Rancher support for Docker Swarm and Machine

Published: January 13, 2015
Updated: May 2, 2018

Hi Everyone, I’m Will Chan, the new VP of engineering here at Rancher, and I wanted to post an update about some of the things we’re working on here at Rancher for release later this quarter. I started at Rancher in early December, and since then I’ve been thrilled to see how many people have downloaded Rancher and are using it to manage and implement networking around Docker. I’m really excited about some of the features we’re working on, and wanted to give you a sneak peek of what’s coming over the next two months. Docker
SwarmRancher has always closely followed Docker, and based on announcements at DockerCon in Amsterdam, we are excited to announce that we’re working on adding support for Docker Swarm and Docker Machine. If you haven’t had a chance to look at these features, please do so as we feel Docker Swarm, a tool that allows the deployment of Docker containers into multiple hosts, and Docker Machine, a tool that allows the creation of Docker-enabled hosts across various cloud providers, will become core elements of the Docker ecosystem. Here are some of features we plan on developing in the short term:

  • Docker Machine Support: Docker Machine is designed to run locally on the machine where it has been installed. We will be integrating this functionality with Rancher so that users will be able to create new Docker enabled hosts via Rancher’s UI/API and automatically have those hosts register with Rancher. This should simplify scaling of infrastructure, and will enable Docker Machine to work with all of Rancher’s networking and orchestration capabilities. Of course, you can always create hosts via machine outside of Rancher and register them manually with Rancher, but we think once you start using machine within Rancher you’ll find it much easier.
  • Docker Swarm Support: Swarm is also currently a tool that is intended to run locally on the machine where it was installed. We want to help Swarm scale, so we’re adding a few things to the Swarm experience:
    • First, if you create a Swarm cluster via the Rancher UI/API, we will automatically create and manage a swarm-server that Rancher can communicate against. We will also automatically install the swarm-agent on any hosts that have been added to Swarm via Rancher.
    • Second, we are working with the Docker team to extend Swarm so that a cluster can be created outside of Rancher and automatically imported into Rancher for management.
  • New UI: We are working on an entirely new UI that will debut soon. The UI will focus on visualizing containers, swarms and hosts, and will incorporate support for many of the new features we’ll talk about below.
  • Authentication Support: Currently, Rancher supports a single user model. We plan to integrate a framework that will allow authentication against an external system via LDAP, OAUTH, SAML, etc. Our first implementation will be against Github via OAUTH. With this feature, users will be able to invite colleagues to join Rancher and collaborate.
  • Projects: To extend the focus on collaboration, Rancher is adding support for projects. Projects will allow users to share hosts and containers across multiple accounts. Initially, we’ll be defining Project members as Github team members.

As we work on all of this, we’ll be sharing design and implementation details on GitHub. Please don’t hesitate to send feedback. Our goal is to create a fantastic operations platform that will allow users to seamlessly work with existing Docker environments and preserve the native Docker experience. Happy New Year and here’s to a successful 2015! Will

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