Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mucking around with IPv6 and illumos zones

The world is running out of IPv4 addresses, and it's time to move to IPv6.

I remember that story being told over and over at conferences in the mid 1990s. Yet, here we are in 2017 and while there has been progress, we're definitely not there yet.

With zones, illumos (and Solaris) give you virtualized application environments (containers is the trendy term - we tend not to use that in the Solarish context because it got polluted by Sun marketing). Those environments (usually) need to be networked, so why not with IPv6.

So here goes with a few notes on the subject.

Shared-IP zones

With zones, the original networking model was a shared-ip stack, where the zone is given a fully configured network that is just a virtual IP configured on an existing interface. All the setup is done in the global zone, which makes it very easy.

(By the way, this was the cause of the limit of 8192 zones per system, because you can only have 8192 virtual addresses on a single physical interface.)

And configuring an IPv4 address is just a case of adding a net section to the zone configuration:

add net
set physical=aggr1
set address=

It's exactly the same for IPv6, the only interesting issue is what the IPv6 address would be. Let's start with the link-local address - the one that starts with fe80:: - as you will generally need that even if you don't have a routed IPv6 network. For a physical interface, the IPv6 address is usually derived from the MAC address. We can't use that one, because we're sharing the interface and the global zone has already grabbed it. So the convention here is to construct something from the IPv4 address. It's then guaranteed to be unique in a broadcast network, which is all that matters for a link-local address. So all we have to do is convert the IPv4 address to hex, for example with printf:

printf "%x%x:%x%x\n" 172 18 1 172

which gives ac12:1ac, so the link-local address would be configured as:

add net
set physical=aggr1
set address=fe80::ac12:1ac/10

You're pretty much done here, if you do that your global and non-global zones will be able to communicate using IPv6 on the local subnet.

If you had a routable prefix, then the same scheme can be applied. Just put the fragment onto the end of your prefix.

add net
set physical=aggr1
set address=XXXX:XXXX:XXXX:XXXX::ac12:1ac/64

Of course, if you're assigned specific IPv6 addresses then you can use those directly. The above scheme is pretty trivial to script, though (and it actually makes it fairly easy to keep your DNS zone files up to date too).

Exclusive-IP zones

For an exclusive-ip zone, you just hand over a network interface to a zone and let it go figure. So it can assign whatever addresses it likes.

In particular, the zone can use the normal MAC address scheme to generate its IPv6 link-local address.

Originally in older Solaris, you needed to use a genuine physical interface. Which limited you a little bit as there are only so many network cards you can jam into a server. OpenSolaris introduced full network virtualization in the form of Crossbow, so any illumos distribution or Solaris 11 can create fully virtualized network stacks and present those to zones in the same way.

In Tribblix, I use zap to manage zones, and it takes care of creating the appropriate vnics and, if appropriate, etherstubs, and wiring things together. I also poke functional /etc/hostname.* and /etc/defaultrouter files into the zone so the networking at least gets configured when the zone boots. Adding IPv6 to the zone is simply a case of creating matching empty /etc/hostname6.* files (one for each vnic) and the IPv6 addresses will get autoconfigured.

There's one wrinkle with exclusive-ip that deserves a whole section, that of restricting the zone to only using addresses that you've set.

Restricting with allowed-address

Remember that an exclusive-ip zone can manage the network interface. So it could allocate the wrong address and generally cause havoc on the network. To prevent this, set the allowed-address property on the interface. For example:

add net
set physical=vnic1
set allowed-address=172.18.1

The zone manages the interface, but an attempt to configure an invalid address will be thwarted.

You can see what's happening under the hood by running dladm show-linkprop. You'll see that the protection and allowed-ips properties are set.

(As an aside, it would be fantastic if illumos got the configure-allowed-address feature that Solaris 11 has, which would bypass my trickery in having to poke the network setup files in the zone.)

The same thing works for IPv6. The first problem I discovered is that (unlike Solaris 11) illumos won't accept multiple addresses in a list. Initially I thought this was something about IPv6, but it turns out you need to specify each address you want to add in a separate block.

The next question is going to be - what is the IPv6 address going to be? It's derived from the MAC address, so isn't fixed in advance.

The first step is to get the properties of the vnic. Running dladm show-vnic will give you the properties you need, including the MAC address. If you just want the one field, that's fairly easy too.

# dladm show-vnic -p -o MACADDRESS vnic1

The IPv6 address is made up from that as a EUI-64 address, which is basically the fe80:: prefix, the first 3 octets, then ff:fe, then the last 3 octets. Oh, and the 7th bit gets flipped. And conventionally the leading zero gets suppressed. An ugly way of scripting this in ksh looks like:

/usr/sbin/dladm show-vnic -p -o MACADDRESS $VNIC | \
    /usr/bin/sed 's=:= =g' | read o1 o2 o3 o4 o5 o6
integer -i2 vi=16#$o1
integer -i2 nvi
nvi=$(($vi ^ 2#00000010))
integer -i16 xv=$nvi
if [ "$no1" = "0" ]; then

if [ "$no3" = "0" ]; then

if [ "$no5" = "0" ]; then

printf "fe80::%s%s:%sff:fe%s:%s%s/10" "$no1" "$o2" "$o3" "$o4" "$o5" "$o6"

So, what you want to do is add something like:

add net
set physical=vnic1
set allowed-address=fe80::8:20ff:fec6:71d/10

to your zone configuration. And if you have a routable IPv6 address, you'll need to duplicate the block again for that.

In practice, this didn't quite work for me. If you don't set the allowed-address properties then the addresses get configured correctly, but with the protection set the address doesn't come up properly. If you try it then you get:

# ifconfig vnic1 inet6 up
ifconfig: setifflags: SIOCSLIFFLAGS: vnic1: Invalid argument

However, if you explicitly set the address, running ifconfig by hand:

# ifconfig vnic1 inet6 fe80::8:20ff:fec6:71d/10 up

then it works perfectly.

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