Running Kubernetes on AWS with Rancher

Gray Calendar Icon Published: September 7, 2016
Gray Calendar Icon Updated: November 13, 2019

As everyone is aware, Amazon has EC2 Container Services, the Amazon solution for running Docker containers. I haven’t had much luck with this, so now I’m testing Rancher and Kubernetes on Amazon Web Services. Kubernetes is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications, and Rancher is a complete platform running containers within enterprises, providing enterprise-level access control and container orchestration. I started first by creating a new Virtual Private Cloud, using the default wizard. This VPC is being used for the complete Rancher farm. Next thing is to create one or more new hosts; where the Rancher documentation says to install Docker manually, I’ve chosen the RancherOS AMI itself. That AMI is specially built for this purposes, and very minimal (even curl isn’t installed): 1 The security group enables traffic to TCP port 8080 for my IP only. This is important, as there is no authorization enabled by default. It is also a good idea to add traffic between several hosts itself; this can be done by saving the security group (then it well get an sg- identifier), and add All Traffic permissions to that security group. 2 When the new instance is ready, just connect using ssh and start the Rancher server Docker image using sudo docker run -d --restart=always -p 8080:8080 rancher/server. The Rancher applications will run within the Docker images themselves.

$ sudo docker run -d --restart=always -p 8080:8080 rancher/server
Unable to find image 'rancher/server:latest' locally latest: Pulling from rancher/server
Status: Downloaded newer image for rancher/server:latest 3baee4a975200c3eb4b18fd1351b07393cdd09455cf7917d46879a278399c02e

You can tail the logs using the docker logs -f {containerid} command:

[rancher@ip-10-0-0-29 ~]$ sudo docker logs -f 3baee4a975200c3eb4b18fd1351b07393cdd09455cf7917d46879a278399c02e 160901 8:40:30
[Note] /usr/sbin/mysqld (mysqld 5.5.49-0ubuntu0.14.04.1) starting as process 25
Uptime: 8 Threads: 1 Questions: 2 Slow queries: 0 Opens: 33 Flush tables: 1 Open tables: 26 Queries per second avg: 0.250
Setting up database
Importing schema

Perfect. Rancher server is starting, and will be finished soon. You can browse to the IP of the instance, and by default, Rancher server will run on port 8080. The public IP will be reachable for all hosts, which is an issue when having the hosts in a VPC, so you can use the private IP instead. This can be changed within Admin and Settings. 3 When Rancher server is up and running, we need to add some Docker hosts. You can launch a new host (the More Like This option is awesome - it just starts another instance of the same configuration), or add the same host as server (but that’s not a best practice). Next, add a new host within Rancher Server, click on Infrastructure, and next on Add Host. When the host(s) have been added, you can add the Kubernetes environment. Kubernetes will then be deployed automatically to the new host(s). 4 This will take a few minutes, and you can monitor its current status by selecting the environment: 5 As the Kubernetes environment finishes, you navigate to Catalog and deploy a container. For example, select the K8S Example Ghost container - this will be up and running in no time: 6 During the deployment Kubernetes, the stack is created with the following instances:

  • Rancher Ingress Controller 1 (rancher/ingress-controller): The Rancher Ingress Controller will leverage the existing load balancing functionality within Rancher and convert what is in Kubernetes ingress to a load balancer in Rancher (read more about this here)
  • **Rancher Server (rancher/server): **The Rancher management server, this will run the web frontend and API.
  • Rancher Agent (rancher/agent): Each node will get an individual agent, which manages the node
  • Rancher Kubernetes Agent 1 (rancher/kubernetes-agent): Agent responsible for handling communications between Rancher and Kubernetes
  • Rancher Agent Instance (rancher/agent-instance): Agent instance image for Rancher
  • Kubernetes ETCD 1 (rancher/etc): etcd is the highly-available key value store used for persistent, safe, and distributed storage of objects and metadata
  • Kubernetes Proxy 1 (rancher/k8s): The Kubernetes network proxy runs on each node
  • Kubernetes Scheduler 1 (rancher/k8s): The Kubernetes controller manager is a daemon that embeds the core control loops shipped with Kubernetes
  • Kubelet 1 (rancher/k8s): The kubelet is the primary \“node agent\” that runs on each node.

When adding an extra host the following will be added as well:

  • Kubernetes Proxy 2
  • Kubernetes Etcd 2
  • Kubelet 2

Because I don’t want to maintain my own registry, I’ve created an Amazon Container Registry, and used the registry within Rancher. You can just copy the address, username AWS (note, this is case sensitive), and password (the long base64 encoded string). You can get the credentials using

aws ecr get-login --region us-east-1

Then build the Docker image:

docker build -t dutchcoders .

Tag the image and register it:

docker tag dutchcoders:latest {url}/dutchoders:latest

Push the image to the registry:

docker push {url}/dutchcoders:latest

If you want to read more about running Kubernetes with Rancher, check this, join the Kubernetes LinkedIn group, or check out the free eBook on deploying and scaling Kubernetes with Rancher. Let me know if you’ve got any questions running Rancher with Kubernetes on Amazon Web Services. You can reach Rancher Labs on Twitter, @Rancher_Labs, and me @remco_verhoef. About the Author: Remco Verhoef is a tech enthusiast experimenting with Kubernetes and developing in Golang and Rust.

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