Removing virbr0 or Why The Fsck is My Dom0 NATting?

I noticed one of my new Xen dom0s was coughing up our friend, the ip_conntrack: table full, dropping packet message today. If you like to get your money's worth out of your dedis the RAM available to dom0 is probably limited - meaning a correspondingly low default ip_conntrack_max. I'm sure you can see how this might be a problem, even more so if it is lower than the ip_conntrack_max of your virtual machines.

None of my previous CentOS dedis had NAT/conntrack modules loaded by default and this dom0 had no need for NAT - being of a fully bridged configuration and routing only public IPs. My first guess was that this dedi's redhatty initrd loaded the modules through the typical mash-everything-against-the-kernel-and-see-what-sticks approach so I tried removing the NAT and connection tracking related modules:

# rmmod iptable_nat
ERROR: Module iptable_nat is in use

OK, let's take a look at the tables:

[[email protected] ~]# iptables-save
# Generated by iptables-save v1.3.5 on Sat Jul 21 21:27:40 2012
-A POSTROUTING -s -d ! -p tcp -j MASQUERADE --to-ports 1024-65535 
-A POSTROUTING -s -d ! -p udp -j MASQUERADE --to-ports 1024-65535 

It seems I have a subnet I was not aware of...

virbr0    Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:00:00:00:00:00  
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0 
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 b)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 b)

Who put that there? libvirt, apparently. According to that article not only is our problem ip_conntrack_max, but:

However, NAT slows down things and only recommended for desktop installations.

Seems highly logical to me. Their solution didn't look very permanent so I first deleted the symlink in the autostart directory for "default":

# cd /etc/libvirt/qemu/networks/autostart/
# ls -lsah
total 16K
8.0K drwx------ 2 root root 4.0K Jul 21 21:17 .
8.0K drwx------ 3 root root 4.0K May 14 09:18 ..
   0 lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root   14 Jul 21 21:17 default.xml -> ../default.xml
# mv default.xml
# cd ..
# cp default.xml ~/
# /etc/init.d/libvirtd restart

That didn't do anything at all. Still had virbr0, still had the iptables rules and still had the kernel modules.


Apparently that was the wrong thing to do. All of my interfaces, bridges, etc seemed to come back up (except virbr0) and the NAT/conntrack modules were missing but not a single VM was routing.

On to their method:

# virsh net-destroy default
# virsh net-undefine default
# service libvirtd restart

Everything looks great. You still have the NAT/conntrack modules loaded but we should be able to take those out one by one.

# lsmod | grep nat
iptable_nat            40517  0 
ip_nat                 52973  2 ipt_MASQUERADE,iptable_nat
ip_conntrack           91749  4 ipt_MASQUERADE,iptable_nat,ip_nat,xt_state
nfnetlink              40457  2 ip_nat,ip_conntrack
ip_tables              55329  2 iptable_nat,iptable_filter
x_tables               50377  7 xt_physdev,ipt_MASQUERADE,iptable_nat,xt_state,ipt_REJECT,xt_tcpudp,ip_tables


Boned again.`Now default.xml is missing (I'm assuming that's what net-destroy does) - good thing we made a backup first!

# cd /etc/libvirt/qemu/networks/
# cp ~/default.xml ./
# ln -s default.xml autostart/
# reboot

OK. Screw it. We'll do it the hard way.

ifconfig virbr0 down
iptables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -s -d ! -p tcp -j MASQUERADE --to-ports 1024-65535
iptables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -s -d ! -p udp -j MASQUERADE --to-ports 1024-65535
iptables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -s -d ! -j MASQUERADE
iptables -D INPUT -i virbr0 -p udp -m udp --dport 53 -j ACCEPT 
iptables -D INPUT -i virbr0 -p tcp -m tcp --dport 53 -j ACCEPT 
iptables -D INPUT -i virbr0 -p udp -m udp --dport 67 -j ACCEPT 
iptables -D INPUT -i virbr0 -p tcp -m tcp --dport 67 -j ACCEPT 
iptables -D FORWARD -d -o virbr0 -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT 
iptables -D FORWARD -s -i virbr0 -j ACCEPT 
iptables -D FORWARD -i virbr0 -o virbr0 -j ACCEPT 
iptables -D FORWARD -o virbr0 -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-port-unreachable 
iptables -D FORWARD -i virbr0 -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-port-unreachable
rmmod iptable_nat
rmmod ipt_MASQUERADE
rmmod ip_nat
rmmod xt_state
rmmod ip_conntrack



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