2 Minutes to Docker MacVLAN Networking – A Beginners Guide

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes


Scenario:  Say, you have built Docker applications(legacy in nature like network traffic monitoring, system management etc.) which is expected to be directly connected to the underlying physical network. In this type of situation, you can use the macvlan network driver to assign a MAC address to each container’s virtual network interface, making it appear to be a physical network interface directly connected to the physical network.

Last year, I wrote a blog post on “How MacVLAN work under Docker Swarm?” for those users who want to assign underlying physical network address to Docker containers which runs various Swarm services. Do check it out.

Docker 17.06 Swarm Mode: Now with built-in MacVLAN & Node-Local Networks support

In case you’re completely new to Docker networking, when Docker is installed, a default bridge network named docker0 is created. Each new Docker container is automatically attached to this network. Besides docker0 , two other networks get created automatically by Docker: host (no isolation between host and containers on this network, to the outside world they are on the same network) and none (attached containers run on container-specific network stack)

Assume you have a clean Docker Host system with just 3 networks available – bridge, host and null

root@ubuntu:~# docker network ls
NETWORK ID          NAME                DRIVER              SCOPE
871f1f745cc4        bridge              bridge              local
113bf063604d        host                host                local
2c510f91a22d        none                null                local

My Network Configuration is quite simple. It has eth0 and eth1 interface. I will just use eth0.

root@ubuntu:~# ifconfig
docker0   Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 02:42:7d:83:13:8e
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          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)

eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr fe:05:ce:a1:2d:5d
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: fe80::fc05:ceff:fea1:2d5d/64 Scope:Link
          RX packets:923700 errors:0 dropped:367 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:56656 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:150640769 (150.6 MB)  TX bytes:5125449 (5.1 MB)
          Interrupt:31 Memory:ac000000-ac7fffff

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback
          inet addr:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:65536  Metric:1
          RX packets:45 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:45 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
          RX bytes:3816 (3.8 KB)  TX bytes:3816 (3.8 KB)

Creating MacVLAN network on top of eth0.

docker network create -d macvlan --subnet= --gateway=  -o parent=eth0 pub_net

Verifying MacVLAN network

root@ubuntu:~# docker network ls
NETWORK ID          NAME                DRIVER              SCOPE
871f1f745cc4        bridge              bridge              local
113bf063604d        host                host                local
2c510f91a22d        none                null                local
bed75b16aab8        pub_net             macvlan             local

Let us create a sample Docker Image and assign statics IP(ensure that it is from free pool)

root@ubuntu:~# docker  run --net=pub_net --ip= -itd alpine /bin/sh
Unable to find image 'alpine:latest' locally
latest: Pulling from library/alpine
ff3a5c916c92: Pull complete
Digest: sha256:e1871801d30885a610511c867de0d6baca7ed4e6a2573d506bbec7fd3b03873f
Status: Downloaded newer image for alpine:latest

Important Point: When using macvlan, you cannot ping or communicate with the default namespace IP address. For example, if you create a container and try to ping the Docker host’s eth0, it will not work. That traffic is explicitly filtered by the kernel modules themselves to offer additional provider isolation and security.

Enabling Container to Host Communication

It’s simple. Just run the below command:

Example: ip link add mac0 link $PARENTDEV type macvlan mode bridge

So, in our case, it will be:

ip link add mac0 link eth0 type macvlan mode bridge
ip addr add dev mac0
ifconfig mac0 up

Let us try creating container and pinging:

root@ubuntu:~# docker run --net=pub_net -d --ip= -p 81:80 nginx
root@ubuntu:~# ping
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=1.00 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=0.501 ms

Wow ! It just worked.

Did you find this blog helpful?  Feel free to share your experience. Get in touch @ajeetsraina.

If you are looking out for contribution/discussion, join me at Docker Community Slack Channel.

Walkthrough: Enabling IPv6 Functionality for Docker & Docker Compose

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

By default, Docker assigns IPv4 addresses to containers. Does Docker support IPv6 protocol too? If yes, how complicated is to get it enabled? Can I use docker-compose to build micro services which uses IPv6 addresses? What if I work for a company where our services run natively under IPv6 only environment? How shall I build Multi-Node Cluster setup using IPv6? Does Docker 17.06 Swarm Mode support IPv6?

I have been reading numerous queries, GITHUB issues around breaking IPv6 configuration while upgrading Docker version, issues related to IPv6 changes with host configuration etc. and just thought to share few of the findings around IPv6 effort ongoing in Docker upcoming releases.

