Basic Network Isolation

This guide provides a simple way to try out rkt network isolation with Calico. It requires a cluster of nodes configured with Calico networking, and expects that you have rkt installed and calicoctl configured to interact with the cluster.

You can quickly and easily deploy such a cluster by following one of the getting started guides

For simplicity, we assume you have a two node cluster with the node names calico-01 and calico-02. If your nodes have different names, adjust the instructions accordingly.

1. Verify Calico service is running

Your installation should have installed and started the Calico service on each node. You can check that it’s running using sudo rkt list.

$ sudo rkt list
UUID      APP	IMAGE NAME                  STATE   CREATED         STARTED         NETWORKS
b52bba11  node  running 10 seconds ago  10 seconds ago

2. Create the networks

You can configure multiple networks when using rkt. Each network is represented by a configuration file in /etc/rkt/net.d/. By default, when using Calico CNI, connections to a given container are only allowed from containers on the same network. This can be changed by applying additional Calico policy - which will be discussed in advanced tutorials.

To define a rkt network for Calico, create a configuration file in /etc/rkt/net.d/.

  • Each network should be given a unique “name”.
  • To use Calico networking, specify “type”: “calico”
  • To use Calico IPAM, specify “type”: “calico-ipam” in the “ipam” section.

Calico will create an identically named profile for each Calico-rkt network, by default the policy specified in the profile allows full communication between containers within the same network (i.e. using the same profile) but prohibits ingress traffic from containers on other networks.

This worked example creates two rkt networks. Run these commands on both calico-01 and calico-02

cat >/etc/rkt/net.d/10-calico-network1.conf <<EOF
    "name": "network1",
    "cniVersion": "0.1.0",
    "type": "calico",
    "ipam": {
        "type": "calico-ipam"

cat >/etc/rkt/net.d/10-calico-network2.conf <<EOF
    "name": "network2",
    "cniVersion": "0.1.0",
    "type": "calico",
    "ipam": {
        "type": "calico-ipam"

3. Create test container

With the networks created, let’s start some containers. We’ll create a container on calico-01 in network1, and then create containers on calico-02 in each network to check connectivity to the first container. For this tutorial, the container we create on calico-01 will be a busybox image running a simple HTTP daemon httpd serving up the containers local filesystem over HTTP.

On calico-01

Create the container in network1. Note that we include a suffix :IP=, this is used to pass the IP environment through to the network plugin which Calico IPAM uses to assign a specific IP address. We use a fixed IP address to simplify the steps in this tutorial, however if the suffix is omitted, Calico IPAM will automatically select an IP address to use from it’s configured IP Pools.

sudo rkt run --net=network1:IP= docker://busybox --exec httpd -- -f -h / &

Use rkt list to see the IP.

$ sudo rkt list
UUID      APP      IMAGE NAME                                   STATE   CREATED         STARTED         NETWORKS
6876aae5  busybox  running 11 seconds ago  11 seconds ago  network1:ip4=, default-restricted:ip4=
b52bba11  node                   running 2 minutes ago   2 minutes ago

We now have a busybox container running on the network network1 with an IP address of You will see that rkt also creates a second network called default-restricted - this is used for communication with the rkt metadata service running on the host and is discussed in the rkt documentation.

4. Validate intra-network connectivity

Now that we have created the container on calico-01 and we know its IP address. We can access it using wget from containers running on either host, as long as they are created in the same network.

e.g. On calico-02 use wget to access the container running on calico-01

sudo rkt run --net=network1 docker://busybox --exec=/bin/wget -- -T 3 2>/dev/null

Expected output:

[  576.042144] busybox[5]: Connecting to (
[  576.046836] busybox[5]: passwd               100% |*******************************|   334   0:00:00 ETA

This command runs the wget command in a busybox container to fetch the passwd file from our host. ‘-T 3’ tells wget to only wait for 3 seconds for a response. Stderr is redirected to /dev/null as we’re not interested in the logs from rkt for this command.

You can repeat this command on calico-01 and check that access works the same from any server in your cluster.

5. Checking inter-network isolation

Repeat the above command but try to access the container on calico-01 from network2. Because we’ve not allowed access between these networks, the command will fail.

sudo rkt run --net=network2 docker://busybox --exec=/bin/wget -- -T 3 2>/dev/null

Expected output:

[  621.119210] busybox[5]: Connecting to (
[  624.120081] busybox[5]: wget: download timed out

6. Verify Calico profiles were created

You can use the calicoctl get profiles command line tool to verify that the Calico CNI plugin created two profiles, network1 and network2:

$ calicoctl get profiles

7. Resetting/Cleanup

If you want to start again from the beginning, then run the following commands on both hosts to ensure that all the rkt containers are removed.

# Stop the network1/network2 containers
sudo rkt stop --force <Container_UUID>

# Remove the stopped containers
sudo rkt list --no-legend | cut -f1 | sudo xargs rkt rm