Installing Felix as a static binary

These instructions will take you through a first-time install of Calico’s per-host daemon, Felix, starting with the calico-felix binary. These instructions apply to Calico v2.1.0 and above. Older versions were packaged differently.

Note: This install process is most suited to bare-metal-only installations where Felix is to be used to control policy for the host’s interfaces. For OpenStack and containers there are additional daemons that need to be installed, which are not covered here.


Felix has the following pre-requisites:

  • For IPv4 support, Linux kernel v2.6.32 is required. We have tested against v2.6.32-573+. Note: if you intend to run containers, Docker requires kernel >=v3.10. The kernel’s version can be checked with uname -a.
  • For IPv6 support, Linux kernel 3.10+ is required (due to the lack of reverse path filtering for IPv6 in older versions).
  • conntrack-tools; in particular, the conntrack command must be available. We test against >=v1.4.1. To check the version, run conntrack --version.
  • iptables; for IPv6 support, the ip6tables command must be available. We test against >=v1.4.7. To check the version, run iptables --version.
  • ipset; we test against >=v6.11. To check the version, run ipset --version.
  • The conntrack, iptables and ipsets kernel modules must be available (or compiled-in).
  • An etcd cluster that supports the etcdv2 protocol. We recommend running the latest stable release of etcd v3.x. To check the version, run etcd --version

Note: If any of the commands above fail when run with the --version flag then you have an old version that doesn’t support reporting its version.

Download and install the binary

The calico-felix binary is distributed via the Github releases page. Download the calico-felix attachment to your system, then make it executable and move it to a location on your path, for example:

curl -o calico-felix <URL of binary>
chmod +x calico-felix
sudo cp calico-felix /usr/local/bin

Create a start-up script

Felix should be started at boot by your init system and the init system must be configured to restart Felix if it stops. Felix relies on that behaviour for certain configuration changes.

If your distribution uses systemd, then you could use the following unit file:

Description=Calico Felix agent

ExecStartPre=/usr/bin/mkdir -p /var/run/calico


Or, for upstart:

description "Felix (Calico agent)"
author "Project Calico Maintainers <>"

start on stopped rc RUNLEVEL=[2345]
stop on runlevel [!2345]

limit nofile 32000 32000

respawn limit 5 10

chdir /var/run

pre-start script
  mkdir -p /var/run/calico
  chown root:root /var/run/calico
end script

exec /usr/local/bin/calico-felix

Configure Felix

Optionally, you can create a file at /etc/calico/felix.cfg to configure Felix. The configuration file as well as other options for configuring felix (including environment variables) are described in this document.

If etcd is not running on the local machine, it’s essential to configure the EtcdAddr or EtcdEndpoints setting to tell Felix how to reach etcd.

Felix tries to detect whether IPv6 is available on your platform but the detection can fail on older (or more unusual) systems. If Felix exits soon after startup with ipset or iptables errors try setting the Ipv6Support setting to false.

Start Felix

Once you’ve configured Felix, start it up via your init system.

For systemd, with the above unit file installed, you could run:

systemctl start calico-felix

For upstart:

start calico-felix

Running Felix manually

For debugging, it’s sometimes useful to run Felix manually and tell it to emit its logs to screen. You can do that with the following command:

FELIX_LOGSEVERITYSCREEN=INFO /opt/calico-felix/calico-felix