Need an orchestrator for your container orchestrator? That’s essentially what Rancher Labs says it has delivered with the release of Rancher 1.0, an open source platform for managing Kubernetes and Docker Swarm clusters.
Kubernetes and Swarm help DevOps teams manage many containers running together as part of a single cluster. Rancher expands upon that functionality by letting admins manage multiple clusters.
Rancher’s most notable features include:
- Support for managing multiple clusters at once — including Kubernetes and Swarm clusters at the same time — through a single graphical interface.
- Compatibility with all types of cloud environments. That means no worries about vendor lock-in, or even having to commit to a particular type of open cloud platform.
- The ability to launch apps in multiple ways. You can do it from the Rancher interface, through Swarm or Kubernetes, or from CI/CD systems. The options will please admins, who have different preferences when it comes to spinning up containers.
DevOps teams may be disappointed to learn that, for now, Rancher only supports Kubernetes and Swarm. If you prefer a different type of orchestration solution, like Mesos, Rancher may not be for you — at least at present.
Still, Rancher is significant because its release comes at a time when containers are just starting to reach enterprise production environments in a major way. As an NGINX survey recently found, organizations are still in the early stages of placing containers into real-world environments. A number of factors may be slowing container adoption, but one of them is surely usability. Rancher aims to deliver the type of enterprise-ready, dead-simple functionality that more organizations likely need to feel comfortable putting containers into their data centers.
Rancher Labs clearly thinks solutions like Swarm and Kubernetes are not enough on their own to make containers realistic for many enterprises. Just as other types of major open source platforms, like Hadoop and OpenStack, only began to see enterprise adoption once vendors started packaging them into user-friendly, value-added distributions, containers may need the same type of enhancement in order to become feasible for production environments.