netns: Issues with deleting virtual interfaces during namespace cleanup

Daniel Lezcano daniel.lezcano at
Sat Feb 26 14:32:10 PST 2011

On 02/26/2011 05:59 PM, Ward, David - 0663 - MITLL wrote:
> (Apologies for the cross-post, but Thunderbird messed up the formatting
> when I sent this originally, and then I realized I sent it to the wrong
> list.)
> A patch was applied to the kernel in November 2008 that deletes virtual
> network interfaces when network namespaces are cleaned up
> (d0c082cea6dfb9b674b4f6e1e84025662dbd24e8). A discussion about this
> patch took place on this list
> (,
> where Daniel Lezcano wrote:
>  > After discussing with Benjamin, this patch means an user can no longer
>  > manage a pool of virtual devices because they will be automatically
>  > destroyed when the namespace exits. I don't think it is a big concern,
>  > but just in case I am asking :)
> I currently have two use cases where this behavior is not desirable:
> 1. I use a veth pair device to connect two containers together (as
> opposed to connecting a container to the host). To do this, I
> create the veth pair device manually in the host with iproute2
> ("ip link add type veth"). Then when I start each container, it
> pulls in one of the interfaces of the veth pair device with
> " = phys". When I stop one of the containers, its
> interface to the veth pair device is deleted instead of moved back
> to the host, so I can not just start the stopped container again
> and re-establish the same link.

Maybe you can rely on the lxc configuration to do that.

Assuming you create the two container always in the same order.

The first one:

The second one

The drawback is you have to stop / start both of them.

Otherwise, why don't you use the macvlan configuration ?

For both containers:

> 2. I start a process in the host that creates a TUN/TAP interface,
> such as a VPN client. I pull the TUN/TAP interface into the
> container with " = phys". When the container
> exits, the TUN/TAP interface is deleted because it is a virtual
> interface, while the VPN client process continues to run in the
> host. Again I can not just start the container again with the
> same connection; I have to restart the VPN client.
> It makes sense that virtual network interfaces that get created inside a
> container should be deleted when the container exits. However, I feel
> that network interfaces from the host that get assigned to the container
> should be returned to the host when the container exits, whether they
> are physical or virtual.

Wouldn't make sense to add a configuration option for lxc to create such 
device and handle the vpn client ?

There is the option where you can launch your vpn 
client. So adding the tun/tap interface as a network option, lxc will 
create it for you and when it is up, the up script is invoked where the 
vpn client is launched.

The does not exist yet, but it is quite easy to 
add the option.

What do you think ?

> Can the kernel distinguish between network interfaces that were created
> inside the namespace, and network interfaces that were moved there?

IMHO that will add more complexity to the network namespace, especially 
to handle the nested namespaces. Furthermore that will impact the 
current design. I am not really in favor of that as that was initial 
behavior and there were limitations.

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