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8.4. Understanding the Network Teaming Daemon and the "Runners"

The Team daemon, teamd, uses libteam to control one instance of the team driver. This instance of the team driver adds instances of a hardware device driver to form a team of network links. The team driver presents a network interface, team0 for example, to the other parts of the kernel. The interfaces created by instances of the team driver are given names such as team0, team1, and so forth in the documentation. This is for ease of understanding and other names can be used. The logic common to all methods of teaming is implemented by teamd; those functions that are unique to the different load sharing and backup methods, such as round-robin, are implemented by separate units of code referred to as runners. Because words such as module and mode already have specific meanings in relation to the kernel, the word runner was chosen to refer to these units of code. The user specifies the runner in the JSON format configuration file and the code is then compiled into an instance of teamd when the instance is created. A runner is not a plug-in because the code for a runner is compiled into an instance of teamd as it is being created. Code could be created as a plug-in for teamd should the need arise.
The following runners are available at time of writing.
  • broadcast (data is transmitted over all ports)
  • round-robin (data is transmitted over all ports in turn)
  • active-backup (one port or link is used while others are kept as a backup)
  • loadbalance (with active Tx load balancing and BPF-based Tx port selectors)
  • lacp (implements the 802.3ad Link Aggregation Control Protocol)
In addition, the following link-watchers are available:
  • ethtool (Libteam lib uses ethtool to watch for link state changes). This is the default if no other link-watcher is specified in the configuration file.
  • arp_ping (The arp_ping utility is used to monitor the presence of a far-end hardware address using ARP packets.)
  • nsna_ping (Neighbor Advertisements and Neighbor Solicitation from the IPv6 Neighbor Discovery protocol are used to monitor the presence of a neighbor's interface)
There are no restrictions in the code to prevent a particular link-watcher from being used with a particular runner, however when using the lacp runner, ethtool is the only recommended link-watcher.