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Consistent Network device naming-Name network interfaces to match chassis labels

Feature state

openSUSE Distribution
Rejected Information
Rejected Information


On a Dell PowerEdge server with multiple add-in cards, the naming of the network interfaces is non-deterministic. This results in 'eth0' not mapping to "Embedded NIC 1" as labelled on the server chassis. This issue is seen on Dell PowerEdge 10G above. This feature addresses this issue by renaming network interfaces based on the following policy as discussed in the Linux Plumbers Conference - http://marc.info/?l=linux-hotplug&m=128892593821639&w=2

Embedded devices: em<port> (em => ethernet-on-motherboard)

Add-in PCI cards: pci<slot>#<port>_<virtual function instance>

On a PER710 with 4 Lan-On-Motherboard interfaces and a dual port add-in network controller, the interface names would look like -

Onboard interfaces - em1  em2  em3  em4

Interface names for the dual port add-in controller on pci slot 2 pci2#0, pci2#1

If the second port has virtual functions enabled -pci2#1_0,  pci2#1_2 ... etc

Biosdevname, which is a Dell developed utility can suggest these names for the kernel ethN names. This needs to be used as a udev helper utility. It is available here -



GIT: http://linux.dell.com/cgi-bin/gitweb/gitweb.cgi?p=biosdevname.git;a=summary

Please find the relevant upstream discussions -





User benefit:

When there are multiple network interfaces in a system (onboard + add-in interfaces), eth0 does not always map to the 'Embedded NIC 1' as labelled on system chassis. The naming is non-deterministic. This feature request addresses the issue by naming the interfaces as per the BIOS suggested names.

Please refer to the following for more details on the reasons for non-determinism

* http://lwn.net/Articles/356900/

* http://linux.dell.com/files/presentations/LinuxCon_2010/linuxcon2010_domsch.pdf


System administrators can use the Bios provided names which are consistent across reboots. There is no state such as HWADDR embedded to achieve persistent naming


With this change -

1.ifconfig -a would show emN names for onboard interfaces.

2. em1 should correspond to the interface labelled 'Gb1' on the chassis label, em2 to 'Gb2' etc. This can be tested by

ethtool -p em1 (Blinks the interface)

3. If the kernel has the commit 911e1c9b05a8e3559a7aa89083930700a0b9e7ee

cat /sys/class/net/em1/device/label

Embedded NIC 1


icons/user_comment.png P. J. wrote: (7 years ago)

As long as this is user-selectable, it seems like a pretty reasonable idea.

Last change: 9 months ago
Score: 7
  • Negative: 0
  • Neutral: 1
  • Positive: 7
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