LXC Setup (OLD)

October 9 2015

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LXC is a Free OS-level virtualization environment for running multiple isolated Linux systems on a single host. The machine on which lxc is being used will be called a 'base' machine and the virtual environments created on this would be called 'container'. LXC uses kernel CGROUPS to provide resourse management for the containers. Inside each container, each 'init' environment is created as a sub process of lxc-start whilst it itself thinks that it is a pid 1 process.

LXC supports a variety of underlying base OS. The best support for LXC is given by the cannonical ubuntu, but you can freely use any other base OS.

In our case, we are using CentOS 7 - minimal as host.


LXC installation is simple. Just download it from your package manager of choice.

For CentOS 7, we use yum.

The LXC is a part of the EPEL, so you first need to get that.

yum install -y epel-release
yum install -y lxc lxc-templates lxc-doc

lxc-doc adds helpful doc pages, it is optional

If you are behind a proxy, first set the env variables for them before running yum

export {http,https,ftp,rsync,socks}_proxy='http://proxy.example.com:8080'
export no_proxy='comma, separated, hosts, for, which, no, proxy, need, be, applied'

lxc uses wget to download its files. So be sure to install it too.

yum install wget

Creating a new container

Creating a new container is simple. You just use lxc-create

lxc-create -n <name> -t <template>

the -t option is used for specifing a template to download from. The various other templates you can use are (at time of writing)

alpine        archlinux     centos        debian        fedora        openmandriva  oracle        sshd          ubuntu-cloud  
altlinux      busybox       cirros        download      gentoo        opensuse      plamo         ubuntu 

The template download is a special template as it pulls a host of templates and configures them.

The templates which are downloaded are placed in the cache and not re-downloaded until they expire. The cache location in our build is


You also might encounter keyserver errors in lxc-create. Request an access from your network adminstrator to allow the usage of the keyserver ports. (Alternatively you can refresh keys by downloading manually, but it is not recommended).

yum update -y

also is known to solve a lot of key fetching issues.

The is any name which you might like to give a container.

You can start the container by

lxc-start -n <name> -d 

the -d starts the process as a daemon. Or else the init process of the container gets attached to your current shell. (Not interesting :( !!)

You can also attach your shell to one of the tty(s) the container. You do this by using

lxc-attach -n <name>

Note that the current env variables are passed on the child as well. –keep-env and –nokeep-env options can be used for this.

Configuring - General

In general, you can configure your lxc container by editing the /var/lib/lxc//config file. If you have created the container somewhere else, you can look up the config file in that directory.

The configuration is done in the form of key, value pairs.

Configuring - Networking

lxc automatically sets up a bridge network over your internet to provide a uniform bridge on which all your containers can connect to the network. If by chance you are on a minimal install of your base machine OS, there might not be the required scripts installed which creates the bridge.

In that case you can edit your network configuration and create a bridge for yourself as your network needs it.

For our case, we setup a bridge having a static IP of and MASQUERADE this IP to outside world, with a default gateway of (base machine).

The changes needed to be done were.

Create a new file /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-br0 having the following content.


The name br0 is used because the default lxc-config has the name br0 given to the interface. You might as well give the name virbr0 or anything else too. Just make sure to be consistent with the lxc config file.

When a lxc container is started it automatically creates another interface for itself and attaches it as a bridge as a child to this interface.

Make sure that the config in your case is matching.

lxc.network.link = br0

In our case, we also want static private IP's to be given to each container. This is done via adding to config

lxc.network.ipv4.gateway =
lxc.network.ipv4 =

Be sure that these lines are also set.

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

In addition to all this, you need to also set iptables to forward packets to and fro from containers and base machine. For this, it is prefered to use a script along with a backup so that you do not kill your network at the wrong time.

The script used in our case

### Clean Existing
iptables -F
iptables -X
iptables -t nat -F
iptables -t nat -X
iptables -t mangle -F
iptables -t mangle -X
iptables -t raw -F
iptables -t raw -X
iptables -t security -F
iptables -t security -X
iptables -P INPUT DROP
iptables -P FORWARD DROP
iptables -N TCP
iptables -N SYN_CHECK
iptables -N fw-interfaces
iptables -N fw-open

### Filter INPUT
iptables -A INPUT -m conntrack --ctstate INVALID -j DROP
iptables -A INPUT -m conntrack --ctstate RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT

# Accept all local
iptables -A INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT

# Jump to TCP, drop the rest
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --syn -m conntrack --ctstate NEW -j TCP
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -j REJECT --reject-with tcp-rst

# Drop all UDP
iptables -A INPUT -p udp -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-port-unreachable

# accept icmp from following. Reject otherwise
iptables -A INPUT -p icmp -s -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p icmp -s -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p icmp --icmp-type echo-reply -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-proto-unreachable

# For Host Machine TCP
iptables -A TCP -p tcp --dport 22 -s -j ACCEPT
iptables -A TCP -p tcp --dport 22 -s -j ACCEPT

### Forward rules
# Forward connecntions which are established jump to fw-interfaces, fw-open, accept icmp, or reject
iptables -A FORWARD -m conntrack --ctstate RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
iptables -A FORWARD -j fw-interfaces
iptables -A FORWARD -j fw-open
iptables -A FORWARD -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-port-unreachable

# allow forwarding for outside
iptables -A fw-interfaces -d -j ACCEPT
iptables -A fw-interfaces -d -j ACCEPT
iptables -A fw-interfaces -d -j ACCEPT

#forward for self too
iptables -A fw-interfaces -i br0 -d -j ACCEPT
iptables -A fw-interfaces -o enp2s0 -s -j ACCEPT

# MASQUERADE for internal nodes
iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -s -o enp2s0 -j MASQUERADE

# accept the following (after route)
iptables -A fw-open -d -p tcp --dport 1194 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A fw-open -d -p tcp --dport 8080 -j ACCEPT

### PREROUTE the following
# route the following to
iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i enp2s0 -p tcp --dport 1194 -j DNAT --to
iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i enp2s0 -p tcp --dport 8080 -j DNAT --to

echo "Applied"
sleep 500
iptables-restore < /etc/sysconfig/iptables

Do note that the PREROUTING forwards some content to and on their respective ports You need to nat it PREROUTING and then accept it in FORWARD as well, hence the fw-open rules.

This script would clean out all iptables and set these rules inplace. And go to sleep for 500s. If this script is not cancelled within this time it restores the default iptables back.

That is added as a failsafe to prevent accidental network loss.

Run this script once on boot to forward packets.

Do also note that since our bridge is statically allocated, do not run dhclient on nodes. That would simply not work.

Configuring - Init

Once your are in to container, do set the /etc/resolv.conf as lxc simply does not do that (documented bug). LXC containers are tiny, and headless, but share Memory including SWAP (unless you set it not to) and CPU (limits can be set in config). The default filesystem type which lxc creates is a simple chroot jail. You can literally cd into the container and edit files. But please do not do that. LXC-attach.

Also, your lxc-attach will mangle your $PATH, so set it properly in your container configuration.


SELinux cannot ba enabled in the container, as the containers share the host kernel. The SELinux should be set to DISABLED.

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