Deploying Calico and Kubernetes on GCE

These instructions allow you to set up a Kubernetes cluster with Calico networking on GCE using the Calico CNI plugin. This guide does not setup TLS between Kubernetes components or on the Kubernetes API.

1. Getting started with GCE

These instructions describe how to set up two CoreOS Container Linux hosts on GCE. For more general background, see the CoreOS on GCE documentation.

1.1 Install the gcloud tool

If you already have the gcloud utility installed, and a GCE project configured, you may skip this step.

Download and install GCE, then restart your terminal:

curl | bash

For more information, see Google’s gcloud install instructions.

Log into your account:

gcloud auth login

In the GCE web console, create a project and enable the Compute Engine API. Set the project as the default for gcloud:

gcloud config set project PROJECT_ID

And set a default zone

gcloud config set compute/zone us-central1-a

1.2 Setting up GCE networking

GCE blocks traffic between hosts by default; run the following command to allow Calico traffic to flow between containers on different hosts (where the source-ranges parameter assumes you have created your project with the default GCE network parameters - modify the address range if yours is different):

gcloud compute firewall-rules create calico-ipip --allow 4 --network "default" --source-ranges ""

You can verify the rule with this command:

gcloud compute firewall-rules list

1.3 Clone this project

Clone the project

git clone

And change into the directory for this guide.

cd calico/v2.0/getting-started/kubernetes/installation

2. Deploy the VMs

Deploy the Kubernetes master node using the following command:

gcloud compute instances create \
  kubernetes-master \
  --image-project coreos-cloud \
  --image coreos-stable-1010-6-0-v20160628 \
  --machine-type n1-standard-1 \
  --metadata-from-file user-data=cloud-config/master-config.yaml

Deploy at least one worker node using the following command:

gcloud compute instances create \
  kubernetes-node-1 \
  --image-project coreos-cloud \
  --image coreos-stable-1010-6-0-v20160628 \
  --machine-type n1-standard-1 \
  --metadata-from-file user-data=cloud-config/node-config.yaml

You should have SSH access to your machines using the following command:

gcloud compute ssh <INSTANCE NAME>

Configure the Cluster

3.1 Configure kubectl

The following steps configure remote kubectl access to your cluster.

Download kubectl

sudo wget -O /usr/local/bin/kubectl
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/kubectl

The following command sets up SSH forwarding of port 8080 to your master node so that you can run kubectl commands on your local machine.

gcloud compute ssh kubernetes-master --quiet --ssh-flag="-nNT" --ssh-flag="-L 8080:localhost:8080" &

Verify that you can access the Kubernetes API. The following command should return a list of Kubernetes nodes.

kubectl get nodes

If successful, the above command should output something like this:

NAME          STATUS                     AGE   Ready,SchedulingDisabled   6m   Ready                      6m

4. Install Addons

Install Calico

Calico can be installed on Kubernetes using Kubernetes resources (DaemonSets, etc).

The Calico self-hosted installation consists of three objects in the kube-system Namespace:

  • A ConfigMap which contains the Calico configuration.
  • A DaemonSet which installs the calico/node pod and CNI plugin.
  • A ReplicaSet which installs the calico/kube-policy-controller pod.

To intall these components, first ensure you’re in the correct directory:


Then, install the Calico manifest:

kubectl apply -f hosted/calico.yaml

You should see the pods start in the kube-system Namespace:

$ kubectl get pods --namespace=kube-system
NAME                             READY     STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
calico-node-1f4ih                2/2       Running   0          1m
calico-node-hor7x                2/2       Running   0          1m
calico-node-si5br                2/2       Running   0          1m
calico-policy-controller-so4gl   1/1       Running   0          1m
  info: 1 completed object(s) was(were) not shown in pods list. Pass --show-all to see all objects.

Install DNS

To install KubeDNS, use the provided manifest. This enables Kubernetes Service discovery.

kubectl apply -f manifests/skydns.yaml

5. Configure the Calico IP pool

To enable connectivity to the internet for our Pods, we’ll use calicoctl:

# Log into the master instance.
gcloud compute ssh kubernetes-master

# Enable outgoing NAT and ipip on the Calico pool.
docker run -i --rm --net=host calico/ctl:v1.0.1 apply -f -<<EOF
apiVersion: v1
kind: ipPool
    enabled: true
  nat-outgoing: true

Next Steps

You should now have a fully functioning Kubernetes cluster using Calico for networking. You’re ready to use your cluster.

We recommend you try using Calico for Kubernetes NetworkPolicy.