About the Solo distribution of Cilium

Use Gloo Mesh Core with Solo distributions of Cilium images to provide connectivity, security, and observability for containerized workloads with a Cilium-based container network interface (CNI) plug-in that leverages the Linux kernel technology eBPF. The Solo distributions of Cilium is a hardened Cilium enterprise image, which maintains support for security patches to address Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) and other security fixes. To learn more about the benefits and architecture, see About.

Keep in mind that Gloo Mesh Core offers security patching support only with the Solo distributions of Cilium versions, not community Cilium versions. Solo distributions of Cilium versions support the same patch versions as community Cilium. You can review community Cilium patch versions in the Cilium release documentation. To get the backported Cilium support, you must run the latest Gloo Mesh Core patch version.

To download the Solo distribution of a Cilium image, you must be a registered user and be able to log in to the Solo Support Center. Open the Cilium images built by Solo.io support article. When prompted, log in to the Support Center with your Solo account credentials.

The following versions of Gloo Mesh Core are supported with the compatible Solo versions of Cilium. Later versions of the open source project that are released after Gloo Mesh Core might also work, but are not tested as part of the Gloo Mesh Core release.

Gloo Mesh CoreRelease dateSupported Solo distributions of Cilium versions tested by Solo
2.509 Jan 2024Cilium 1.12 - 1.14 on Kubernetes 1.22 - 1.28

Before you begin

  1. Install the following command-line (CLI) tools.

    • kubectl, the Kubernetes command line tool. Download the kubectl version that is within one minor version of the Kubernetes clusters you plan to use.
    • meshctl, the Solo command line tool.
        curl -sL https://run.solo.io/meshctl/install | GLOO_MESH_VERSION=v2.6.0-beta3 sh -
      export PATH=$HOME/.gloo-mesh/bin:$PATH
    • helm, the Kubernetes package manager.
    • cilium, the Cilium command line tool.
  2. Create environment variables for the following details.

    • SOLO_CILIUM_REPO: A repo key for the Solo distribution of Cilium that you can get by logging in to the Support Center and reviewing the Cilium images built by Solo.io support article.
    • CILIUM_VERSION: The Cilium version that you want to install. This example uses the latest version.
      export SOLO_CILIUM_REPO=<cilium_repo_key>
    export CILIUM_VERSION=1.14.2
  3. Optional: If you plan to run Istio with sidecar injection and the Cilium CNI in tunneling mode (VXLAN or GENEVE) on an Amazon EKS cluster, see Considerations for running Cilium and Istio on EKS.

Install the Solo distribution of the Cilium CNI

  1. Create or use Kubernetes clusters that meet the Cilium requirements. For example, to try out the Cilium CNI in Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) clusters, your clusters must be created with specific node taints.

    1. Open the Cilium documentation and find the cloud provider that you want to use to create your clusters.

    2. Follow the steps of your cloud provider to create one or more clusters that meet the Cilium requirements.

      • The instructions in the Cilium documentation might create a cluster with insufficient CPU and memory resources for Gloo Mesh Core. Make sure that you use a machine type with at least 2vCPU and 8GB of memory.
      • The cluster name must be alphanumeric with no special characters except a hyphen (-), lowercase, and begin with a letter (not a number).
      • Multicluster setups only: For a multicluster setup, you need at least two clusters. One cluster is set up as the Gloo management plane where the management components are installed. The other cluster is registered as your data plane and runs your Kubernetes workloads and Istio service mesh. You can optionally add more workload clusters to your setup. The instructions in this guide assume one management cluster and two workload clusters.

      Example to create a cluster in GKE:

        export NAME="$(whoami)-$RANDOM"                                                        
      gcloud container clusters create "${NAME}" \
      --node-taints node.cilium.io/agent-not-ready=true:NoExecute \
      --zone us-west2-a \
      --machine-type e2-standard-2
      gcloud container clusters get-credentials "${NAME}" --zone us-west2-a
  2. Add and update the Cilium Helm repo.

      helm repo add cilium https://helm.cilium.io/
    helm repo update
  3. Install the CNI by using a Solo distribution of Cilium in your cluster. Be sure to include the following settings for compatability with Gloo Mesh Core, and the necessary settings for your infrastructure provider.

    Example output:

      NAME: cilium
    LAST DEPLOYED: Fri Sep 16 10:31:52 2022
    NAMESPACE: kube-system
    STATUS: deployed
    TEST SUITE: None
    You have successfully installed Cilium with Hubble.
    Your release version is 1.14.2.
    For any further help, visit https://docs.cilium.io/en/v1.12/gettinghelp
  4. Verify that the Cilium CNI is successfully installed. Because the Cilium agent is deployed as a daemon set, the number of Cilium and Cilium node init pods equals the number of nodes in your cluster.

      kubectl get pods -n kube-system | grep cilium

    Example output:

      cilium-gbqgq                                                  1/1     Running             0          48s
    cilium-j9n5x                                                  1/1     Running             0          48s
    cilium-node-init-c7rxb                                        1/1     Running             0          48s
    cilium-node-init-pnblb                                        1/1     Running             0          48s
    cilium-node-init-wdtjm                                        1/1     Running             0          48s
    cilium-operator-69dd4567b5-2gjgg                              1/1     Running             0          47s
    cilium-operator-69dd4567b5-ww6wp                              1/1     Running             0          47s
    cilium-smp9c                                                  1/1     Running             0          48s
  5. Check the status of the Cilium installation.

      cilium status --wait

    Example output:

     /¯¯\__/¯¯\    Cilium:             OK
     \__/¯¯\__/    Operator:           OK
     /¯¯\__/¯¯\    Envoy DaemonSet:    disabled (using embedded mode)
     \__/¯¯\__/    Hubble Relay:       disabled
        \__/       ClusterMesh:        disabled
    Deployment             cilium-operator    Desired: 2, Ready: 2/2, Available: 2/2
    DaemonSet              cilium             Desired: 4, Ready: 4/4, Available: 4/4
    Containers:            cilium-operator    Running: 2
                           cilium             Running: 4
    Cluster Pods:          3/3 managed by Cilium
    Helm chart version:    1.14.2
    Image versions         cilium             ${SOLO_CILIUM_REPO}/cilium:v1.14.2: 4
                           cilium-operator    ${SOLO_CILIUM_REPO}/operator-generic:v1.14.2: 2
  6. Multicluster setups only: Repeat steps 3 - 5 to install the CNI in each cluster that you want to use in your Gloo Mesh Core environment.

  7. Continue with the Get started or Install with Helm guide to install the Gloo Mesh Core components in your clusters.