Flannel + Calico -> Canal - what's your ultimate k8s networking?

· 2 min read
Flannel + Calico -> Canal - what's your ultimate k8s networking?

In the context of Kubernetes, the terms "Canal," "Flannel," and "Calico" refer to different networking solutions that are used to manage networking for pods and services within a Kubernetes cluster. Each of these provides a way to implement the Kubernetes networking model, but they do so in different ways and offer different features:


  • Nature: Calico is a comprehensive networking and network security solution for containers, virtual machines, and bare-metal workloads. It supports a wide range of platforms including Kubernetes, OpenShift, Docker EE, and others.
  • Key Features: Calico provides high performance, scalable networking and advanced network policy enforcement. It supports both overlay and non-overlay networks, meaning it can work in environments where pods are given IP addresses that are routable within the larger network, as well as environments that require encapsulation (like VXLAN or IP-in-IP).
  • Use Cases: It's particularly well-suited for large-scale or security-sensitive environments due to its emphasis on network security through advanced policy enforcement.


  • Nature: Flannel is a simple and easy-to-use overlay network that can create a subnet for each host in a Kubernetes cluster. It's designed to be easy to configure and deploy, focusing on simplicity and ease of use.
  • Key Features: Flannel's main feature is its simplicity. It uses a layer 3 network fabric designed for Kubernetes, and it supports several backends including VXLAN (default), IPsec, AWS VPC, and others for traffic encapsulation.
  • Use Cases: Flannel is a good choice for simpler or smaller networks where advanced features like network policy enforcement are not required. It's often used in development environments or smaller production environments.


  • Nature: Canal represents a combination of Flannel and Calico, offering a blend of both solutions' features. It uses Flannel for networking and Calico for network policy enforcement.
  • Key Features: By combining Flannel's simple networking setup with Calico's advanced network policies, Canal offers a balanced solution for Kubernetes networking that is both easy to deploy and secure.
  • Use Cases: Canal is suitable for users who want the simplicity of Flannel's network overlay and routing capabilities but also need the sophisticated network policy enforcement that Calico provides.

In summary, the choice between Calico, Flannel, and Canal for Kubernetes networking depends on the specific requirements of your environment, such as performance needs, network policy complexity, and ease of use. Calico is preferred for environments requiring advanced networking and security features, Flannel for simpler or smaller scale setups, and Canal offers a middle ground by combining Flannel's simplicity with Calico's network policy features.