I’m super excited to unveil Project Longhorn, a new way to build distributed block storage for cloud- and container-based deployments. Following the principles of microservices, we have leveraged containers to build distributed block storage out of small independent components, and use container orchestration to coordinate these components to form a resilient distributed system.
To keep up with the growing scale of cloud- and container-based deployments, distributed block storage systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated. The number of volumes a storage controller serves continues to increase. While storage controllers in the early 2000s served no more than a few dozen volumes, modern cloud environments require tens of thousands to millions of distributed block storage volumes. Storage controllers have therefore become highly complex distributed systems. Read more
On Friday we released version 1.5 of the Rancher container management platform. The enhancements in this release are designed to help ensure enterprise- as well as production-readiness. Additional webhooks improve Rancher extensibility and enable you to optimize overall infrastructure utilization. New API, networking and container scheduling policies provide fine-grained control of the container environment. Additional enhancements include metadata performance improvements and conditional logic support for catalog templates. Read more
Rancher 1.4 is out today! As always, we encourage you to review the release notes. However, we’d like to run through a few notable changes, and the rationale behind them here.
First, we’ve continued our move towards a friendlier Kubernetes experience by transitioning to Dashboard and Helm, which replace the Rancher Kubernetes UI and Catalog Kubernetes templates, respectively. We started this move in 1.3 as both Dashboard and Helm have matured tremendously in the past year, and we feel they’ve reached production stability and feature parity with what they’re replacing. Our goal at Rancher Labs is always to support mainstream container technologies, and integrating Dashboard and Helm is a natural part of that philosophy.
Earlier this week, we released Rancher 1.3. It includes several new features: user interface fixes, changes to our DNS engines, and improvements when using Kubernetes and associated tooling. However, Rancher 1.3 also begins addressing a frequent request we receive from users: Windows 2016 support.
Windows support in Rancher 1.3 is purely experimental and limited in scope (you can read more in our docs), but it’s an important step towards serving the needs of our customers as containers become more widely adopted in enterprises. A huge portion of the world’s workloads run on Windows server and client systems, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future; our goal at Rancher Labs is to make applications truly portable across clouds and infrastructure, and enabling workloads with Windows containers is a key part of that vision. Read more
I am very excited to announce the release of Rancher 1.2! This release goes beyond the requisite support for the latest versions of Kubernetes, Docker, and Docker Compose, and includes major enhancements to the Rancher container management platform itself
Rancher 1.2 fully supports the latest storage and networking plugin frameworks (more on this later), and introduces a new and simplified HA setup, a more flexible configuration of Rancher’s HAProxy load balancer, and a new Rancher CLI. We’ve also added SAML 2.0 support, resource scheduling, and numerous improvements for performance and scale. This is a relatively large release, with many more features outlined in the release notes.
Out of all these enhancements, there’s a few things that we’d like to highlight:
Full support for container networking and storage plugin frameworks
Last year, Docker introduced Docker Volume plugins and libnetwork, while Kubernetes opted for the Container Network Interface (CNI) and FlexVolume frameworks. Since then, we’ve seen the container ecosystem explode with implementations of all these plugin frameworks to allow users to take advantage of the vast storage and network solutions out there today.
One of Rancher’s superpowers is enabling users to leverage their tooling of choice across diverse infrastructure. With the release of v1.2, Rancher supports CNI and is fully capable of leveraging any vendor CNI network plugins, along with our own newly-rewritten IPSec and VXLAN solutions for cross-host networking. Users can also create volumes with any Docker Volume plugins scoped to the container, stack, or environment. Plugins included with Rancher 1.2 are our newly-rewritten support for NFS (which replaces ConvoyNFS), AWS EFS, and AWS EBS, with more to come.
While Rancher 1.2 provides users with the ability to distribute and provide lifecycle management for storage and networking plugins, we are also introducing the concept of custom environment templates. Networking and storage plugins can now be incorporated as options in a customizable template, which also includes options for orchestration engines, external DNS, and health checks. This allows users to better organize and manage services, and provides a straightforward, consistent, and repeatable deployment of your infrastructure services. In the future, we expect to expand the scope of environment templates to include additional infrastructure services such as logging, monitoring, and databases.
Faster, more frequent releases
Finally, when Rancher became generally available with v1.0 earlier this year, our goal was to provide stable releases each quarter, with bi-weekly pre-release snapshots for our open source community eager to play with our latest enhancements. However, key components in Docker and Kubernetes adhere to different release schedules, and our open source community requires stable releases more frequently than each quarter. We have decided that starting with v1.3, we will ship monthly stable releases of Rancher.
This means we will no longer ship pre-release builds as we have in the past, though release candidates will be available for download and test. We hope with this new release schedule, we will be able to increase our agility to ship new features, remain up-to-date with Docker and Kubernetes, and shorten the time between stable releases for Rancher users that want to quickly take advantage of new features and major fixes.
We really could not have released Rancher 1.2 without the support of our customers and open source community so a very BIG thank you for helping us with this release. We also have big plans for 2017 and can’t wait to share that with you as soon as we can. Stay tuned!
Version v0.7.0 of RancherOS, which mainly contains bug fixes and enhancements, was recently released and is now available on our releases page. Since there hasn’t been a blog post since the v0.5.0 release, this post also includes some of the key features implemented as part of v0.6.0 and v0.6.1. In addition to switching the default Docker version to 1.12.1 and kernel version to 4.4.21, the following features have been implemented.
Better Support for Switching Docker Engines
It has always been part of the design of RancherOS to run two instances of Docker. The first is System Docker, which runs as PID 1 and is responsible for managing system services. The other, which we typically call User Docker or just Docker, is actually run as a container managed by System Docker. Starting with v0.6.0, the process for changing the User Docker container has been made much easier. Read more