Does Docker support IPv6 Protocol?

Yes. Support for IPv6 address has been there since Docker Engine 1.5 release.As of Docker 17.06 version (which is the latest stable release as of August 2017) by default, the Docker server configures the container network for IPv4 only. You can enable IPv4/IPv6 dualstack support by adding the below entry under daemon.json file as shown below:


File: /etc/docker/daemon.json

“ipv6”: true,
“fixed-cidr-v6”: “2001:db8:1::/64”

This is very similar to old way of running the Docker daemon with the --ipv6 flag. Docker will set up the bridge docker0 with the IPv6 link-local address fe80::1.

Why did we add “fixed-cidr-v6”: “2001:db8:1::/64” entry?

By default, containers that are created will only get a link-local IPv6 address. To assign globally routable IPv6 addresses to your containers you have to specify an IPv6 subnet to pick the addresses from. Setting the IPv6 subnet via the --fixed-cidr-v6 parameter when starting Docker daemon will help us achieve globally routable IPv6 address.

The subnet for Docker containers should at least have a size of /80. This way an IPv6 address can end with the container’s MAC address and you prevent NDP neighbor cache invalidation issues in the Docker layer.

With the --fixed-cidr-v6 parameter set Docker will add a new route to the routing table. Further IPv6 routing will be enabled (you may prevent this by starting dockerd with --ip-forward=false).

Let us closely examine the changes which Docker Host undergoes before & after IPv6 Enablement:

A Typical Host Network Configuration – Before IPv6 Enablement 


As shown above, before IPv6 protocol is enabled, the docker0 bridge network shows IPv4 address only.

Let us enable IPv6 on the Host system. In case you find daemon.json already created under /etc/docker directory, don’t delete the old entries, rather just add these two below entries into the file as shown:

“ipv6”: true,
“fixed-cidr-v6”: “2001:db8:1::/64”



Restarting the docker daemon to reflect the changes:

sudo systemctl restart docker


A Typical Host Network Configuration – After IPv6 Enablement 

Did you see anything new? Yes, the docker0 now gets populated with IPV6 configuration.(shown below)

docker0: <NO-CARRIER,BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP> mtu 1500 qdisc noqueue state DOWN group default
link/ether 02:42:06:62:82:4d brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff inet scope global docker0 valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
inet6 2001:db8:1::1/64 scope global tentative
valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
inet6 fe80::1/64 scope link tentative valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

Not only this, the docker_gwbridge network interface too received IPV6 changes:

docker_gwbridge: <NO-CARRIER,BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP> mtu 1500 qdisc noqueue state DOWN group default
link/ether 02:42:bc:0b:2a:84 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
inet scope global docker_gwbridge
valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
inet6 fe80::42:bcff:fe0b:2a84/64 scope link
valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever


PING TEST – Verifying IPv6 Functionalities For Docker Host containers

Let us try bringing up two containers on the same host and see if they can ping each using IPV6 address:


Setting up Ubuntu Container:

mymanager1==>sudo docker run -itd ajeetraina/ubuntu-iproute bash

Setting up CentOS Container:

mymanager1==>sudo docker run -itd ajeetraina/centos-iproute bash

[Please Note: If you are using default Ubuntu or CentOS Docker Image, you will be surprised to find that ip or ifconfig command doesn’t work. You might need to install iproute package for ip command to work & net-tools package for ifconfig to work. If you want to save time, use ajeetraina/ubuntu-iproute for Ubuntu OR ajeetraina/centos-iproute for CentOS directly.]

Now let us initiate the quick ping test:


In this example the Docker container is assigned a link-local address with the network suffix /64 (here: fe80::42:acff:fe11:3/64) and a globally routable IPv6 address (here: 2001:db8:1:0:0:242:ac11:3/64). The container will create connections to addresses outside of the 2001:db8:1::/64 network via the link-local gateway at fe80::1 on eth0.

mymanager1==>sudo docker exec -it 907 ping6 fe80::42:acff:fe11:2
PING fe80::42:acff:fe11:2(fe80::42:acff:fe11:2) 56 data bytes
64 bytes from fe80::42:acff:fe11:2%eth0: icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.153 ms
64 bytes from fe80::42:acff:fe11:2%eth0: icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=0.100 ms
--- fe80::42:acff:fe11:2 ping statistics ---2 packets transmitted, 2 received, 0% packet loss, time 999
msrtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.100/0.126/0.153/0.028 ms

So the two containers are able to reach out to each other using IPv6 address.

