Network Helper (beta)

Linode Staff

Network Helper

This new feature will automatically create a static networking configuration, for all of the IPv4 addresses assigned to the Linode (both public and private), and place the config onto your filesystem at boot time.

How does it work?

When enabled, each time you boot, if we can reliably determine your filesystem's distribution and version, we'll deposit a static networking configuration for all of your public and private IPs onto your filesystem. It also places a correct /etc/resolv.conf onto the filesystem.

IPv6 is not handled by this, since all Linodes get their native IPv6 address via SLAAC.

How is this helpful?

This new feature is very helpful for a number of reasons:

* Previously, adding a public IP or a local IP required you to manually switch from a DHCP-based networking config to a static config, something that can be error-prone and frustrating to do. Network Helper does it all for you.

  • Creating a new deploy and adding a local IP required manual intervention. Now you can deploy and have static networking config right out of the box - for all of your IPs.

  • This will 'heal' a Linode's networking config if you're deploying it from a copy of another Linode that has different IPs configured on it.

  • Cloning, restoring a backup, deploying from a Linode Images template, moving a Linode from one DC to another, or if IPs are changed - on first boot the networking config will be corrected.

  • This will 'heal' a Linode's networking config if you screw it up. In fact, if enabled, this will stomp over whatever config may be on your filesystem, on each boot.

What if I edit the generated file?

If the helper is enabled, say goodbye to your changes on the next boot. We do save a copy of: 1) the original version file the first time the helper ran, and 2) the last version of the file. These are saved to /path/to/.filename-linode-{orig,last}.

If you're doing advanced networking stuff, you'll likely want to turn the network helper off.

Where do I turn this on/off?

Turn it on or off in each Configuration Profile. Under each Linode Configuration Profile (the thing you select to boot), you'll notice a new helper labeled "Auto-configure Networking". When enabled, the helper runs. When disabled, well, it doesn't.

Does the Network Helper default to ON or OFF, or what?

It defaults to OFF, for everybody. This retains existing, expected behavior. After the beta ends, NEW customers will have it default to ON. You can change the default preference under a new Account Settings tab - https://manager.linode.com/account/settings

How can I help you guys?

We could really use your testing and feedback! Turn it on, reboot, and life should be better. Let us know how it goes.

Our Network Helper beta guide is located https://www.linode.com/docs/platform/network-helper.

Thanks and enjoy!

-Chris

12 Replies

Fantastic, this should simplify things for a lot of people.

What's the chance that the distro detection code could be open sourced? Seems like it would be a great thing to put out there, since it's a problem that other people are likely to run into and it'll let users contribute patches/fixes to better support more distros.

At the very least, would be cool if the criteria were listed, so that folks trying to figure out why it didn't like their system would have some things to go off of.

  • Les

Chances are very good. We discussed this earlier already, and we think it'd be a great idea to release the detection code – but it will likely be a few weeks given all of the holiday disruptions and other stuff going on.

Thanks,

-Chris

I've been using Network Helper for a few weeks, I like it very much.

Feature request: for Linodes with multiple IPs, could it be possible to give Network Helper some guidance as to what should be the default IP? I've been using one IP on my Linode for a decade. I recently added one to have a second SSL web server, and Network Manager makes the newer IP the default (…for outbound connection source IP…). This means that various hosts scattered across the Internet which have firewall rules trusting my original address now won't let me in :)

Let me know if I can provide more information or testing to help out.

Thanks,

gowen

This is a great feature, thank you!

Have just started using it, and have not seen any problems yet.

One suggestion - it might be useful to have an option for the hostname be auto configured based on the linode label. The hostname is another one of those 'manual' jobs when cloning etc. This would work perfectly for us, but not sure how other users' linode-labels and hostnames correlate.

@sosh:

… not sure how other users' linode-labels and hostnames correlate.
For us, they don't correlate at all.

What constitutes "advanced networking"? I have one IPv4 and two IPv6 ranges on my Ubuntu 14.04.3 VPS. I am running OpenVPN to serve our own computers. I have a cron job that regular checks /run/resolvconf/resolv.conf , /run/resolvconf/interface/eth0.dhclient/run/dnsmasq/resolv.conf , and /var/lib/dhcp/dhclient.eth0.leases , since the nameservers keep getting reset to Linode's instead of Google's. (I have set the proper nameservers in /etc/resolvconf/resolv.conf.d , but this still gets overriden.)

What should I expect from Network Helper?

Thanks.

Lester

I'm running Debian Stretch (testing) on my Linode and am having trouble with Network Manager being unable to detect my distribution. "Network Helper did not run: could not determine distribution or distribution version."

Is there a way to set the distribution manually or spoof the mechanism so that Network Manager will at least run?

Not that I can think of off the top of my head. I would simply configure networking manually.

If you have one IPv4/6, you're already good to go. Otherwise:

IPv4 - https://www.linode.com/docs/networking/ … figuration">https://www.linode.com/docs/networking/linux-static-ip-configuration

IPv6 - https://www.linode.com/docs/networking/ … networking">https://www.linode.com/docs/networking/native-ipv6-networking

Lester,

Network Helper is resetting your resolvers. Sounds like you have a handle on things so you may want to turn it off.

@rfeliciano:

Lester,

Network Helper is resetting your resolvers. Sounds like you have a handle on things so you may want to turn it off.

Hi. No, I had it off for quite a while, and I have been resetting the resolvers for quite some time.

Thanks for your reply.

Lester

@ingber:

@rfeliciano:

Lester,

Network Helper is resetting your resolvers. Sounds like you have a handle on things so you may want to turn it off.

Hi. No, I had it off for quite a while, and I have been resetting the resolvers for quite some time.

Thanks for your reply.

Lester

Then it might be DHCP. You should be able to set the file as immutable to prevent it from being changed.

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