Linux KVM: Openvswitch on Debian Wheezy

Among a great many other things, openvswitch is an alternative to managing your virtual networking stacks for KVM with bridge-utils. It supports VLANs, LACP, QoS, sFlow, and so forth.  Listed below are the steps required to get openvswitch running on Debian 7.0 (wheezy).

This article is written with the presumption that you are running a source-installed kernel (3.6.6 with the openvswitch module in this case), and want to use the latest openvswitch from git.

Install prerequisites

Apply any available updates, get all the build dependencies for openvswitch, and install module-assistant.

apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade
apt-get install build-essential
apt-get build-dep openvswitch
apt-get install module-assistant

Prep your environment

bridge-utils has a kernel modules that conflicts with the brcompat module in openvswitch. Lets remove that and at the same time stop libvirt and KVM for a bit.

apt-get remove --purge bridge-utils
/etc/init.d/libvirt-bin stop
/etc/init.d/qemu-kvm stop

Build openvswitch

Clone the openvswitch git repo and build debian packages from it.

git clone git://
cd openvswitch
dpkg-buildpackage -b

Install the packages you just built.

cd ../
dpkg -i openvswitch-switch_1.9.90-1_amd64.deb openvswitch-common_1.9.90-1_amd64.deb \
openvswitch-brcompat_1.9.90-1_amd64.deb openvswitch-datapath-source_1.9.90-1_all.deb \
openvswitch-controller_1.9.90-1_amd64.deb openvswitch-pki_1.9.90-1_all.deb

Build openvswitch-datapath for your running kernel.

module-assistant auto-install openvswitch-datapath

Configure brcompat to load on startup.

sed -i 's/# BRCOMPAT=no/BRCOMPAT=yes/' /etc/default/openvswitch-switch

Verify your configuration

At this point you should reboot and verify that the proper modules are loaded, the service starts normally, and the status output is correct.

[email protected]:~$ lsmod | grep brcompat
brcompat               12982  0 
openvswitch            73431  1 brcompat

[email protected]:~$ /etc/init.d/openvswitch-switch restart
[ ok ] Killing ovs-brcompatd (5439).
[ ok ] Killing ovs-vswitchd (5414).
[ ok ] Killing ovsdb-server (5363).
[ ok ] Starting ovsdb-server.
[ ok ] Configuring Open vSwitch system IDs.
[ ok ] Starting ovs-vswitchd.
[ ok ] Starting ovs-brcompatd.

[email protected]:~$ /etc/init.d/openvswitch-switch status
ovsdb-server is running with pid 6281
ovs-vswitchd is running with pid 6332
ovs-brcompatd is running with pid 6357

And that’s it! You now have a working openvswitch installation upon which you can do all the usual things you did with bridge-utils, and so much more.

openais: an alternative to clvm with cman

I’ve been battling lately with a lot of problems with cman, part of Red Hat Cluster Suite. Specifically, the fencing tool (fenced) is pretty much junk when you try to start using it with Xen dom0’s. After much searching and gnashing of teeth I happened upon this mailing list post. The promise there is that you could take clvm and compile it against openais and get a cluster aware LVM which doesnt require the rest of Red Hat Cluster Suite (and its crappy documentation, crappy fencing, and general all around crappiness). A little more searching turned up this web site from Olivier Le Cam which pretty much did 90% of the work for me.

After some testing I’m happy to say it appears to work smashingly. What follows is a somewhat more complete version of how to achieve the same results on Debian Lenny. Enjoy :)

Continue reading openais: an alternative to clvm with cman

diskless booting with PXE and NFS

For a long time now I’ve wanted to set up all my mythfrontends to be diskless nodes that boot via PXE using an NFS share as their root filesystem. I finally got around to doing this. I was even able to just migrate my existing installations directly into the PXE boot environment. Here is how I accomplished it…

Continue reading diskless booting with PXE and NFS

VLAN Bridging in Xen

Recently I came upon the need to do all my network routing and firewalling inside a Xen domU. I am not the first to do this but I thought I’d do a little write up on it to help others trying to accomplish the same thing in Debian.

The idea here is to end up with (at least) two VLANs on the network with the dom0 and domU’s being able to choose one or both networks on which to exist. In the case of both, you can set up a handy domU firewall/gateway :)

As you can see from the diagram above, we will end up with three bridges in the dom0 with all the appropriate glue to tie everything together. Best of all, this is all assembled on the fly during bootup.

Continue reading VLAN Bridging in Xen