Anatomy of a calico-node container
calico/node can be regarded as a helper container that bundles together the
various components required for networking containers with Calico. The key
In addition, we use runit for logging (
svlogd) and init (
The calico repostiory contains the Dockerfile for
calico/node along with various
configuration files that are used to configure and “glue” these components
calico/nodemay be run in policy only mode in which Felix runs, but both BIRD and confd are removed. This provides policy management without route distribution between hosts. This mode can be enabled by setting the environment variable
CALICO_NETWORKING=falsebefore starting the node with
calicoctl node run.
Calico Felix agent
The Felix daemon is the heart of Calico networking. Felix’s primary job is to program routes and ACL’s on a workload host to provide desired connectivity to and from workloads on the host.
Felix also programs interface information to the kernel for outgoing endpoint traffic. Felix instructs the host to respond to ARPs for workloads with the MAC address of the host.
For more details about Felix, please refer to the core calico project.
BIRD/BIRD6 internet routing daemon
BIRD is an open source BGP client that is used to exchange routing information between hosts. The routes that Felix programs into the kernel for endpoints are picked up by BIRD and distributed to BGP peers on the network, which provides inter-host routing.
There are two BIRD processes running in the
calico-node container. One for
IPv4 (bird) and one for IPv6 (bird6).
For more information on BIRD, please refer to the BIRD internet routing daemon project.
Calico uses a fork of the main BIRD repo, to include an additional feature required for IPIP support when running Calico in a cloud environment. Refer to the calico-bird repo for more details.
confd templating engine
The confd templating engine monitors the etcd datastore for any changes to BGP configuration (and some top level global default configuration such as AS Number, logging levels, and IPAM information).
Confd dynamically generates BIRD configuration files based on the data in etcd, triggered automatically from updates to the data. When the configuration file changes, confd triggers BIRD to load the new files.
For more information on confd, please refer to the confd project.
Calico uses a fork of the main confd repo which includes an additional change to improve performance with the handling of watch prefixes calico-bird repo for more details.