Why are eno1 and eno2 in this order?

Iain Hallam asked:

I’ve just installed a Fedora 21 Workstation system, and it’s reversed the order of eno1 and eno2 from the CentOS 6 system that was on here before.

lspci | grep Eth
00:19.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection (rev 04)
03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82574L Gigabit Network Connection

00:19.0 has a MAC address ending in :4f, while 03:00.0 ends in :50.

My understanding was that with a lower PCI address, :4f would become eno1, but actually it thinks that :50 is eno1.

What’s the reason for that, and should I just accept that systems with Fedora 21 will have opposite order from CentOS 6? (We deploy dozens of these systems.)

My answer:

For NICs embedded on the motherboard, rather than in PCI/PCI-x/PCIe slots, the “consistent” network device names are actually obtained from information provided by the system BIOS.

To quote Dell, who helped develop this feature:

The system BIOS indicates the order of Onboard Network Devices to the OS via SMBIOS type 41 records. The system BIOS provides “system slot information” to the OS via type 9 records. The biosdevname makes use of SMBIOS type 41 to suggest names to the onboard network devices and type 9 records to suggest new names for PCI add-in adapters.

In other words, the BIOS decides which onboard NIC is NIC 1 and which is NIC 2.

Thus, I suspect that you had a system BIOS update at some point between your installation of CentOS 6 and your installation of Fedora 21.

Also note that the structure of the names themselves has changed in RHEL/CentOS 7 and Fedora, compared to RHEL/CentOS 6.

In EL6, embedded NICs begin with em and a number, and NICs on expansion cards start with p followed by their bus, slot and function. This was the original biosdevname feature.

In Fedora and RHEL 7 biosdevname has been replaced with native systemd support, and the device naming scheme has changed. All wired NICs begin with en, and onboard NICs continue with o and a number, while NICs on expansion cards continue with p, the bus number, s, the slot number, and optionally f and the function number.

(Though, if you upgrade in place from EL6 to EL7, the old-style names will be kept.)

An example of what you’ll see from my own systems:

Onboard NICs (in a Dell PowerEdge):

2: eno1: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc mq state UP mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 54:9f:35:17:f4:32 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
3: eno2: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 9000 qdisc mq state UP mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 54:9f:35:17:f4:34 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff

NICs on an expansion card (in a SuperMicro piece of crap):

2: enp3s0f0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc mq state UP mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 0c:c4:7a:45:b8:d2 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
3: enp3s0f1: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST> mtu 1500 qdisc noop state DOWN mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 0c:c4:7a:45:b8:d3 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff

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