System Requirements

Before installing Cilium. Please ensure that your system is meeting the minimal requirements to run Cilium. Most modern Linux distributions will automatically meet the requirements.


When running Cilium using the container image cilium/cilium, these are the requirements your system has to fulfill:

The following additional dependencies are only required if you choose not to use the cilium/cilium container image and want to run Cilium as a native process on your host:

Linux Distribution Compatibility Matrix

The following table lists Linux distributions versions which are known to work well with Cilium.

Distribution Minimal Version
CoreOS stable (>= 1298.5.0)
Debian >= 9 Stretch
Fedora Atomic/Core >= 25
LinuxKit all
Ubuntu >= 16.04.2, >= 16.10


The above list is composed based on feedback by users, if you have good experience with a particular Linux distribution which is not listed below, please let us know by opening a GitHub issue or by creating a pull request to update this guide.

Linux Kernel

Cilium leverages and builds on the kernel functionality BPF as well as various subsystems which integrate with BPF. Therefore, all systems that will run a Cilium agent are required to run the Linux kernel version 4.8.0 or later.

The 4.8.0 kernel is the minimal kernel version required, more recent kernels may provide additional BPF functionality. Cilium will automatically detect additional available functionality by probing for the functionality when the agent starts.

In order for the BPF feature to be enabled properly, the following kernel configuration options must be enabled. This is typically the case automatically with distribution kernels. If an option provides the choice to build as module or statically linked, then both choices are valid.


Key-Value store

Cilium uses a distributed Key-Value store to manage and distribute security identities across all cluster nodes. The following Key-Value stores are currently supported:

  • etcd >= 3.1.0
  • consul >= 0.6.4

See section Key-Value Store for details on how to configure the cilium-agent to use a Key-Value store.



This requirement is only needed if you run cilium-agent natively. If you are using the Cilium container image cilium/cilium, clang+LLVM is included in the container image.

LLVM is the compiler suite which Cilium uses to generate BPF bytecode before loading the programs into the Linux kernel. The minimal version of LLVM installed on the system is >=3.7.1. The version of clang installed must be compiled with the BPF backend enabled.

See for information on how to download and install LLVM. Be aware that in order to use clang 3.9.x, the kernel version requirement is >= 4.9.17.



This requirement is only needed if you run cilium-agent natively. If you are using the Cilium container image cilium/cilium, iproute2 is included in the container image.

iproute2 is a low level tool used to configure various networking related subsystems of the Linux kernel. Cilium uses iproute2 to configure networking and tc which is part of iproute2 to load BPF programs into the kernel.

The minimal version of iproute2 installed must be >= 4.8.0. Please see for documentation on how to install iproute2.