Multi-Pool (Beta)


This is a beta feature. Please provide feedback and file a GitHub issue if you experience any problems.

The Multi-Pool IPAM mode supports allocating PodCIDRs from multiple different IPAM pools, depending on properties of the workload defined by the user, e.g. annotations.



When running in the Multi-Pool IPAM mode, Cilium will use the annotation on pods and namespaces to determine the IPAM pool from which a pod’s IP is allocated from.

  1. If there is an annotation on the pod itself, Cilium will allocate the pod’s IP from the pool named A.

  2. If there is no annotation on the pod, but the namespace of the pod has an annotation, Cilium will allocate the pod’s IP from the pool named B.

  3. If neither the pod nor the namespace have a annotation, the pod’s IP will be allocated from the pool named default.

The annotation is only considered when a pod is created. Changing the ip-pool annotation on an already running pod has no effect.

The CiliumNode resource is extended with an additional spec.ipam.pools section:


List of IPAM pool requests for this node. Each entry specifies the pool and the number of requested IP addresses. This field is owned and written to by the Cilium agent running on the particular node. It is read by the Cilium operator to fulfill the requests.


List of CIDRs allocated to this node and the pool they were allocated from. Cilium operator adds new PodCIDRs to this field. Cilium agent removes PodCIDRs it has released and is no longer using.

IP pools are managed using the cluster-wide CiliumPodIPPool custom resource. Each CiliumPodIPPool contains the cluster-wide CIDR from which per-node PodCIDRs are allocated:

kind: CiliumPodIPPool
  name: green-pool
    maskSize: 24
      - fd00::/104
    maskSize: 120

New pools can be added at run-time. The list of CIDRs in each pool can also be extended at run-time. In-use CIDRs may not be removed from an existing pool, and existing pools may not be deleted if they are still in use by a Cilium node. The mask size of a pool is immutable and the same for all nodes. Neither restriction is enforced until GitHub issue 26966 is resolved.


Multi-Pool IPAM can be enabled using the ipam.mode=multi-pool Helm value. To have the Cilium operator automatically create CiliumPodIPPools custom resources at startup, use the ipam.operator.autoCreateCiliumPodIPPools Helm value. It contains a map which follows the CiliumPodIPPools CRD schema described above.

  mode: multi-pool
          maskSize: 24
          maskSize: 24


For a practical tutorial on how to enable this mode in Cilium, see CRD-Backed by Cilium Multi-Pool IPAM (Beta).

Allocation Parameters

Cilium agent can be configured to pre-allocate IPs from each pool. This behavior can be controlled using the ipam-multi-pool-pre-allocation flag. It contains a key-value map of the form <pool-name>=<preAllocIPs> where preAllocIPs specifies how many IPs are to be pre-allocated to the local node. The same number of IPs are pre-allocated for each address family. This means that a pool which contains both IPv4 and IPv6 CIDRs will pre-allocate preAllocIPs IPv4 addresses and preAllocIPs IPv6 addresses.

The flag defaults to default=8, which means it will pre-allocate 8 IPs from the default pool. All other pools which do not have an entry in the ipam-multi-pool-pre-allocation map are assumed to have a preAllocIPs of zero, i.e. no IPs are pre-allocated for that pool.

Depending on the number of in-use IPs and the number of pending IP allocation requests, Cilium agent might pre-allocate more than preAllocIPs IPs. The formula Cilium agent uses to compute the absolute number of needed IPs from each pool is:

neededIPs = roundUp(inUseIPs + pendingIPs + preAllocIPs, preAllocIPs)

Where inUseIPs is the number of IPs that are currently in use, pendingIPs number of IPs that have a pending pod (i.e. pods which have been scheduled on the node, but not yet received an IP), and preAllocIPs is the minimum number of IPs that we want to pre-allocate as a buffer, i.e. the value taken from the ipam-multi-pool-pre-allocation map.


Multi-Pool IPAM is a preview feature. The following limitations apply to Cilium running in Multi-Pool IPAM mode:


  • Tunnel mode is not supported. Multi-Pool IPAM may only be used in direct routing mode.

  • Transparent encryption is only supported with WireGuard and cannot be used with IPSec.

  • IPAM pools with overlapping CIDRs are not supported. Each pod IP must be unique in the cluster due the way Cilium determines the security identity of endpoints by way of the IPCache.

  • Multi-Pool IPAM does not support local node routes (enable-local-node-route) and requires the use of per-endpoint routes (see Native-Routing) instead.

  • iptables-based masquerading requires egressMasqueradeInterfaces to be set (see masquerading Implementation Modes and GitHub issue 22273 for details). Alternatively, eBPF-based masquerading is fully supported and may be used instead. Note that if the used IPAM pools do not belong to a common native-routing CIDR, you may want to use ip-masq-agent, which allows multiple disjunct non-masquerading CIDRs to be defined. See Masquerading for details on how to use the ip-masq-agent feature.

  • Announcing PodCIDRs by way of the built-in MetalLB BGP ControlPlane (deprecated) mode is not yet supported. Use auto-direct-node-routes instead.