Installation Using Rancher Desktop

This guide walks you through installation of Cilium on Rancher Desktop, an open-source desktop application for Mac, Windows and Linux.

Configure Rancher Desktop

Configuring Rancher Desktop is done using a YAML configuration file. This step is necessary in order to disable the default CNI and replace it with Cilium.

Next you need to start Rancher Desktop with containerd and create a override.yaml:

  # needed for cilium
  INSTALL_K3S_EXEC: '--flannel-backend=none --disable-network-policy'
  # needs root to mount
  - mode: system
    script: |
      set -e

      # needed for cilium
      mount bpffs -t bpf /sys/fs/bpf
      mount --make-shared /sys/fs/bpf

      mkdir -p /run/cilium/cgroupv2
      mount -t cgroup2 none /run/cilium/cgroupv2
      mount --make-shared /run/cilium/cgroupv2/

After the file is created move it into your Rancher Desktop’s lima/_config directory:

cp override.yaml ~/.local/share/rancher-desktop/lima/_config/override.yaml

Finally, open the Rancher Desktop UI and go to the Troubleshooting panel and click “Reset Kubernetes”.

After a few minutes Rancher Desktop will start back up prepared for installing Cilium.

Install Cilium


Make sure you install cilium-cli v0.15.0 or later. The rest of instructions do not work with older versions of cilium-cli. To confirm the cilium-cli version that’s installed in your system, run:

cilium version --client

See Cilium CLI upgrade notes for more details.

Install the latest version of the Cilium CLI. The Cilium CLI can be used to install Cilium, inspect the state of a Cilium installation, and enable/disable various features (e.g. clustermesh, Hubble).

if [ "$(uname -m)" = "aarch64" ]; then CLI_ARCH=arm64; fi
curl -L --fail --remote-name-all${CILIUM_CLI_VERSION}/cilium-linux-${CLI_ARCH}.tar.gz{,.sha256sum}
sha256sum --check cilium-linux-${CLI_ARCH}.tar.gz.sha256sum
sudo tar xzvfC cilium-linux-${CLI_ARCH}.tar.gz /usr/local/bin
rm cilium-linux-${CLI_ARCH}.tar.gz{,.sha256sum}

Clone the Cilium GitHub repository so that the Cilium CLI can access the latest unreleased Helm chart from the main branch:

git clone
cd cilium

Install Cilium by running:

cilium install --chart-directory ./install/kubernetes/cilium

Validate the Installation

To validate that Cilium has been properly installed, you can run

$ cilium status --wait
/¯¯\__/¯¯\    Cilium:         OK
\__/¯¯\__/    Operator:       OK
/¯¯\__/¯¯\    Hubble:         disabled
\__/¯¯\__/    ClusterMesh:    disabled

DaemonSet         cilium             Desired: 2, Ready: 2/2, Available: 2/2
Deployment        cilium-operator    Desired: 2, Ready: 2/2, Available: 2/2
Containers:       cilium-operator    Running: 2
                  cilium             Running: 2
Image versions    cilium    2
                  cilium-operator 2

Run the following command to validate that your cluster has proper network connectivity:

$ cilium connectivity test
ℹ️  Monitor aggregation detected, will skip some flow validation steps
✨ [k8s-cluster] Creating namespace for connectivity check...
📋 Test Report
✅ 69/69 tests successful (0 warnings)


The connectivity test may fail to deploy due to too many open files in one or more of the pods. If you notice this error, you can increase the inotify resource limits on your host machine (see Pod errors due to “too many open files”).

Congratulations! You have a fully functional Kubernetes cluster with Cilium. 🎉

Next Steps