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The goal of this small document is to explain how to install LXC and how to create templates on top of Debian Squeeze. One show how to create typical templates that supports static IP or DHCP as debian 6 or centos 5 linux container.

Install Debian

Choose your install mode from: Debian Web Site and install debian Squeeze version or a more recent one.

Install LXC

apt-get install lxc bridge-utils resolvconf cgroup-bin netmask rinse dpkg-dev sudo

optionnally you may like to

apt-get install subversion bzr git 

if you use this for continuous integration


You may need to create cgroup directory:

mkdir /cgroup

Modify /etc/fstab and add the following:

none  /cgroup  cgroup  defaults  0  0

but it looks like on squeeze the cgroup mount is handled by some start scripts that mount cgroup on /mnt/cgroup (see /etc/cgconfig.conf)

Ubuntu 11.04 / Natty

On Natty you don't need to mount cgroup virtual filesystem manually, it's already done by default. However, lxc package has some configuration bug. You can either:

  • Install oneiric package (not tested) or
  • Modify /etc/cgconfig.conf to (see comment):
mount {
  cpu = /sys/fs//cgroup/cpu;
  cpuacct = /sys/fs/cgroup/cpu;
  devices = /sys/fs/cgroup/cpu;
  memory = /sys/fs/cgroup/cpu;

Network Bridging Setup

Edit /etc/network/interfaces

In the following, we distinguish the two cases : your server/desktop runs Static IP or DHCP.

If you use static IP

You may use the following template example, replacing values with your network parameters:

auto lo 
iface lo inet loopback
auto br0
iface br0 inet static
       bridge_ports eth0
       bridge_fd 0
       dns-search fusionforge.org

If you use DHCP

auto lo 
iface lo inet loopback
auto br0
iface br0 inet dhcp
       bridge_ports eth0
       bridge_fd 0

You may now reboot your server/desktop and see if everything is ok you may run mount :

root@g-virtual05:~# mount
/dev/sda1 on / type ext3 (rw,errors=remount-ro)
tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755) 
proc on /proc type proc (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=620)
cgroup on /cgroup type cgroup (rw)
fusectl on /sys/fs/fuse/connections type fusectl (rw)
binfmt_misc on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type binfmt_misc (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)

you must have a cgroup line in the list.

Bridge with a local network

This one is nice if you don't want to modify your main interface and have a local isolated network Here is a working sample

# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).
# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface 
allow-hotplug eth0
iface eth0 inet static
	# dns-* options are implemented by the resolvconf package, if installed
	dns-search local

# The following is a bit complex but allow not to touch eth0
# this requires uml-utilities 
# usermod -G uml-net jenkins
auto tap0
iface tap0 inet manual
       tunctl_user jenkins
       pre-up tunctl -u jenkins -t tap0
       up ifconfig tap0 up
       down ifconfig tap0 down
       post-down tunctl -d tap0

auto br0
iface br0 inet static
       bridge_ports tap0
       bridge_stp off
       bridge_maxwait 5
       post-up echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
       post-up iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -s '' -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE
       post-up service isc-dhcp-server restart
       post-down iptables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -s '' -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE

Then you may install a dhcp server, with the file /etc/default/isc-dhcp-server set like this :

# Defaults for dhcp initscript
# sourced by /etc/init.d/dhcp
# installed at /etc/default/isc-dhcp-server by the maintainer scripts

# This is a POSIX shell fragment

# On what interfaces should the DHCP server (dhcpd) serve DHCP requests?
#       Separate multiple interfaces with spaces, e.g. "eth0 eth1".

And in the default /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf file I added at the end:

subnet netmask {
       option routers;
       option domain-name "local";
       option domain-name-servers,;

For the name resolution I install avahi in the lxc virtual machines and in lxc host server. then vhosts are available with their <servername>.local name.

Create your first Debian container

Create a config file

Edit config.debian6 with the following content

lxc.network.type = veth
lxc.network.flags = up
lxc.network.link = br0


Debian squeeze provides a set of predefined templates you can find in /usr/lib/lxc/templates/ directory, the syntax is lxc-<Template Name>, as the time I write busybox, debian, fedora, sshd, ubuntu. You can find extra templates to copy in this dir in fusionforge svn repository, get them using

apt-get install subversion
svn checkout svn://scm.fusionforge.org/svn/fusionforge/trunk/tests/lxc

Create the container

As root user or using sudo

sudo apt-get install debootstrap
sudo /usr/bin/lxc-create -n debian6.local -f config.debian6 -t debian6

where :

  • debian6.local is the hostname
  • config.debian6 is the config file
  • debian6 (after -t) is the template name

lxc-create calls /usr/lib/lxc/templates/lxc-debian6 script (lxc-template_name). this script copie the files cached in /var/cache/lxc/debian/rootfs-squeeze-amd64/ (rootfs-distro-arch) to /var/lib/lxc/debian6.local

If the cache does not exist it will be created using deboostrap

when you update the script, run

rm -rf /var/cache/lxc/debian/rootfs-squeeze-amd64

if you want your changes to be taken in account

tip for curious people

diff  /usr/lib/lxc/templates/lxc-debian  /usr/lib/lxc/templates/lxc-debian6

Extra Config

Some extra config is embedded in the lxc-* scripts, such as dhcp, hostname, caching host keys, caching mac address. Config file can be completed like this.

lxc.network.type = veth
lxc.network.flags = up
lxc.network.link = br0
#lxc.pubkey = /var/lib/jenkins/.ssh/id_rsa.pub
lxc.network.ipv4 =
lxc.network.hwaddr = 00:16:3e:37:54:4d

lxc.pubkey must be commented, since it's not an lxc known parameter, it's taken in account by my modified scripts.

Start the container

sudo /usr/bin/lxc-start -n debian6.local -d

Enter the container

lxc-console -n debian6.local

you can exit typing <ctrl-a> q

Stop the container

lxc-stop -n debian6.local

Destroy the container

lxc-destroy -n debian6.local

Create your first centos container

It works like the debian container, just replace debian, with centos

You will need for recent version of Centos: to install:

  • rinse >= 1.8 (not available on debian stable at time of writting, you can download 1.9 from unstable on http://www.debian.org/distrib/packages with wget & install with dpkg -i)
  • netmask dpkg-dev (req. for dpkg-architecture)