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Mar 17, 2020
Feb 20, 2015

libnetwork - networking for containers

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Libnetwork provides a native Go implementation for connecting containers

The goal of libnetwork is to deliver a robust Container Network Model that provides a consistent programming interface and the required network abstractions for applications.


Please refer to the design for more information.

Using libnetwork

There are many networking solutions available to suit a broad range of use-cases. libnetwork uses a driver / plugin model to support all of these solutions while abstracting the complexity of the driver implementations by exposing a simple and consistent Network Model to users.

import (


func main() {
	if reexec.Init() {

	// Select and configure the network driver
	networkType := "bridge"

	// Create a new controller instance
	driverOptions := options.Generic{}
	genericOption := make(map[string]interface{})
	genericOption[netlabel.GenericData] = driverOptions
	controller, err := libnetwork.New(config.OptionDriverConfig(networkType, genericOption))
	if err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("libnetwork.New: %s", err)

	// Create a network for containers to join.
	// NewNetwork accepts Variadic optional arguments that libnetwork and Drivers can use.
	network, err := controller.NewNetwork(networkType, "network1", "")
	if err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("controller.NewNetwork: %s", err)

	// For each new container: allocate IP and interfaces. The returned network
	// settings will be used for container infos (inspect and such), as well as
	// iptables rules for port publishing. This info is contained or accessible
	// from the returned endpoint.
	ep, err := network.CreateEndpoint("Endpoint1")
	if err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("network.CreateEndpoint: %s", err)

	// Create the sandbox for the container.
	// NewSandbox accepts Variadic optional arguments which libnetwork can use.
	sbx, err := controller.NewSandbox("container1",
	if err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("controller.NewSandbox: %s", err)

	// A sandbox can join the endpoint via the join api.
	err = ep.Join(sbx)
	if err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("ep.Join: %s", err)

	// libnetwork client can check the endpoint's operational data via the Info() API
	epInfo, err := ep.DriverInfo()
	if err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("ep.DriverInfo: %s", err)

	macAddress, ok := epInfo[netlabel.MacAddress]
	if !ok {
		log.Fatalf("failed to get mac address from endpoint info")

	fmt.Printf("Joined endpoint %s (%s) to sandbox %s (%s)\n", ep.Name(), macAddress, sbx.ContainerID(), sbx.Key())


Want to hack on libnetwork? Docker's contributions guidelines apply.

Copyright and license

Code and documentation copyright 2015 Docker, inc. Code released under the Apache 2.0 license. Docs released under Creative commons.

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