Making Machine Drivers Easy to Use in Rancher

Gray Calendar Icon Published: June 28, 2016
Gray Calendar Icon Updated: September 11, 2019

A few months back, we launched a new feature at Rancher aptly named Rancher Catalog and subsequently Community Catalog. This feature had been brewing in the minds of quite a few people around the office, so by the time it was placed on my plate it was highly anticipated by the team. The concept on a whole is not unfamiliar to the majority of our users: a single page through which users can search for commonly deployed applications, with sane defaults and a repeatable launch process. We wanted to provide our users with a clean, simple UI to showcase the variety of platforms, applications, and machines available to the community. When a user first launches the Rancher UI and has no stacks or services, they’ll be prompted to deploy their first service either manually or from the the Catalog. After the initial setup, users may return to the catalog via the top level navigation. On the catalog page, the user is presented with a simple grid of catalog entries. Users can search and filter from this page to easily pare down an ever-growing collection of catalog entries. Rancher Catalog
overview Snapshot of the Rancher Catalog Each catalog entry allows the user to view further details about the entry. Additionally, this is also where the catalog entry is launched. While viewing a catalog entry, users may select the desired version, name and configuration for the service, and finally preview the corresponding YAML files used to deploy: Cloudflare DNS community catalog
entry An example of a Rancher Catalog item (CloudFlare DNS) We have also provided a mechanism for users to add their own catalog hosted on Github. To add new catalogs, a user simply has to add the Github ‘.git’ URL to Rancher via the Settings page and the Catalog section. The user’s new catalog will be merged (front end only) with existing catalogs. Don’t worry, you can select your catalog’s name from the dropdown to see only those entries. Catalog has been around for some time; I hope you’ve had a chance to use it. ​ Not long ago, we decided to open the Community Catalog and allow users to provide their own machine drivers. You may have used our Machine Drivers page: it is a simple way for users to interact with a variety of docker-machine drivers, allowing users to customize the machine drivers they use regularly. Users have had the capability of adding custom machine drivers in Rancher for quite some time via the ‘Add Machine Driver’ button. Until recently, this was the only way to do so within our platform, but we have added an additional resource for users who need custom machine drivers through user catalogs. Users can add a new machine-templates folder to their catalog repo - once the catalog has been added to Rancher, we’ll pull these drivers on to the new Rancher Machine Driver page. Rancher Machine Driver
Catalog Rancher Machine Driver catalog; activating machine drivers is as simple as hitting the play button on each item. To be clear, your machine drivers will not show up on the Catalog page, even though they live in the same Github repo. Activating machine drivers through Rancher is as simple as hitting the play button. It’s just as easy to disable machine drivers that do not apply to you or your company. This easy to deploy workflow has an equally simple upgrade process: if you’ve deployed an older version of the machine driver in your catalog, you’ll see an upgrade icon. Simply click the upgrade icon, and we’ll upgrade you to the latest version in your catalog. We feel that this new Machine Driver catalog will give our customers the ability to add repeatable, maintainable, easily deployable machine drivers to their company catalog. ​ While it’s only a quick overview, I would like to invite you to head over and checkout the Rancher Catalog and Machine Driver pages. Play around with the applications you can deploy or add your own for ease of use. Feel free to reach out over on the forums or on our Github if you’d like to provide feedback! Wes works on all things UI at Rancher Labs.

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