System Administration Guide: IP Services

IPMP Addressing

You can configure IPMP failure detection on both IPv4 networks and dual-stack, IPv4 and IPv6 networks. Interfaces that are configured with IPMP support two types of addresses: data addresses and test addresses.

Data Addresses

Data addresses are the conventional IPv4 and IPv6 addresses that are assigned to an interface of a NIC at boot time or manually, through the ifconfig command. The standard IPv4 and, if applicable, IPv6 packet traffic through an interface is considered to be data traffic.

Test Addresses

Test addresses are IPMP-specific addresses that are used by the in.mpathd daemon. For an interface to use probe-based failure and repair detection, that interface must be configured with at least one test address.

Note –

You need to configure test addresses only if you want to use probe-based failure detection.

The in.mpathd daemon uses test addresses to exchange ICMP probes, also called probe traffic, with other targets on the IP link. Probe traffic helps to determine the status of the interface and its NIC, including whether an interface has failed. The probes verify that the send and receive path to the interface is working correctly.

Each interface can be configured with an IP test address. For an interface on a dual-stack network, you can configure an IPv4 test address, an IPv6 test address, or both IPv4 and IPv6 test addresses.

After an interface fails, the test addresses remain on the failed interface so that in.mpathd can continue to send probes to check for subsequent repair. You must specifically configure test addresses so that applications do not accidentally use them. For more information, refer to Preventing Applications From Using Test Addresses.

For more information on probe-based failure detection, refer to Probe-Based Failure Detection.

IPv4 Test Addresses

In general, you can use any IPv4 address on your subnet as a test address. IPv4 test addresses do not need to be routeable. Because IPv4 addresses are a limited resource for many sites, you might want to use non-routeable RFC 1918 private addresses as test addresses. Note that the in.mpathd daemon exchanges only ICMP probes with other hosts on the same subnet as the test address. If you do use RFC 1918-style test addresses, be sure to configure other systems, preferably routers, on the IP link with addresses on the appropriate RFC 1918 subnet. The in.mpathd daemon can then successfully exchange probes with target systems.

The IPMP examples use RFC 1918 addresses from the 192.168.0/24 network as IPv4 test addresses. For more information about RFC 1918 private addresses, refer to RFC 1918, Address Allocation for Private Internets.

To configure IPv4 test addresses, refer to the task How to Configure an IPMP Group With Multiple Interfaces.

IPv6 Test Addresses

The only valid IPv6 test address is the link-local address of a physical interface. You do not need a separate IPv6 address to serve as an IPMP test address. The IPv6 link-local address is based on the Media Access Control (MAC ) address of the interface. Link-local addresses are automatically configured when the interface becomes IPv6-enabled at boot time or when the interface is manually configured through ifconfig.

To identify the link-local address of an interface, run the ifconfig interface command on an IPv6-enabled node. Check the output for the address that begins with the prefix fe80, the link-local prefix. The NOFAILOVER flag in the following ifconfig output indicates that the link-local address fe80::a00:20ff:feb9:17fa/10 of the hme0 interface is used as the test address.

hme0: flags=a000841<UP,RUNNING,MULTICAST,IPv6,NOFAILOVER> mtu 1500 index 2
        	inet6 fe80::a00:20ff:feb9:17fa/10 

For more information on link-local addresses, refer to Link-Local Unicast Address.

When an IPMP group has both IPv4 and IPv6 plumbed on all the group's interfaces, you do not need to configure separate IPv4 test addresses. The in.mpathd daemon can use the IPv6 link-local addresses as test addresses.

To create an IPv6 test address, refer to the task How to Configure an IPMP Group With Multiple Interfaces.

Preventing Applications From Using Test Addresses

After you have configured a test address, you need to ensure that this address is not used by applications. Otherwise, if the interface fails, the application is no longer reachable because test addresses do not fail over during the failover operation. To ensure that IP does not choose the test address for normal applications, mark the test address as deprecated.

IPv4 does not use a deprecated address as a source address for any communication, unless an application explicitly binds to the address. The in.mpathd daemon explicitly binds to such an address in order to send and receive probe traffic.

Because IPv6 link-local addresses are usually not present in a name service, DNS and NIS applications do not use link-local addresses for communication. Consequently, you must not mark IPv6 link-local addresses as deprecated.

IPv4 test addresses should not be placed in the DNS and NIS name service tables. In IPv6, link-local addresses are not normally placed in the name service tables.