To deploy Kubernetes in Rancher, you’ll first need to create a new environment that has specified the cluster management to be Kubernetes.

Creating a Kubernetes Environment

In the dropdown of environments, click on the Manage Environments. To create a new environment, click on Add Environment, select Kubernetes as the cluster management, provide a Name, Description (Optional). If access control is turned on, you can add members and select their membership role. Anyone added to the membership list would have access to your environment.

After a Kubernetes environment has been created, you can navigate to the environment by either selecting the name of the environment in the environment’s dropdown in the upper right hand corner or by selecting Switch to this Environment in the specific environment’s drop down.

Note: As Rancher adds support for multiple cluster management frameworks, Rancher currently does not support the ability to switch between environments that already have services running in it.

Starting Kubernetes

After a Kubernetes environment has been created, you can start the Kubernetes cluster by adding at least one host to your environment. The process of adding hosts is the same steps for all cluster management types. Once the first host has been added, Rancher will automatically start the deployment of the required Kubernetes components (i.e. master, kubelet, etcd, proxy, etc.). You can see the progress of the deployment by accessing the Kubernetes tab.

Using Kubernetes

Once the setup has completed, you can begin to create or manage your own Kubernetes applications via the following ways:

Rancher UI

Rancher provides full CRUD capability of creating services, replication controllers (RCs), and pods. In the Kubernetes tab, click on the one of these items and click Add. A kubernetes template will be shown in the UI and is editable. After you have made changes to the configuration file, click on Create.

Rancher Catalog

Rancher supports the capability of hosting a catalog of Kubernetes templates. To use a template, click on the Catalog tab. Select the template that you want to launch and click View Details. Review and edit the stack name, stack description, and configuration options and click on Launch.

If you want to add your own templates to Kubernetes, you add them to the Rancher catalog and place your templates in a kubernetes-templates folder.


To configure your own kubectl to talk to your newly created Kubernetes cluster, go to Kubernetes -> kubectl. Click on Generate Config to generate the necessary kube/config_file that you can download and add to your local directory.

In the config file, it provides the necessary information for your local machine so that anything you launch using kubectl will be displayed in Rancher.

kubectl via Shell

Rancher provides a convenient shell access to a managed kubectl instance that can be used to manage Kubernetes clusters and applications.

Adding a Private Registry To Kubernetes

Private registries can be used with Kubernetes services by adding your private registry in your Kubernetes environment.

Kubernetes Namespaces

Rancher supports the ability to manage different Kubernetes namespaces. In the upper right hand corner, you will be able to see which Namespace that you are working in. After the first host is added, Rancher creates the default namespace.

Adding Namespaces

To add an additional namespace into Kubernetes, click on the current namespace and a dropdown of available namespaces and Manage Namespaces will appear. Click on Manage Namespaces.

In the Namespaces page, click on Add Namespace. Update the configuration file and click Create.

Editing Namespaces

For existing namespaces, in the Namespaces page, click on Edit in the namespace’s dropdown to update it. Click on Save.

Switching Namespaces

In the dropdown of namespaces, you can select the namespace that you want to launch services in to switch between the namespaces.