Skip to content
Advertisement

Can you bind the default network interface of the host into the container to read network stats?

I have a project where I read system information from the host inside a container. Right now I got CPU, RAM and Storage to work, but Network turns out to be a little harder. I am using the Node.js library https://systeminformation.io/network.html, which reads the network stats from /sys/class/net/.

The only solution that I found right now, is to use --network host, but that does not seem like the best way, because it breaks a lot of other networking related stuff and I cannot make the assumption that everybody who uses my project is fine with that.

I have tried --add-host=host.docker.internal:host-gateway as well, but while it does show up in /etc/hosts, it does not add a network interface to /sys/class/net/.

My knowledge on Docker and Linux is very limited, so does someone know if there is any other way?

My workaround for now is, to use readlink -f /sys/class/net/$(ip addr show | awk '/inet.*brd/{print $NF; exit}') to get the final path to the network statistics of the default interface and mount it to a imaginary path in the container. Therefore I don’t use the mentioned systeminformation library for that right now. I would still like to have something that is a bit more reliable and in the best case officially supported by docker. I am fine with something that is not compatible with systeminformation, though.

Advertisement

Answer

There is a way to enter the host network namespace after starting the container. This can be used to run one process in the container in the container network namespace and another process in the host network namespace. Communication between the processes can be done using a unix domain socket.

Alternatively you can just mount a new instance of the sysfs which points to the host network namespace. If I understood correctly this is what you really need.

For this to work you need access to the host net namespace (I mount /proc/1/ns/net to the container for this purpose). Additionally the capabilities CAP_SYS_PTRACE and CAP_SYS_ADMIN are needed.

# /proc/1 is the 'init' process of the host which is always running in host network namespace
$ docker run -it --rm --cap-add CAP_SYS_PTRACE --cap-add CAP_SYS_ADMIN -v /proc/1/ns/net:/host_ns_net:ro debian:bullseye-slim bash
root@8b40f2f48808:/ ls -l /sys/class/net
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 Jun  2 21:09 eth0 -> ../../devices/virtual/net/eth0
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 Jun  2 21:09 lo -> ../../devices/virtual/net/lo

# enter the host network namespace
root@8b40f2f48808:/ nsenter --net=/host_ns_net bash

# now we are in the host network namespace and can see the host network interfaces
root@8b40f2f48808:/ mkdir /sys2
root@8b40f2f48808:/ mount -t sysfs nodevice /sys2
root@8b40f2f48808:/ ls -l /sys2/class/net/
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 Oct 25  2021 enp2s0 -> ../../devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1c.1/0000:02:00.0/net/enp2s0
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 Oct 25  2021 enp3s0 -> ../../devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1c.2/0000:03:00.0/net/enp3s0
[...]

root@8b40f2f48808:/ ls -l /sys2/class/net/enp2s0/
-r--r--r--  1 root root 4096 Oct 25  2021 addr_assign_type
-r--r--r--  1 root root 4096 Oct 25  2021 addr_len
-r--r--r--  1 root root 4096 Oct 25  2021 address
-r--r--r--  1 root root 4096 Oct 25  2021 broadcast
[...]

# Now you can switch back to the original network namespace
# of the container; the dir "/sys2" is still accessible
root@8b40f2f48808:/ exit

Putting this together for non-interactive usage:

Use the docker run with the following parameters:

docker run -it --rm --cap-add CAP_SYS_PTRACE --cap-add CAP_SYS_ADMIN -v /proc/1/ns/net:/host_ns_net:ro debian:bullseye-slim bash

Execute these commands in the container before starting your node app:

mkdir /sys2
nsenter --net=/host_ns_net mount -t sysfs nodevice /sys2

After nsenter (and mount) exits, you are back in the network namespace of the container. In theory you could drop the extended capabilities now.

Now you can access the network devices under /sys2/class/net.

9 People found this is helpful
Advertisement