Linux – Ethernet bonding

Linux bond or team multiple network interfaces (NIC) into single interface
We have two Dell servers that need setup with Intel Dual Gig NIC. My idea is to improve performance by pumping out more data from both NIC without using any other method.

This box act as heavy duty ftp server. Each night I need to transfer over 200GB data from this box to another box. Therefore, the network would be setup is two servers on a switch using dual network cards. I am using Red Hat enterprise Linux version 4.0.
Linux allows binding multiple network interfaces into a single channel/NIC using special kernel module called bonding. According to official bonding documentation, “The Linux bonding driver provides a method for aggregating multiple network interfaces into a single logical “bonded” interface. The behavior of the bonded interfaces depends upon the mode; generally speaking, modes provide either hot standby or load balancing services. Additionally, link integrity monitoring may be performed.”

Setting up bounding is easy with RHEL v4.0.
Step #1: Create a bond0 configuration file
Red Hat Linux stores network configuration in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ directory. First, you need to create bond0 config file:

# vi /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-bond0

Append following lines to it:

DEVICE=bond0
IPADDR=192.168.1.20
NETWORK=192.168.1.0
NETMASK=255.255.255.0
USERCTL=no
BOOTPROTO=none
ONBOOT=yes

Replace above IP address with your actual IP address. Save file and exit to shell prompt.

Step #2: Modify eth0 and eth1 config files:

Open both configuration using vi text editor and make sure file read as follows for eth0 interface

# vi /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0

Modify/append directive as follows:

DEVICE=eth0
USERCTL=no
ONBOOT=yes
MASTER=bond0
SLAVE=yes
BOOTPROTO=none

Open eth1 configuration file using vi text editor:

# vi /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth1

Make sure file read as follows for eth1 interface:

DEVICE=eth1
USERCTL=no
ONBOOT=yes
MASTER=bond0
SLAVE=yes
BOOTPROTO=none

Save file and exit to shell prompt.
Step # 3: Load bond driver/module

Make sure bonding module is loaded when the channel-bonding interface (bond0) is brought up. You need to modify kernel modules configuration file:

# vi /etc/modprobe.conf

Append following two lines:

alias bond0 bonding
options bond0 mode=balance-alb miimon=100

Save file and exit to shell prompt. You can learn more about all bounding options in kernel source documentation file (click here to read file online).
Step # 4: Test configuration

First, load the bonding module:

# modprobe bonding

Restart networking service in order to bring up bond0 interface:

# service network restart

Verify everything is working:

# less /proc/net/bonding/bond0

Output:

Bonding Mode: load balancing (round-robin)
MII Status: up
MII Polling Interval (ms): 0
Up Delay (ms): 0
Down Delay (ms): 0

Slave Interface: eth0
MII Status: up
Link Failure Count: 0

Permanent HW addr: 00:0c:29:c6:be:59

Slave Interface: eth1
MII Status: up
Link Failure Count: 0
Permanent HW addr: 00:0c:29:c6:be:63

List all interfaces:

# ifconfig

Output:

bond0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:0C:29:C6:BE:59
inet addr:192.168.1.20 Bcast:192.168.1.255 Mask:255.255.255.0
inet6 addr: fe80::200:ff:fe00:0/64 Scope:Link
UP BROADCAST RUNNING MASTER MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1

RX packets:2804 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:1879 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
RX bytes:250825 (244.9 KiB) TX bytes:244683 (238.9 KiB)

eth0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:0C:29:C6:BE:59

inet addr:192.168.1.20 Bcast:192.168.1.255 Mask:255.255.255.0
inet6 addr: fe80::20c:29ff:fec6:be59/64 Scope:Link
UP BROADCAST RUNNING SLAVE MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1
RX packets:2809 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0

TX packets:1390 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
RX bytes:251161 (245.2 KiB) TX bytes:180289 (176.0 KiB)
Interrupt:11 Base address:0x1400

eth1 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:0C:29:C6:BE:59

inet addr:192.168.1.20 Bcast:192.168.1.255 Mask:255.255.255.0
inet6 addr: fe80::20c:29ff:fec6:be59/64 Scope:Link
UP BROADCAST RUNNING SLAVE MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1
RX packets:4 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0

TX packets:502 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
RX bytes:258 (258.0 b) TX bytes:66516 (64.9 KiB)
Interrupt:10 Base address:0x1480

Now you have bond multiple network interfaces into a single channel (NIC).