NetworkManager includes basic OpenVSwitch support, good enough to be capable of setting up simple OpenVSwitch configurations. It is not extensive and does not expose all functionality of OpenVSwitch provides. For large or complicated deployments users are advised to use native tools shipped with OpenVSwitch. This document seeks to provide overview of functionality currently provided by NetworkManager, its capabilities and limitations.
First and foremost: NetworkManager applies the configuration by modifying the OVSDB directly. Its configuration model follows the OVSDB database model closely and it does not provide the level of abstraction ovs-vsctl provides.
In practical terms it means the following:
Bridges are represented by connections of ovs-bridge type. Due to the limitations of OVSDB, "empty" Bridges (with no Ports) can't exist. NetworkManager inserts the records for Bridges into OVSDB when a Port is enslaved.
Ports are represented by connections of ovs-port type. Due to the limitations of OVSDB, "empty" Ports (with no Interfaces) can't exist. Ports can also be configured to do VLAN tagging or Bonding. NetworkManager inserts the records for Ports into OVSDB when an Interface is enslaved. Ports must be enslaved to a Bridge.
Interfaces are represented by a connections enslaved to a Port. The system interfaces (that have a corresponding Linux link) have a respective connection.type of the link (e.g. "wired", "bond", "dummy", etc.). Other interfaces ("internal" or "patch" interfaces) are of ovs-interface type. The OVSDB entries are inserted upon enslavement to a Port.
Example 1. Creating a Bridge with a single internal Interface
$ nmcli conn add type ovs-bridge conn.interface bridge0 Connection 'ovs-bridge-bridge0' (d10fc64d-1d48-4394-a1b8-e1aea72f27d5) successfully added. $ nmcli conn add type ovs-port conn.interface port0 master bridge0 Connection 'ovs-port-port0' (5ae22bae-bba4-4815-9ade-7e635633e1f0) successfully added. $ nmcli conn add type ovs-interface conn.interface iface0 master port0 \ ipv4.method manual ipv4.address 192.0.2.1/24 Connection 'ovs-interface-iface0' (3640d2a1-a2fd-4718-92f1-cffadb5b6cdc) successfully added.
As said above, you need to create a Port even for a single interface. Also, before you add the Interface, the Bridge and Port devices appear active, but are not configured in OVSDB yet. You can inspect the results with ovs-vsctl show.
Example 2. Adding a Linux interface to a Bridge
$ nmcli conn add type ovs-port conn.interface port1 master bridge0 Connection 'ovs-port-port1' (67d041eb-8e7b-4458-afee-a1d07c9c4552) successfully added. $ nmcli conn add type ethernet conn.interface eth0 master port1 Connection 'ovs-slave-eth0' (d459c45c-cf78-4c1c-b4b7-505e71379624) successfully added.
Again, you need a port.
Example 3. Creating a VLAN
$ nmcli conn add type ovs-port conn.interface port2 master bridge0 ovs-port.tag 120 Connection 'ovs-port-port2' (3994c093-4ef7-4549-a4fd-627b831c3cb8) successfully added. $ nmcli conn add type ethernet conn.interface eth1 master port2 Connection 'ovs-slave-eth1' (099be06e-71ad-484d-8d5a-fcadc5f207f5) successfully added.
It's just a port with a tag.
Example 4. Creating a Bond
$ nmcli conn add type ovs-port conn.interface bond0 master bridge0 Connection 'ovs-port-bond0' (d154ebf9-e999-4e1b-a084-a3de53d25d8a) successfully added. $ nmcli conn add type ethernet conn.interface eth2 master bond0 Connection 'ovs-slave-eth2' (475ac1bf-30b2-4534-a877-27f33f58b082) successfully added. $ nmcli conn add type ethernet conn.interface eth3 master bond0 Connection 'ovs-slave-eth3' (8dedeecb-ed12-482b-b77a-24a4fb835136) successfully added.
It's just a Port with multiple interfaces. See nm-settings manual for Bonding options you can use with "nmcli c add" or "nmcli c modify". You could even set a VLAN tag on the same Port to do VLAN tagging and bonding at the same time.