Installing and using Calico on Oracle Container Engine (OKE)

Ali Mukadam
2 min readMay 8, 2019

There are many cluster networking options for Kubernetes. 2 of the most popular are:

Source: The New Stack

Flannel is a simple and easy way to configure a layer 3 network fabric designed for Kubernetes. It is also used by default by Oracle Container Services for use with Kubernetes (aka Kubernetes on Oracle Linux) and by Oracle Container Engine (OKE).

Calico provides both a layer 3 networking and a network policy engine. Its policy engine can also be used together with flannel.

In this post, we will deploy Calico for network pod policy.

Manually installing Calico

If you have manually created the OKE Cluster using the cli or the OCI console, obtain the kubeconfig file and set your KUBECONFIG environment variable:

export KUBECONFIG=/path/to/kubeconfig

Download the Calico policy-only manifest for the Kubernetes API datastore:

curl \ \

By default, the pod CIDR block on OKE is Set this as an environment variable:

export POD_CID=""

Then replace the default pod CIDR block value ( in the calico.yaml. You can skip this step if your pod CIDR block is

sed -i -e "s?$POD_CIDR?g" calico.yaml

If your cluster consists of more than 50 worker nodes, then you need to do 1 additional step:

sed -i -e 's/typha_service_name:\s"none"/typha_service_name: calico-typha/g' calico.yaml

Apply the manifest:

kubectl apply -f calico.yaml

Calico also recommends a minimum of 3 replicas in production environment and 1 replica per every 200 node:

kubectl -n kube-system scale --current-replicas=1 --replicas=3 deployment/calico-typha

The installation steps and other recommendations can be viewed on the Calico website.

Installing Calico when provisioning with terraform-oci-oke module

If you are provisioning your cluster with the terraform-oci-oke module, there is an option to automate its installation. Set the following variables in your terraform.tfvars file

create_bastion = "true"
install_calico = "true"

and run terraform apply again:

terraform apply -auto-approve

The calico installation script in terraform-oci-oke also handles the cases when you have more than 50 nodes in your cluster and and the number of replicas needed are calculated and scaled to accordingly.

Testing Calico

If you want to test calico as a network pod policy engine, there are some very excellent recipes here. You should be able to take them all for a spin.

Alternatively, you can also try the tutorials on the Calico website.