I have hundreds of containers in various software virtual switches. I would like to know if its possible to find out which vnet# belongs to which docker container. Right now, I am detecting that by watching syslog as each container gets created. In KVM, there is a command "virsh domiflist ", which is exactly what i'm looking for.


The iflink of the container is the same as the ifindex of the veth#.

You can get the iflink of the container as follows:

docker exec -it <container-name> bash -c 'cat /sys/class/net/eth0/iflink'

Say, that results in 12, then grep for that:

grep -l 12 /sys/class/net/veth*/ifindex

That will give a unique result, on my system:


Combine that in a script:


for container in $(docker ps -q); do
    iflink=`docker exec -it $container bash -c 'cat /sys/class/net/eth0/iflink'`
    iflink=`echo $iflink|tr -d '\r'`
    veth=`grep -l $iflink /sys/class/net/veth*/ifindex`
    veth=`echo $veth|sed -e 's;^.*net/\(.*\)/ifindex$;\1;'`
    echo $container:$veth

The script was written to be easy to follow.

Sample run:

$ docker ps -q

$ sudo ./vethfinder

Reference: https://forums.docker.com/t/relationship-between-interface-vethxxxxx-and-container/12872/20

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  • Thank you, but it for some reason doesn't always work. I have 50 containers, and the script above would return 1 or 2 blanks. When I look at the iflink value for both containers, they are not +1 from the value obtained from inside the container. – user2066671 Mar 2 '17 at 6:20
  • This is a guess: It could be a timing issue. If containers are created too quickly after each other, then assigning the iflink values might get out of sync. The system might assign two consecutive iflink values to two containers, instead of alternating between the container and the system. – NZD Mar 3 '17 at 0:37
  • This is interesting, I create and run the containers in a for loop, the last container iflink is always very different. For example, the iflink from /sys/class/net/veth###/iflink returns 4205, but the container's /sys/class/eth0/iflink shows 4216 – user2066671 Mar 4 '17 at 0:27
  • Beats me. I tried a few things: starting a bunch of containers, verified that iflink lines up nicely. Stopped a few containers and created a few new ones, verified that iflink still lines up nicely. I got 115 containers running and my highest iflink was 244. How do you get to 4216? – NZD Mar 5 '17 at 5:39
  • I also checked the post I got the information from. It states: "This can be found out by matching a container interface's iflink value with a host veth interface's ifindex value". My script uses iflink for both. Maybe try 'ifindex' for 'veth' ? – NZD Mar 5 '17 at 5:51

searches for all interfaces in containers.


for container in $(docker ps --format '{{.Names}}'); do
    iflink=`docker exec -it $container bash -c 'cat /sys/class/net/eth*/iflink'`
    for net in $iflink;do
        net=`echo $net|tr -d '\r'`
        veth=`grep -l $net /sys/class/net/veth*/ifindex`
        veth=`echo $veth|sed -e 's;^.*net/\(.*\)/ifindex$;\1;'`
        echo $container:$veth
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I am using a different method, which seem to work just fine:

[root@kh1 ~]# docker inspect 6d48e279c5b8 --format '{{.State.Pid}}'                                                                                                                                                                                                              
[root@kh1 ~]# 
[root@kh1 ~]# ip netns identify 56316
[root@kh1 ~]# 
[root@kh1 ~]# ip netns list | grep ns-56316
ns-56316 (id: 6)
[root@kh1 ~]# 
[root@kh1 ~]# ip link show | grep -B1 "link-netnsid 6"
330: veth1ce76e2b@if3: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc noqueue master cni0 state UP mode DEFAULT group default 
    link/ether de:f8:ce:a2:85:f9 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff link-netnsid 6
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  • I have created a tool that does the steps above automatically. You can download the linux x86_64 binary from here – mhristache May 29 '18 at 11:36

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