*Note: since this article has posted, we’ve released Rancher 1.2.1, which addresses much of the feedback we have received on the initial release. You can read more about the v1.2.1 release on Github. * 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.
Modular, push-button, container-ready environments
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!
To see Rancher 1.2 in action, check out the recording of our December 2016 meetup