connected to the virtual network based on its name. To connect a guest to the 'default' virtual network, the following could be used in the XML configuration file (such as /etc/libvirtd/qemu/myguest.xml) for the guest:
<interface type='network'>
   <source network='default'/>


Defining a MAC address is optional. A MAC address is automatically generated if omitted. Manually setting the MAC address may be useful to maintain consistency or easy reference throughout your environment, or to avoid the very small chance of a conflict.
<interface type='network'>
  <source network='default'/>
  <mac address='00:16:3e:1a:b3:4a'/>

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