Does Docker Compose support IPv6 protocol?

The answer is Yes. Let us verify it using docker-compose version 1.15.0 and compose file format 2.1. I faced an issue while I use the latest 3.3 file format. As Docker Swarm Mode doesn’t support IPv6, hence it is not included under 3.3 file format. Till then, let us try to bring up container using IPv6 address using 2.1 file format:

docker-compose version
version 1.15.0, build e12f3b9
docker-py version: 2.4.2
CPython version: 2.7.13
OpenSSL version: OpenSSL 1.0.1t 3 May 2016

Let us first verify the network available in the host machine:


File: docker-compose.yml

version: ‘2.1’
    image: busybox
    command: ping www.collabnix.com
        ipv6_address: 2001:3200:3200::20
    enable_ipv6: true
    driver: bridge
      driver: default
        -- subnet: 2001:3200:3200::/64
          gateway: 2001:3200:3200::1


The above docker-compose file will create a new network called testping_app_net based on IPv6 network under the subnet 2001:3200:3200::/64 and container should get IPv6 address automatically assigned.

Let us bring up services using docker-compose up and see if the services communicates over IPv6 protocol:


Verifying the IPv6 address for each container:

As shown above, this new container gets IPv6 address – 2001:3200:3200::20 and hence they are able to reach other flawlessly.

What’s Next? Under the next blog post, I am going to showcase how does IPv6 works across the multiple host machine and will talk about ongoing effort to bring IPv6 support in terms of Swarm Mode. 

Did you find this blog helpful?  Feel free to share your experience. Get in touch @ajeetsraina

If you are looking out for contribution/discussion, join me at Docker Community Slack Channel.

Docker 17.06 Swarm Mode: Now with built-in MacVLAN & Node-Local Networks support

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Docker 17.06.0-ce-RC5 got announced 5 days back and is available for testing. It brings numerous new features & enablements under this new upcoming release. Few of my favourites includes support for Secrets on Windows,  allows specifying a secret location within the container, adds --format option to docker system df command, adds support for placement preference to docker stack deploy, adds monitored resource type metadata for GCP logging driver and adding build & engine info prometheus metrics to list a few. But one of the notable and most awaited feature include support of swarm-mode services with node-local networks such as macvlan, ipvlan, bridge and host.

Under the new upcoming 17.06 release, Docker provides support for local scope networks in Swarm. This includes any local scope network driver. Some examples of these are bridgehost, and macvlan though any local scope network driver, built-in or plug-in, will work with Swarm. Previously only swarm scope networks like overlay were supported. This is a great news for all Docker Networking enthusiasts.

A Brief Intro to MacVLAN:




In case you’re new , the MACVLAN driver provides direct access between containers and the physical network. It also allows containers to receive routable IP addresses that are on the subnet of the physical network.

MACVLAN offers a number of unique features and capabilities. It has positive performance implications by virtue of having a very simple and lightweight architecture. It’s use cases includes very low latency applications and networking design that requires containers be on the same subnet as and using IPs as the external host network.The macvlan driver uses the concept of a parent interface. This interface can be a physical interface such as eth0, a sub-interface for 802.1q VLAN tagging like eth0.10 (.10representing VLAN 10), or even a bonded host adaptor which bundles two Ethernet interfaces into a single logical interface.

To test-drive MacVLAN under Swarm Mode, I will leverage the existing 3 node Swarm Mode clusters on my VMware ESXi system. I have tested it on bare metal system and VirtualBox and it works equally great.  

[Updated: 9/27/2017 – I have added docker-stack.yml at the end of this guide to show you how to build services out of docker-compose.yml file. DO NOT FORGET TO CHECK IT OUT]

Installing Docker 17.06 on all the Nodes:

curl -fsSL https://test.docker.com > install-docker.sh
sh install-docker.sh


Verifying the latest Docker version:

Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 12.51.18 AM


Setting up 2 Node Swarm Mode Cluster:



Attention VirtualBox Users: – In case you are using VirtualBox,  the MACVLAN driver requires the network and interfaces to be in promiscuous mode. 

