Custom network configuration with cloud-init#

cloud-init may be used for custom network configuration of instances.

Before trying to use it, however, first determine which image source you are about to use as not all images have cloud-init package installed.

The images from the ubuntu and ubuntu-daily remotes are all cloud-init enabled. Images from the images remote have cloud-init enabled variants using the /cloud suffix.

cloud-init uses the network-config data to render the relevant network configuration on the system using either ifupdown or netplan depending on the Ubuntu release.

The default behavior is to use a DHCP client on an instance’s eth0 interface.

In order to change this you need to define your own network configuration using key in the config dictionary which will override the default configuration (this is due to how the template is structured).

For example, to configure a specific network interface with a static IPv4 address and also use a custom nameserver use

config: |
    version: 1
      - type: physical
        name: eth1
          - type: static
            ipv4: true
            control: auto
      - type: nameserver

An instance’s rootfs will contain the following files as a result:

  • /var/lib/cloud/seed/nocloud-net/network-config

  • /etc/network/interfaces.d/50-cloud-init.cfg (if using ifupdown)

  • /etc/netplan/50-cloud-init.yaml (if using netplan)

Implementation Details#

cloud-init allows you to seed instance configuration using the following files located at /var/lib/cloud/seed/nocloud-net:

  • user-data (required)

  • meta-data (required)

  • vendor-data (optional)

  • network-config (optional)

The network-config file is written to by LXD using data provided in templates that come with an image. This is governed by metadata.yaml but naming of the configuration keys and template content is not hard-coded as far as LXD is concerned - this is purely image data that can be modified if needed.

A default cloud-init-network.tpl provided with images from the “ubuntu:” image source looks like this:

{% if config\_get("", "") == "" %}version: 1
    - type: physical
      name: eth0
          - type: {% if config_get("user.network_mode", "") == "link-local" %}manual{% else %}dhcp{% endif %}
            control: auto{% else %}{{ config_get("", "") }}{% endif %}

The template syntax is the one used in the pongo2 template engine. A custom config_get function is defined to retrieve values from an instance configuration.

Options available with such a template structure:

  • Use DHCP by default on your eth0 interface;

  • Set user.network_mode to link-local and configure networking by hand;

  • Seed cloud-init by defining