If you have ever used a switch (or a hub) you are familiar with the idea of "bridging" - a process that allows you to connect multiple computers (or more specifically network interfaces) to each other. All data that comes from one interface is shared with the other interfaces.
The same principle applies to virtual bridges, except all the network interfaces are on one computer.
For example, if you are running many virtual servers on one computer, each virtual server will have it's own virtual network interface. If you would like all the virtual servers to be networked together (as if they were different computers attached to the same switch) you will need to create a virtual bridge.
Here's one way to create a network bridge. You will need to install some bridging utilities:
apt-get install openvswitch-brcompat
Begin by adding the following stanza to /etc/network/interfaces:
iface virbr0 inet static
pre-up brctl addbr virbr0
post-down brctl delbr virbr
This stanza creates a network interface called virbr0, designed to come up automatically, with an IP address and a netmask. Most importantly, when the network interface is activated and de-activated, the brctl command is issued to add this device to a virtual bridge (with the same name).
Now, you can manually activate this bridge by typing:
You can test that it is working by typing:
If you want to add a new network interface (e.g. called tap1) to your bridge, you'll need to create the interface using these instructions, then type:
brctl addif virbr0 tap1
You can remove the device with:
brctl delif virbr0 tap1