A local network config is created on each host. The config holds host-specific information, such as the subnet allocated for this host’s containers. --ip-range is used to specify a pool of IP addresses that is a subset of IPs from the subnet. This is one method of IPAM to guarantee unique IP allocations.


manager1==>sudo docker network create --config-only --subnet -o parent=ens160.60 --ip-range collabnet



worker1==>sudo docker network create --config-only --subnet -o parent=ens160.60 --ip-range collabnet



Instantiating the macvlan network globally


manager1==> $sudo docker network create -d macvlan --scope swarm --config-from collabnet swarm-macvlan


Deploying a service to the swarm-macvlan network:

Let us go ahead and deploy WordPress application. We will be creating 2 services – wordpressapp and wordpressdb1 and attach it to “swarm-macvlan” network as shown below:

Creating Backend Service:

docker service create --replicas 1 --name wordpressdb1 --network swarm-macvlan --env MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD=collab123 --env MYSQL_DATABASE=wordpress mysql

Let us verify if MacVLAN network scope holds this container:


Creating Frontend Service

Next, it’s time to create wordpress application i.e. wordpressapp

docker service create --env WORDPRESS_DB_HOST=wordpressdb1 --env WORDPRESS_DB_PASSWORD=collab123 --network swarm-macvlan --replicas 4 --name wordpressapp --publish 80:80/tcp wordpress:latest

Verify if both the services are up and running:


Verifying if all the containers on the master node picks up desired IP address from the subnet:


Docker Compose File showcasing MacVLAN Configuration

Ensure that you run the below commands to setup MacVLAN configuration for your services before you execute the above docker stack deploy CLI:

root@ubuntu-1610:~# docker network create --config-only --subnet --gateway -o parent=ens160.60 --ip-range collabnet
root@ubuntu-1610:~#docker network create -d macvlan --scope swarm --config-from collabnet swarm-macvlan


Verify that the containers inspection shows the correct information:

root@ubuntu-1610:~/docker101/play-with-docker/wordpress/example1# docker network inspect swarm-macvlan
“Name”: “swarm-macvlan”,
“Id”: “jp76lts6hbbheqlbbhggumujd”,
“Created”: “2017-09-27T02:12:00.827562388-04:00”,
“Scope”: “swarm”,
“Driver”: “macvlan”,
“EnableIPv6”: false,
“IPAM”: {
“Driver”: “default”,
“Options”: null,
“Config”: [
“Subnet”: “”,
“IPRange”: “”,
“Gateway”: “”
“Internal”: false,
“Attachable”: false,
“Ingress”: false,
“ConfigFrom”: {
“Network”: “collabnet”
“ConfigOnly”: false,
“Containers”: {
“3c3f1ec48225ef18e8879f3ebea37c2d0c1b139df131b87adf05dc4d0f4d8e3f”: {
“Name”: “myapp2_wordpress.1.nd2m62alxmpo2lyn079x0w9yv”,
“EndpointID”: “a15e96456870590588b3a2764da02b7f69a4e63c061dda2798abb7edfc5e5060”,
“MacAddress”: “02:42:64:62:1a:02”,
“IPv4Address”: “”,
“IPv6Address”: “”
“d47d9ebc94b1aa378e73bb58b32707643eb7f1fff836ab0d290c8b4f024cee73”: {
“Name”: “myapp2_db.1.cxz3y1cg1m6urdwo1ixc4zin7”,
“EndpointID”: “201163c233fe385aa9bd8b84c9d6a263b18e42893176271c585df4772b0a2f8b”,
“MacAddress”: “02:42:64:62:1a:03”,
“IPv4Address”: “”,
“IPv6Address”: “”
“Options”: {
“parent”: “ens160”
“Labels”: {},
“Peers”: [
“Name”: “ubuntu-1610-1633ea48e392”,
“IP”: “”

Docker Stack Deploy CLI:

docker stack deploy -c docker-stack.yml myapp2
Ignoring unsupported options: restart
Creating service myapp2_db
Creating service myapp2_wordpress

Verifying if the services are up and running:

root@ubuntu-1610:~/# docker stack ls
myapp2 2
root@ubuntu-1610:~/# docker stack ps myapp2
nd2m62alxmpo myapp2_wordpress.1 wordpress:latest ubuntu-1610 Running Running 15 minutes ago
cxz3y1cg1m6u myapp2_db.1 mysql:5.7 ubuntu-1610 Running Running 15 minutes ago

Looking for Docker Compose file for Single Node?


Cool..I am going to leverage this for my Apache JMeter Setup so that I can push loads from different IPs using Docker containers.

Did you find this blog helpful?  Feel free to share your experience. Get in touch @ajeetsraina

If you are looking out for contribution/discussion, join me at Docker Community Slack Channel.

Know more what’s new upcoming under Docker 17.06 CE release by clicking on this link.