KVM Persistent Interface Names

If you’re using KVM for virtualization you may notice that your ethernet device that is attached to the bridge may have different names each time KVM restarts, and KVM manages attaching/detaching this interface to the bridge by itself.

If you’re using standard linux bridge you can check attached ports:

brctl show

This gives you current bridges (KVM and user defined) and ports on them as shown below:

But you may have some special rules/routes/mirrors based on this interface name. If this interface name ever changes you might execute some commands that disable/cancel previous commands, and update the commands to reflect new interface name. If you’re managing many interfaces, this task may be very time consuming.

Fortunately there is a way to prevent this. You can define the interface name generated by KVM for each guest interface. To enable this feature we’ll be adding some definitions to XML presentation of virtual machine (domain in other words). To add this definition we use “virsh” as expected.

virsh edit <domain-name>

This opens a text editor (vi/vim/nano depending on your OS and configuration) to modify contents. File is in XML format. So make sure that changes result a valid XML file.

Find Interface node in the file. Add below line within the interface node defining a desired interface name:

<target dev="<interface_name>" />

Also note that longer interface names may cause errors and choose a name that is not started with “vnet”. It is obvious not to start with “vnet” because KVM uses “vnet” by default.

Restart KVM service to changes to be effective:

systemctl restart libvirtd.service

Check your bridges again and confirm that KVM guests use your new naming.

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