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 Kubernetes Settings 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}

Install Cilium by running:

cilium install --version 1.14.2

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)

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

Next Steps