12.2. Laptop network configuration

12.2. Laptop network configuration

The challenge in running Red Hat Virtualization on a laptop is that most laptops will connected to the network via wireless network or wired connections. Often these connections are switched multiple times a day. In such an environment Red Hat Virtualization does not behave well as it assumes it has access to the same interface all the time and it also can perform ifup or ifdown calls to the network interface it is using. In addition wireless network cards do not work well in a Red Hat Virtualization environment due to Red Hat Virtualization's (default) bridged network usage.

This setup will also enable you to run Red Hat Virtualization in offline mode when you have no active network connection on your laptop. The easiest solution to run Red Hat Virtualization on a laptop is to follow the procedure outlined below:

Configuring a dummy network interface

Perform the following configuration steps on your host/Dom0:

  1. create a dummy0 network interface and assign it a static IP address. In our example I selected to avoid routing problems in our environment. To enable dummy device support add the following lines to /etc/modprobe.conf

    alias dummy0 dummy
    options dummy numdummies=1
  2. To configure networking for dummy0 edit/create /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-dummy0:

  3. Bind xenbr0 to dummy0, so you can use networking even when not connected to a physical network. Edit /etc/xen/xend-config.sxp to include the netdev=dummy0 entry:

    (network-script 'network-bridge bridge=xenbr0 netdev=dummy0')
  4. Open /etc/sysconfig/network in the guest and modify the default gateway to point to dummy0. If you are using a static IP, set the guest's IP address to exist on the same subnet as dummy0.

  5. Setting up NAT in the host will allow the guests access internet, including with wireless, solving the Red Hat Virtualization and wireless card issues. The script below will enable NAT based on the interface currently used for your network connection.

Configuring NAT(network address translation) for Red Hat Virtualization

Network address translation(NAT) allows multiple network address to connect through a single IP address by intercepting packets and passing them to the private IP addresses. You can copy the following script to /etc/init.d/xenLaptopNAT and create a soft link to /etc/rc3.d/S99xenLaptopNAT. this automatically starts NAT at boot time.

NetworkManager and wireless NAT

The script below may not work well with wireless network or NetworkManager due to start up delays. In this case run the script manually once the machine has booted.

export PATH
GATEWAYDEV=`ip route | grep default | awk {'print $5'}`
iptables -F
case "$1" in
	if test -z "$GATEWAYDEV"; then
	echo "No gateway device found"
	echo  "Masquerading using $GATEWAYDEV"
	/sbin/iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o $GATEWAYDEV -j MASQUERADE
	echo "Enabling IP forwarding"
	echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
	echo "IP forwarding set to `cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward`"
	echo "done."
echo "Usage: $0 {start|restart|status}"

Configuring dnsmasq for the DNS, DHCP and tftpboot services

One of the challenges in running Red Hat Virtualization on a laptop (or any other computer which is not connected by a single or stable network connection) is the change in network interfaces and availability. Using a dummy network interface helps to build a more stable environment but it also brings up new challenges in providing DHCP, DNS and tftpboot services to your virtual machines/guests. The default DHCP daemon shipped with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora Core will not listen on dummy interfaces, your DNS forwarded information may change as you connect to different networks and VPNs.

One solution to the above challenges is to use dnsmasq which can provide all of the above service in a single package and will also allow you to control its service only being available to requests from your dummy interface. Below is a short write up on how to configure dnsmasq on a laptop running Red Hat Virtualization:

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