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Network Port Names Frequently Change

Publication Date:  2015-06-25 Views:  255 Downloads:  0
Issue Description
Hardware configuration:
An RH2285 configured with one onboard Broadcom 5709 network interface card (NIC) and one Intel 82576 NIC

Software configuration:
RedHat 5.4


The customer modified the configuration file /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-ethX to configure addresses of network ports eth0 and eth1, which correspond to network ports on the Intel 82576 NIC. After the server is restarted, eth0 and eth1 switch to network ports on the Broadcom 5709 NIC, as shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2.

Figure 1 eth0 information before the server restarts

Figure 2 eth0 information after the server restarts

Handling Process
Check the configuration file /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-ethX and find that the configuration file (modified by the customer) does not contain the NIC Media Access Control (MAC) address, as shown in Figure 3. Use the RedHat configuration tool (system-config-network) to configure a MAC address for the NIC, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 3 Configuration file modified by the customer

Figure 4 Configuration file added with the NIC MAC address

Root Cause
The /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-ethX configuration file does not contain the NIC MAC address when the server is configured with multiple NICs. As a result, the network port names frequently change.

Add HWADDR=XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX to the /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-ethX configuration file to bind the NIC MAC address.

When configuring a NIC, you should be familiar with operations on the command-line interface (CLI) and in configuration files. You are advised to use the configuration tool provided by the OS.