Docker and IPv6 Prefix Delegation

As posted earlier I have IPv6 Prefix Delegation working at our office to test with Docker.

One of the missing links was to automatically configure Docker to use the prefix obtained through DHCPv6+PD. I manually configured the prefix in Docker, but I also had to run dhclient manually.

I figured this could be automated so I gave it a try.

Ubuntu Networking

At first I tried to figure out if Ubuntu’s networking was somehow able to request a prefix through DHCPv6. Long story short: Neither Ubuntu nor CentOS are able to do so. You have to script this manually.


To obtain a prefix I had to run dhclient manually. That wasn’t to hard. Simply run:

dhclient -6 -P -d -v eth0

This resulted in obtaining a prefix:

Bound to *:546
Listening on Socket/eth0
Sending on   Socket/eth0
PRC: Confirming active lease (INIT-REBOOT).
XMT: Forming Rebind, 0 ms elapsed.
XMT:  X-- IA_PD d5:68:28:08
XMT:  | X-- Requested renew  +3600
XMT:  | X-- Requested rebind +5400
XMT:  | | X-- IAPREFIX 2001:980:XXXX:140::/60
XMT:  | | | X-- Preferred lifetime +7200
XMT:  | | | X-- Max lifetime +7500
XMT:  V IA_PD appended.
XMT: Rebind on eth0, interval 940ms.
RCV: Reply message on eth0 from fe80::da67:d9ff:fe81:bcec.
RCV:  X-- IA_PD d5:68:28:08
RCV:  | X-- starts 1457617054
RCV:  | X-- t1 - renew  +604800
RCV:  | X-- t2 - rebind +967680
RCV:  | X-- [Options]
RCV:  | | X-- IAPREFIX 2001:980:XXXX:140::/60
RCV:  | | | X-- Preferred lifetime 1209600.
RCV:  | | | X-- Max lifetime 2592000.
RCV:  X-- Server ID: 00:03:00:01:d8:67:d9:81:bc:f0
PRC: Bound to lease 00:03:00:01:d8:67:d9:81:bc:f0.
PRC: Renewal event scheduled in 604800 seconds, to run for 362880 seconds.
PRC: Depreference scheduled in 1209600 seconds.
PRC: Expiration scheduled in 2592000 seconds.

As you can see, I got a /60 prefix. Now I had to somehow get this automated and configure Docker to use it.


Since I was testing with Docker 1.10 under Ubuntu 14.04 I had to use Upstart to run dhclient.

The /etc/init/dhclient6-pd.conf Upstart script I created was rather simple:

description     "DHCPv6 Prefix Delegation client"

start on runlevel [2345]
stop on runlevel [!2345]

respawn limit 30 3
umask 022

console log

exec dhclient -6 -P -d eth0

DHCP hook

dhclient has hooks which it can execute when something happens. I wrote a hook which extracted the delegated IPv6 prefix and restarted Docker.

I placed the hook in the default location for DHCP hooks: /etc/dhcp/dhclient-enter-hooks.d/docker-ipv6:



if [ ! -z "$new_ip6_prefix" ]; then
    SUBNET=$(sipcalc -S $SUBNET_SIZE $new_ip6_prefix|grep Network|head -n 1|awk '{print $3}')

    if [ "$old_ip6_prefix" != "$new_ip6_prefix" ]; then
        service docker restart

For this to work you need to modify /etc/default/docker so that this line reads:

DOCKER_OPTS="--ipv6 --fixed-cidr-v6=`cat /etc/docker/ipv6.prefix`"

The result

Docker was now running properly with a IPv6 subnet configured and my containers have a IPv6 address as well.

wido@wido-desktop:~$ docker exec -ti 94c8f02 ip addr show dev eth0
13: eth0:  mtu 1500 qdisc noqueue state UP group default 
    link/ether 02:42:ac:11:00:02 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    inet scope global eth0
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
    inet6 2001:980:XXXX:140:0:242:ac11:2/80 scope global 
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
    inet6 fe80::42:acff:fe11:2/64 scope link 
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

Native IPv6 in my Docker containers fully automated and dynamic!

All the scripts I used can be found on Github.

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Wido den Hollander

I am the CTO at PCextreme B.V. and i will keep this blog just to post some interesting information about my daily work on Linux (and other) systems.