Why you shouldn't hate and disable NetworkManager anymore

One of the quirks of distributions has always been the difference in how they handle network configuration.

Red Hat based systems have generally used /etc/sysconfig/network(-scripts) and debian based systems /etc/network/interfaces

These have generally called out to ifconfig (or more recently ip) to carry out various actions to configure the network stack appropriately. This methodology was (mostly) fine for static interfaces that never change but when WiFi began to grow more prevalent more flexible ways to handle these or switch between configurations became desirous.

A few tools appeared (such as wicd) but there has been some effort to consolidate on NetworkManager as a common point. This common point has native configuration in /etc/NetworkManager but most often the plugin infrastructure is used to read/write the network config in the standard location for the distro.

The first release seen in Enterprise Linux was EL6. This was fine for a laptop user in a graphical environment connecting to WiFi but pretty useless in almost every server scenario and the recommendation was to disable it and use the standard network service. In EL7 this has changed and the recommendation is to use NetworkManager where possible unless there is a specific edge case preventing doing so.

Multiple IPs on an interface on Fedora and EL6/7

Having multiple IPs on an interface is a fairly common requirement - especially when hosting multiple SSL sites when SNI is not an available possibility due to supporting clients that cannot cope with this.

In EL5 and the network service of EL6 and EL7 this functionality was provided by network aliases. With NetworkManager the configuration is a little different - and this new syntax is supported by the network service as well in EL6 and EL7. In this article we delve into the tools and the how of carrying this out.

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