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This month's meetup: Introducing Rancher's New Multi-Tenant Prometheus Support

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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 the enterprises need an easier way to deploy containers in their internal environments. I launched Qubeship.io as an enterprise grade CI/CD tool for the containers. Managing the Kubernetes cluster, however, still remained a huge challenge — even we struggled with it.

Rancher, of course, solved this complex problem. It evolved quickly from being a container orchestration engine to a multi-cluster, multi-tenant Kubernetes management platform and solved the problem for hundreds, if not thousands of enterprises worldwide.

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

  • New, Alpha release process, and
  • An out of the box monitoring solution for Rancher managed clusters.

Alpha Releases

From Rancher 2.2.0 onward, we plan to ship a series of alpha builds before the final GA release. This gives users enough time to experiment with the new features and to assist with identifying potential issues.

Alpha builds are bleeding edge and may contain new features, enhancements and bug fixes. They are not meant to be deployed in production. Upgrading to or from an alpha release is not tested or supported, even if it may work for some users.

When notable features or fixes land in a particular alpha, we will call them out in the release notes. We will also call out any major known issues, but the list will not be exhaustive.

We truly value the feedback/comments/suggestions over the past several years of building Rancher. We feel this is another step to let you provide more input prior to a GA release.

Inbuilt Monitoring with Rancher 2.2

Last week, we published a blog about how to monitor your Rancher managed Kubernetes environments with Prometheus. It gave a quick overview of Kubernetes and then went into details of how to install Prometheus and Grafana from our catalog to monitor Rancher managed clusters.

You can access it here.

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.

This is how it works:

  • 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. Read more about Projects here.

  • 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 blog 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!

Ankur Agarwal

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.