Preparing the environment for Calico without Docker networking

The worked example in the Calico without Docker networking tutorial is run on two Linux servers that have a number of installation requirements.

This tutorial describes how to manually configure a working environment for the example.


You will need 2 hosts (bare metal or VMs) with a modern 64-bit Linux OS and IP connectivity between them. The servers must not run any software that tries to manage or interfere with new interfaces or related config (for example routes, iptables, ipsets or interface state), as that is likely to conflict with Calico’s programming and lead to loss of endpoint connectivity. We recommend using ‘server’ OS installs rather than ‘desktop’. (For NetworkManager in particular, please see also Troubleshooting.)

The hosts must have different hostnames. We recommend calico-01 and calico-02, and the tutorial will use those names.

Each node must have the following software installed:

  • Docker v1.6 or greater: Docker
  • etcd: etcd documentation
  • ipset, iptables, and ip6tables kernel modules.
  • The calicoctl binary in your path (see below)

Calico uses an etcd cluster for coordinating state between the nodes. See the etcd documentation for details on setting up an etcd cluster.

NOTE: If you are running etcd with SSL/TLS, see the Etcd Secure Cluster page.

Docker permissions

Running Docker is much easier if your user has permissions to run Docker commands. If your distro didn’t set this permissions as part of the install, you can usually enable this by adding your user to the docker group and restarting your terminal.

sudo usermod -aG docker <your_username>

If you prefer not to do this you can still run the demo but remember to run docker using sudo.

Getting calicoctl Binary

Get the calicoctl binary onto each host.

chmod +x calicoctl

This binary should be placed in your $PATH so it can be run from any directory.

Preload the Calico docker image (optional)

You can optionally preload the Calico Docker image to avoid the delay when you run calicoctl node the first time. Select the appropriate versions of the calico/node as required by the version of calicoctl:

docker pull calico/node:v0.22.0

Final checks

Verify the hostnames. If they don’t match the recommended names above then you’ll need to adjust the tutorial instructions accordingly.

Check that the hosts have IP addresses assigned, and that your hosts can ping one another.

You should also verify each host can access etcd. The following will return the current etcd version if etcd is available.

curl -L

Continue with the worked example

With the environment set up, you can run through the remainder of the worked example in the Calico without Docker networking tutorial.