NetplanFor this weeks Bionic test blitz I am looking at Netplan! Netplan enables easily configuring networking on a syst
For this week’s Bionic test blitz I am looking at Netplan! Netplan enables easily configuring networking on a system via YAML files. Netplan processes the YAML and generates the required configurations for either NetworkManager or systemd-network the system’s renderer.
Netplan replaced ifupdown as the default configuration utility starting with Ubuntu 17.10 Artful.
When you install Bionic or use a cloud image of Bionic a file will appear in /etc/netplan depending on the renderer in use. Here is a breakdown of the various types:
Do note that configuration files can exist in three different locations with the precidence from most important to least as follows:
Alphabetically later files, no matter what directory they are in, will amend keys if the key does not already exist and override previous keys if they do.
The best method for demonstrating what netplan can do is by showing some examples. Keep in mind that these are very simple examples that do not demonstrate complex situations that netplan can handle.
The following configures four devices:
Bonding can easily be configured with the required interfaces list and by specifying the mode. The mode can be any of the valid types: balance-rr, active-backup, balance-xor, broadcast, 802.3ad, balance-tlb, balance-alb. See the bonding wiki page for more details.
Here is a very simple example of a bridge using DHCP:
Additional parameters can be passed in to turn off STP for example or set priorities.
Similarly, vlans only require a name as the key and then an id and link to use for the vlan:
While my configurations were not overly complex and only touched the surface of what netplan and networking can do I ran across a few issues and made a recommendation:
First, either the top level global routes are not supported (LP: #1720418) or the documentation is not correct (LP: #1726695). The README shows routes as a high-level key, but they are currently only supported at the interface level.
Second, there are numerous articles, examples, guides, and use-cases where an interfaces file is modified to include pre-up, pre-down, post-up, or post-down commands. Netplan does not currently have support for this (LP: #1664818). Here is a snip from the readme: “While the netplan configuration does not include support for hook scripts, you can add systemd unit jobs with the appropriate Requires: and After: fields to run arbitrary commands once the network is up.” I could only find one example of creating a systemd unit job to meet this need.
When attempting to use the ifupdown-migrate command I found it was unable to understand any static set interfaces (LP: #1709668).
Next, there is invalid YAML in docs (LP: #1735317). In YAML the colon ‘:’ is a reserved charachter and when the in-line array syntax can cause errors. For example:
# Correct, valid YAML
# Invalid YAML
If you must use the in-line array then put quotes around your strings containing special character like the colon. Also I suggest using a YAML syntax validator or linter to check your configuration files.
Finally, I requested a dry run or config test option (LP: #1735318). After trying to write numerous configurations to try different settings I got frustrated needing to move the configurations to a different system or in a container to test them without touching my local system.
I was left with an overall very positive impression of netplan. Having the ability to write YAML configuration files and not have to worry about how the actual configuration was generated or what commands need to be used depending on the backend simplifies the process. I would like to continue to attempt some more complex configurations that I can find as well as attempt additional test cases with the ifupdown-migrate subcommand.
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