How to Get Started with Rancher’s New Multi-Tenant Prometheus Support and Alpha Release Process

Ankur Agarwal
Ankur Agarwal
Gray Calendar Icon Published: December 12, 2018
Gray Calendar Icon Updated: September 11, 2019
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I recently started at Rancher Labs as the Head of Product Management. I have been in the DevOps space since my time at VMware when we built Cloud Foundry back in 2011. But it wasn’t until 2014 that I started to look at containers seriously. When Kubernetes launched the next year, it was clear that enterprises needed an easier way to deploy containers in their internal environments. I launched Qubeship.io as an enterprise-grade CI/CD tool for containers. Managing the Kubernetes cluster, however, still remained a huge challenge.

Rancher solved this problem. It evolved quickly from being a container orchestration engine to a multi-cluster, multi-tenant Kubernetes management platform and has made container deployments manageable for thousands of enterprises worldwide.

Rancher 2.2 takes this evolution further, and while it’s loaded with new features and bug fixes, I am here to introduce two specific ones:

  • A new preview release process, and
  • An out of the box monitoring solution for Rancher managed clusters.

Preview Releases

Beginning with Rancher 2.2, we will ship a series of preview builds before the final GA release. This gives users enough time to experiment with the new features and to assist with identifying potential issues.

Preview builds are bleeding edge and will contain new features, enhancements and bug fixes. They are not meant to be deployed in production.

Upgrading to or from a preview release is not tested or supported, even if it may work for some users.

When new features drop, we’ll announce them with blog posts, video tutorials, and meetups. The release notes for each drop will also contain information about the features present in the release and any known issues.

We truly value the feedback/comments/suggestions we receive from the community. This change to our release process is another step to let you provide input prior to a GA release and help shape the products we build.

Advanced Monitoring, Powered by Prometheus

Last week, we published an article about how to monitor your Rancher managed Kubernetes environments with Prometheus. It gave an overview of Kubernetes and then showed how to monitor Rancher managed clusters by installing Prometheus and Grafana from our catalog.

Rancher 2.2 simplifies and cuts this process down to just 2 steps:

  1. Select the cluster and
  2. Click a button to enable monitoring.

That’s it!

We can do it this simply because Rancher 2.2 ships with a fully integrated Prometheus and Grafana.

The Process in Detail

  • Log in and select the cluster that you’d like to monitor. Notice that CPU Utilization, Memory Utilization and Pods charts show the current state of the system. These metrics, while useful, only show what is happening right now.

cluster monitoring

  • Navigate to the tools tab and select the “Monitoring” option.

tools tab

  • Click on the “Prometheus” button. You could leave the default options for data retention and the port.
  • Note the options to add persistent storage for storing Prometheus and Grafana data. If you’d like to enable it, select it now. For this demo, I left them unselected.
  • Save your changes. Prometheus button

  • Navigate back to the cluster and you will see additional sections for Cluster Metrics, Etcd Metrics, Kubernetes Component Metrics and Rancher Logging Metrics New Sections for Cluster Monitoring

  • Expand each one to see the new metrics. Hover over a chart to see even more details. expanded view of cluster metrics

  • Using the time series dropdown you can now zoom in further and see the performance of the system over time. time series dropdown

  • Click on the Grafana icon to view the dashboard. Grafana dashboard

Let’s look at the Project level monitoring now.

Project-level Monitoring

Projects are a powerful way in Rancher to allow multiple teams to have their own, multi-tenant workspaces (or projects) on the same cluster.

  • Select a Project with a Workload and navigate to Tools → Monitoring. If not already enabled, select the Prometheus monitoring button to enable it.

Navigate back to the Workload tab and expand the now available “Workload Metrics” section to see all the utilization and I/O metrics. Hover over any chart to see even more details and use the time series dropdown to zoom in on a specific time period.

Expanded Workload Metrics Section

You have an option to drill down further into Pod and even container-level metrics. Just click on the component you’d like observe, and then follow the same steps as above for Pod Metrics and Container Metrics. Zoomed-in Pod Metrics

Zoomed-in Container Metrics

Conclusion

In this article you saw how Rancher 2.2 gives you an out of the box monitoring solution powered by Prometheus and Grafana.

We have already shipped multiple Alpha builds for you to play with.You can find them here. As always, your feedback adds to product quality and helps us develop features and capabilities that solve real problems for the community as a whole.

Keep Rancher-ing!

Don't Miss Rancher's Monthly Online Meetups.
In-depth online demos and discussion of latest products releases and best practices.
Ankur Agarwal
Ankur Agarwal
Head of Product Management
Ankur joined Rancher from Qubeship.io, a CA Accelerator that he founded. He has led Product Management at VMware, Mercury Interactive and Oracle. In his spare time, he volunteers at his daughter’s elementary school, helping kids code.
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