This week we shipped Rancher v0.63. With this latest release, we are dramatically expanding the capabilities of Rancher, by including a complete distribution of Kubernetes as a container orchestration framework, within Rancher. Beginning with this release, when you create an environment, you’ll be able to launch a Kubernetes environment with a single click and you within 5-10 minutes have access to fully deployed Kubernetes cluster. The work we’ve done, however, goes beyond simply launching a Kubernetes cluster on top of the existing Rancher platform. Instead, we’ve incorporated Kubernetes as a key element within Rancher, integrating all of our core Rancher capabilities with Kubernetes. Specifically, Rancher’s support of Kubernetes includes all of the following features:

  1. Rancher will automatically plumb in the network for container communication and all hosts that are added using Docker Machine drivers will automatically be added to the Kubernetes cluster. Kubernetes clusters can even span multiple resource pools and clouds.
  2. Each user can create multiple Kubernetes clusters; each represented using a Rancher environment. Users can manage access rights through Rancher environments. A user can decide, for example, to share access of a Kubernetes environment with other users.
  3. Rancher implements a rich and easy-to-use graphical user interface specifically for Kubernetes, which allows CRUD operations on Kubernetes Services, Replication Controllers, and Pods.
  4. Kubernetes users can leverage Rancher’s existing capabilities to manage underlying containers, execute commands, and fetch logs.
  5. Rancher provides credential management and easy web-based access to the standard kubectl command line interface.
  6. Rancher simplifies DNS configuration by leveraging Rancher DNS as a drop-in replacement for SkyDNS.
  7. Users can leverage Rancher Load Balancer Services to route host network traffic to Kubernetes services and pods.
  8. Users can publish Kubernetes templates in Rancher catalog and deploy complex micro-services applications with one-click of a button.

Watch a Demo of Rancher’s Kubernetes Environments

The Need to Support Multiple Container Orchestration Frameworks

Today’s announcement is the first step in expanding Rancher’s capabilities to support multiple container orchestration frameworks. Today’s developers have the choice of a variety of container orchestration and scheduling frameworks as they develop containerized applications.

  1. Many developers love the native Docker experience and they simply orchestrate their applications using their own scripts or configuration management tools such as Chef, Puppet, and Ansible.
  2. Other developers love Docker’s own orchestration tools Swarm and Compose. Swarm and Compose are powerful and extremely easy-to-use. In the past year, Rancher has developed our own orchestration framework called Cattle. Cattle adds a tremendous amount of capabilities on top of Docker’s standard Swarm and Compose frameworks with features such as integrated Service Discovery, upgrade, and scaling. Rancher users will continue to have the option of using the Cattle framework going forward.
  3. Kubernetes is one of the fastest-growing container orchestration frameworks today. It embodies years of experiencing running containers in production at Google and has a tremendous amount of industry momentum as the first project being contributed to CNCF under the Linux Foundation. Rancher will provide first-class Kubernetes support going forward.
  4. Based on user and community interest, we will continuously investigate adding support for other container scheduling and orchestration technologies. For example, there is interest in both mature frameworks like Mesos/Marathon and newer application orchestration frameworks like Aurora.

Large organizations today give developers a lot of freedom in choosing the best container orchestration framework for their projects. That’s why we designed Rancher from the ground up to support multiple frameworks.

Rancher Catalog, Infrastructure Services, and Application Services

kubernetes blog
1 Beyond an easy-to-use and consistent UI, Rancher provides an application catalog and a rich set of infrastructure and application services. We’ve added all of these capabilities to our Kubernetes environemnts. The Rancher Catalog enables users and application developers to create a repository of Docker Compose and Kubernetes templates. Rancher users can deploy a complex multi-node enterprise application with one click of a button. Application upgrades can be fully automated as new versions of the application templates are relased. Rancher Infrastructure Services provide consistent storage and networking implementation across any public cloud, private cloud, virtualization cluster, or bare-metal servers. By adding this support to Kubernetes, we’re making it possible to run multi-node, multi-cloud, clusters, and even deploy stateful applications. We’ve also added support for Rancher’s Application Services to Kubernetes. These services provides cloud-independent load balancer, DNS, and meta-data services. The scope of Rancher Application Services will continue to grow as the container ecosystem grows.

Get Started with Rancher and Kubernetes

Like Kubernetes, Rancher is an open source platform, and setting up a Rancher environment is as easy as launching a Docker container. You can find more details on how to deploy your own Rancher deployment on our Github site. If you’d like to learn more about Rancher, please schedule a demo, or get started deploying the software. You can also register now for our next online meetup, which is happening later this month, to get a deep dive on our new support for Kubernetes.