[openstack-dev] [neutron] Linux capabilities vs sudo/rootwrap?

Angus Lees gus at inodes.org
Wed Dec 10 00:43:04 UTC 2014

[I tried to find any previous discussion of this and failed - I'd
appreciate a pointer to any email threads / specs where this has already
been discussed.]

Currently neutron is given the ability to do just about anything to
networking via rootwrap, sudo, and the IpFilter check (allow anything
except 'netns exec').  This is completely in line with the role a typical
neutron agent is expected to play on the local system.

There are also recurring discussions/issues around the overhead of
rootwrap, costs of sudo calls, etc - and projects such as rootwrap daemon
underway to improve this.

How crazy would it be to just give neutron CAP_NET_ADMIN (where required),
and allow it to make network changes via ip (netlink) calls directly?
We will still need rootwrap/sudo for other cases, but this should remove a
lot of the separate process overhead for common operations, make us
independent of iproute cli versions, and allow us to use a direct
programmatic API (rtnetlink and other syscalls) rather than generating
command lines and regex parsing output everywhere.

For what it's worth, CAP_NET_ADMIN is not sufficient to allow 'netns exec'
(requires CAP_SYS_ADMIN), so it preserves the IpFilter semantics. On the
downside, many of the frequent rootwrap calls _do_ involve
creating/modifying network namespaces so we wouldn't see advantages for
these cases.  I need to experiment further before having a proposal for
that part (just granting CAP_SYS_ADMIN too is too broad; user namespaces
help a lot, but they're very new and scary so not available everywhere).

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