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18.12.11.2. Limiting Number of Connections

To limit the number of connections a guest virtual machine may establish, a rule must be provided that sets a limit of connections for a given type of traffic. If for example a VM is supposed to be allowed to only ping one other IP address at a time and is supposed to have only one active incoming ssh connection at a time.

Example 18.10. XML sample file that sets limits to connections

The following XML fragment can be used to limit connections
  [...]
  <rule action='drop' direction='in' priority='400'>
    <tcp connlimit-above='1'/>
  </rule>
  <rule action='accept' direction='in' priority='500'>
    <tcp dstportstart='22'/>
  </rule>
  <rule action='drop' direction='out' priority='400'>
    <icmp connlimit-above='1'/>
  </rule>
  <rule action='accept' direction='out' priority='500'>
    <icmp/>
  </rule>
  <rule action='accept' direction='out' priority='500'>
    <udp dstportstart='53'/>
  </rule>
  <rule action='drop' direction='inout' priority='1000'>
    <all/>
  </rule>
  [...]

Note

Limitation rules must be listed in the XML prior to the rules for accepting traffic. According to the XML file in Example 18.10, “XML sample file that sets limits to connections”, an additional rule for allowing DNS traffic sent to port 22 go out the guest virtual machine, has been added to avoid ssh sessions not getting established for reasons related to DNS lookup failures by the ssh daemon. Leaving this rule out may result in the ssh client hanging unexpectedly as it tries to connect. Additional caution should be used in regards to handling timeouts related to tracking of traffic. An ICMP ping that the user may have terminated inside the guest virtual machine may have a long timeout in the host physical machine's connection tracking system and will therefore not allow another ICMP ping to go through.
The best solution is to tune the timeout in the host physical machine's sysfs with the following command:# echo 3 > /proc/sys/net/netfilter/nf_conntrack_icmp_timeout. This command sets the ICMP connection tracking timeout to 3 seconds. The effect of this is that once one ping is terminated, another one can start after 3 seconds.
If for any reason the guest virtual machine has not properly closed its TCP connection, the connection to be held open for a longer period of time, especially if the TCP timeout value was set for a large amount of time on the host physical machine. In addition, any idle connection may result in a time out in the connection tracking system which can be re-activated once packets are exchanged.
However, if the limit is set too low, newly initiated connections may force an idle connection into TCP backoff. Therefore, the limit of connections should be set rather high so that fluctuations in new TCP connections do not cause odd traffic behavior in relation to idle connections.