Linux bonding provides a method for aggregating multiple network interfaces (slaves) into a single logical bonded interface (bond). Cumulus Linux supports two bonding modes:

  • The IEEE 802.3ad link aggregation mode, which allows one or more links to be aggregated together to form a link aggregation group (LAG), such that a media access control (MAC) client can treat the link aggregation group as if it were a single link.
  • The balance-xor mode, where the bonding of slave interfaces are static and all slave interfaces are active for load balancing and fault tolerance purposes. This is useful for MLAG deployments.

The benefits of link aggregation include:

  • Linear scaling of bandwidth as links are added to LAG
  • Load balancing
  • Failover protection

Cumulus Linux uses version 1 of the LAG control protocol (LACP).

To temporarily bring up a bond even when there is no LACP partner, use LACP Bypass.

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Hash Distribution

Egress traffic through a bond is distributed to a slave based on a packet hash calculation, providing load balancing over the slaves; many conversation flows are distributed over all available slaves to load balance the total traffic. Traffic for a single conversation flow always hashes to the same slave. 

The hash calculation uses packet header data to pick which slave to transmit the packet to:

  • For IP traffic, IP header source and destination fields are used in the calculation. 
  • For IP + TCP/UDP traffic, source and destination ports are included in the hash calculation. 

In a failover event, the hash calculation is adjusted to steer traffic over available slaves.

Creating a Bond

Bonds can be created and configured using the Network Command Line Utility (NCLU). Follow the steps below to create a new bond:

  1. SSH into the switch.

  2. Add a bond using the net add bond command, replacing [bond-name] with the name of the bond, and [slaves] with the list of slaves:

    cumulus@switch:~$ net add bond [bond-name] bond slaves [slaves]
    cumulus@switch:~$ net pending
    cumulus@switch:~$ net commit

The name of the bond must be:

  • Compliant with Linux interface naming conventions.

  • Unique within the switch.

Configuration Options

The configuration options, and their default values, are listed in the table below.

Each bond configuration option, except for bond slaves, is set to the recommended value by default in Cumulus Linux. They should only be configured if a different setting is needed. For more information on configuration values, refer to the Related Information section below.
NCLU Configuration Option

Description

Default Value
bond mode

The defined bonding mode.

Cumulus Linux supports IEEE 802.3ad link aggregation mode and balance-xor mode. You should use balance-xor mode only if you cannot use LACP for some reason. See below for more information.

802.3ad
bond slavesThe list of slaves in the bond.N/A
bond miimonDefines how often the link state of each slave is inspected for failures.

100

bond downdelay

Specifies the time, in milliseconds, to wait before disabling a slave after a link failure has been detected. This option is only valid for the miimon link monitor. The downdelay value should be a multiple of the miimon value; if not, it will be rounded down to the nearest multiple.

0
bond updelay

Specifies the time, in milliseconds, to wait before enabling a slave after a link recovery has been detected. This option is only valid for the miimon link monitor. The updelay value should be a multiple of the miimon value; if not, it will be rounded down to the nearest multiple.

0
bond use-carrierDetermines the link state.1
bond xmit-hash-policy

Hash method used to select the slave for a given packet.

This setting must not be changed.
layer3+4
bond lacp-bypass-allowEnables LACP bypass.N/A
bond lacp-rate

Sets the rate to ask the link partner to transmit LACP control packets.

You can set the LACP rate to slow using NCLU:

cumulus@switch:~$ net add bond bond01 bond lacp-rate slow
1
bond min-links

Defines the minimum number of links that must be active before the bond is put into service.

A value greater than 1 is useful if higher level services need to ensure a minimum aggregate bandwidth level before activating a bond. Keeping bond-min-links set to 1 indicates the bond must have at least one active member. If the number of active members drops below the bond-min-links setting, the bond will appear to upper-level protocols as link-down. When the number of active links returns to greater than or equal to bond-min-links, the bond will become link-up.
1

Enabling balance-xor Mode

When you enable balance-xor mode, the bonding of slave interfaces are static and all slave interfaces are active for load balancing and fault tolerance purposes. Packet transmission on the bond is based on the hash policy specified by xmit-hash-policy.

When using balance-xor mode to dual-connect host-facing bonds in an MLAG environment, the clag_id parameter must be configured on the MLAG bonds and must be the same on both MLAG switches. Otherwise, the bonds are treated by the MLAG switch pair as if they were single-connected.

