Run LXC CentOS 8 container with bridged network under CentOS 8

The LXC container software comes to CentOS 8 with the EPEL 8 repository. LXC is a multiprocesses container, which offers to boot a Linux distribution under container isolation. It is very similar to systemd-nspawn and a bit different from docker containers. LXC containers are used when multiple processes are needed under one container only. In most cases, the LXC container is a fully-featured Linux distribution (systemd or SysV, i.e. init) booted under a Linux container.
There are several major differences between docker/podman containers and LXC:

  • Multiprocesses.
  • Easy configuration modification. Even hot-plugin supported.
  • Unprivileged Linux containers.
  • Complex network setups. Multiple network interfaces connected to different networks, for example.
  • Live systemd, i.e. systemd or SysV init are booted as usual. Much of the software rellies on systemd/udev features and in many cases, it is really hard to run a software without a systemd or init process

Here are the steps to boot a CentOS 8 container under CentOS 8 host server:

STEP 1) Install EPEL repository.

EPEL CentOS 8 repository now includes LXC 3.0 software.

dnf install -y epel-release

STEP 2) Install LXC software and start LXC service.

At present, the LXC software version is 3.0.4. The package lxc-templates includes template scripts to create a Linux distribution environment like CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo, ArchLinux, Oracle, Alpine, and many others and it also includes the configuration templates to start these Linux distributions.

dnf install -y lxc lxc-templates
dnf install -y wget tar

The wget and tar are required if LXC templates installation is going to be performed.

STEP 3) Create a CentOS 8 container with the help of LXC templates and run it.

Use the lxc-templates to prepare a CentOS 8 container environment. The currently available containers are listed here http://images.linuxcontainers.org/. Check out the URL and choose the right container. Here the CentOS 8 amd64 is used.

lxc-create --template download -n mycontainer -- --dist centos --release 8 --arch amd64 --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com

Keep on reading!

firewalld and podman (or docker) – no internet in the container and could not resolve host

If you happen to use CentOS 8 you have already discovered that Red Hat (i.e. CentOS) switch to podman, which is a fork of docker. So probably the following fix might help to someone, which does not use CentOS 8 or podman. For now, podman and docker are 99.99% the same.
So creating and starting a container is easy and in most cases one command only, but you may stumble on the error your container could not resolve or could not connect to an IP even there is a ping to the IP!
The service in the container may live a happy life without Internet access but just the mapped ports from the outside world. Still, it may happen to need Internet access, let’s say if an update should be performed.
Here is how to fix podman (docker) missing the Internet access in the container:

  • No ping to the outside world. The chances you are missing
    sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_forward=1
    

    And do not forget to make it permanent by adding the “net.ipv4.ip_forward=1” to /etc/sysctl.conf (or a file “.conf” in /etc/sysctl.d/).

  • ping to the outside IP of the container is available, but no connection to any service is available! Probably the NAT is not enabled in your podman docker configuration. In the case with firewalld, at least, you must enable the masquerade option of the public zone
    firewall-cmd --zone=public --add-masquerade
    firewall-cmd --permanent --zone=public --add-masquerade
    

    The second command with “–permanent” is to make the option permanent over reboots.

The error – Could not resolve host (Name or service not known) despite having servers in /etc/resolv.conf and ping to them!

One may think having IPs in /etc/resolv.conf and ping to them in the container should give the container access to the Internet. But the following error occurs:

[root@srv /]# yum install telnet
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror, ovl
Determining fastest mirrors
 * base: artfiles.org
 * extras: centos.mirror.net-d-sign.de
 * updates: centos.bio.lmu.de
http://mirror.fra10.de.leaseweb.net/centos/7.7.1908/os/x86_64/repodata/repomd.xml: [Errno 14] curl#6 - "Could not resolve host: mirror.fra10.de.leaseweb.net; Unknown error"
Trying other mirror.
http://artfiles.org/centos.org/7.7.1908/os/x86_64/repodata/repomd.xml: [Errno 14] curl#6 - "Could not resolve host: artfiles.org; Unknown error"
Trying other mirror.
^C

Exiting on user cancel
[root@srv /]# ^C
[root@srv /]# ping 8.8.8.8
PING 8.8.8.8 (8.8.8.8) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=1 ttl=56 time=5.05 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=2 ttl=56 time=5.06 ms
^C
--- 8.8.8.8 ping statistics ---
2 packets transmitted, 2 received, 0% packet loss, time 1000ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 5.050/5.055/5.061/0.071 ms
[root@srv ~]# cat /etc/resolv.conf 
nameserver 8.8.8.8
nameserver 8.8.4.4
[root@srv /]# ping google.com
ping: google.com: Name or service not known

The error 2 – Can’t connect to despite having ping to the IP!

[root@srv /]# ping 2.2.2.2
PING 2.2.2.2 (2.2.2.2) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 2.2.2.2: icmp_seq=1 ttl=56 time=9.15 ms
64 bytes from 2.2.2.2: icmp_seq=2 ttl=56 time=9.16 ms
^C
[root@srv2 /]# mysql -h2.2.2.2 -uroot -p
Enter password: 
ERROR 2003 (HY000): Can't connect to MySQL server on '2.2.2.2' (113)
[root@srv2 /]#

Despite having ping the MySQL server on 2.2.2.2 and despite the firewall on 2.2.2.2 allows outside connections the container could not connect to it. And testing other services like HTTP, HTTPS, FTP and so on resulted in “unable to connect“, too. Simply because the NAT (aka masquerade is not enabled in the firewall).