It’s often necessary to set up a bridged network on VM hosts, but the documntation for Ubuntu has gotten a bit dated. After much trial-and-error, here is what worked for my datacenter-hosted VM server:

First, run sudo apt-get install bridge-utils, if the package is not already installed.

Next, update your /etc/network/interfaces file to include a br0 adapter, moving any ip configuration from eth0. This is the complete configuration that I’m running:

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet manual

auto br0
iface br0 inet static
    bridge_ports eth0
    bridge_stp off
    bridge_fd 0
    bridge_maxwait 0

You can also safely add an iface eth0 inet6 section for IPv6 networking, without it interfering with the bridged adapter configuration.

Finally, restart your networking services, in a different way than usual. Since your primary interface is now br0, you’ll want to run sudo ifdown eth0 && sudo ifup br0. Assuming your configuration was done correctly, this shouldn’t interrupt any open SSH connections. Once your br0 interface is up, you can proceed to bind IPs to it within VMs by pointing the VM to your br0 device as a bridged adapter. Static IP assignments within VMs should work fine as long as the IP is associated with your host machine.

This setup should work on any debian-based OS, and may work on other linux-based OSes as well. I’ll likely replace my Ubuntu host with a Debian 8 setup soon, and I’ll update this post when I do.

Partially sourced from the KVM/Networking article on Ubuntu’s community site.