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Revision as of 05:26, 16 September 2014 by Priti desai (talk | contribs) (Recommended Actions)

Disassociating floating IPs does not terminate NAT connections with Neutron L3 agent


Every virtual instance is automatically assigned a private IP address. You may optionally assign public IP addresses to instances. OpenStack uses the term "floating IP" to refer to an IP address (typically public) that can be dynamically added to a running virtual instance. The Neutron L3 agent uses Network Address Translation (NAT) to assign floating IPs to virtual instances. Floating IPs can be dynamically released from a running virtual instance but any active connections are not terminated with this release as expected when using the Neutron L3 agent.

Affected Services / Software

Neutron, Icehouse, Havana, Grizzly, Folsom


When creating a virtual instance, a floating IP address is not allocated by default. After a virtual instance is created, a user can explicitly associate a floating IP address to that instance. Users can create connections to the virtual instance using this floating IP address. Also, this floating IP address can be disassociated from any running instance without shutting that instance down.

If a user initiates a connection using the floating IP address, this connection remains alive and accessible even after the floating IP address is released from that instance. This potentially violates restrictive policies which are only being applied to new connections. These policies are ignored for pre-existing connections and the virtual instance remains accessible from the public network.

This issue is only known to affect Neutron when using the L3 agent. Nova networking is not affected.

Recommended Actions

There is unfortunately no easy way to detect which connections were made over a floating IP address from a virtual instance, as the NAT is performed at the Neutron router. The only safe way of terminating all connections made over a floating IP address is to terminate the virtual instance itself.

The following recommendations should be followed when using the Neutron L3 agent:

  • Only attach a floating IP address to a virtual instance when that instance should be accessible from networks outside the cloud.
  • Terminate or stop the instance along with disassociating the floating IP address to ensure that all connections are closed.

The Neutron development team plans to address this issue in a future version of Neutron.

Contacts / References