You should use balance-xor mode only if you cannot use LACP for some reason, as LACP can detect mismatched link attributes among bond members and can even detect misconnections. 

In order to change the mode of an existing bond, you must first delete the bond, then recreate it with the balance-xor mode. Assuming the bond doesn't exist on the host, you can configure it as follows:

cumulus@switch:~$ net add bond bond1 bond slaves swp3,4
cumulus@switch:~$ net add bond bond1 bond mode balance-xor
cumulus@switch:~$ net pending
cumulus@switch:~$ net commit

These commands create the following configuration in the /etc/network/interfaces file:

auto bond1
iface bond1
    bond-mode balance-xor
    bond-slaves swp3 swp4

To view the bond, use NCLU:

cumulus@switch:~$ net show interface bond1 
    Name    MAC                Speed    MTU    Mode
--  ------  -----------------  -------  -----  ------
UP  bond1   00:02:00:00:00:12  20G      1500   Bond


Bond Details
---------------  -------------
Bond Mode:       Balance-XOR
Load Balancing:  Layer3+4
Minimum Links:   1
In CLAG:         CLAG Inactive


    Port     Speed      TX    RX    Err    Link Failures
--  -------  -------  ----  ----  -----  ---------------
UP  swp3(P)  10G         0     0      0                0
UP  swp4(P)  10G         0     0      0                0


LLDP
-------  ----  ------------
swp3(P)  ====  swp1(p1c1h1)
swp4(P)  ====  swp2(p1c1h1)Routing
-------
  Interface bond1 is up, line protocol is up
  Link ups:       3    last: 2017/04/26 21:00:38.26
  Link downs:     2    last: 2017/04/26 20:59:56.78
  PTM status: disabled
  vrf: Default-IP-Routing-Table
  index 31 metric 0 mtu 1500
  flags: <UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,MULTICAST>
  Type: Ethernet
  HWaddr: 00:02:00:00:00:12
  inet6 fe80::202:ff:fe00:12/64
  Interface Type Other

Example Configuration: Bonding 4 Slaves

In the following example, the front panel port interfaces swp1-swp4 are slaves in bond0, while swp5 and swp6 are not part of bond0.

Example Bond Configuration

The following commands create a bond with four slaves:

cumulus@switch:~$ net add bond bond0 address 10.0.0.1/30
cumulus@switch:~$ net add bond bond0 bond slaves swp1-4
cumulus@switch:~$ net pending
cumulus@switch:~$ net commit

These commands create this code snippet in the /etc/network/interfaces file:

auto bond0
iface bond0
    address 10.0.0.1/30
    bond-slaves swp1 swp2 swp3 swp4

If you are intending that the bond become part of a bridge, you don't need to specify an IP address.

When networking is started on switch, bond0 is created as MASTER and interfaces swp1-swp4 come up in SLAVE mode, as seen in the ip link show command:

cumulus@switch:~$ ip link show
...
 
3: swp1: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,SLAVE,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast master bond0 state UP mode DEFAULT qlen 500
    link/ether 44:38:39:00:03:c1 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
4: swp2: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,SLAVE,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast master bond0 state UP mode DEFAULT qlen 500
    link/ether 44:38:39:00:03:c1 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
5: swp3: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,SLAVE,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast master bond0 state UP mode DEFAULT qlen 500
    link/ether 44:38:39:00:03:c1 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
6: swp4: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,SLAVE,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast master bond0 state UP mode DEFAULT qlen 500
    link/ether 44:38:39:00:03:c1 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
 
...
 
55: bond0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,MASTER,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc noqueue state UP mode DEFAULT
    link/ether 44:38:39:00:03:c1 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff

All slave interfaces within a bond have the same MAC address as the bond. Typically, the first slave added to the bond donates its MAC address as the bond MAC address, while the other slaves’ MAC addresses are set to the bond MAC address.

The bond MAC address is used as source MAC address for all traffic leaving the bond, and provides a single destination MAC address to address traffic to the bond.

Caveats and Errata

  • An interface cannot belong to multiple bonds.
  • A bond can have subinterfaces, but not the other way around. 

  • A bond cannot enslave VLAN subinterfaces.
  • Slave ports within a bond should all be set to the same speed/duplex, and should match the link partner’s slave ports.

Related Information