Rancher Labs Extends Kubernetes Management Reach

Rancher Labs has updated its platform for managing Kubernetes clusters to make it easier to install on any distribution that has been certified by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

At the same time, the company is extending its support for the Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to include support for observability tools, Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmarking, push-button Istio service mesh deployments, an integrated Open Policy Agent (OPA) Gatekeeper and simplified autoscaling, along with support for node groups and rolling upgrades.

Version 2.5 of Rancher also makes available on any Kubernetes cluster additional application monitoring and logging capabilities to enable IT teams to identify bottlenecks and resolve issues faster, in addition to adding support for Fleet, an open source project launched by Rancher Labs earlier this year that makes it possible to employ a Git repository to store and manage application and Kubernetes resource configurations.

Company CEO Sheng Liang says Fleet is significant because it will enable IT teams to apply GitOps processes to edge computing deployments by associating application packages to as many as 1 million clusters. Edge computing deployments are emerging as one of the fastest-growing use cases for Kubernetes, he notes.

Finally, Rancher Labs is making available a hardened instance of its Kubernetes distribution that complies with Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS).

Rancher Labs, which is in the process of being acquired by SUSE, with this release is expanding the scope of its support for other distributions of Kubernetes as part of a broader platform strategy, Liang says. The goal is to make it possible to employ Rancher to manage any distribution of Kubernetes from the edge to the cloud. As such, the company is tightening integration with AWS while simultaneously driving adoption of a lightweight distribution of Kubernetes, known as K3s, for edge computing applications, he says.

Ultimately, Liang expects Rancher to be deployed to manage the full life cycle of heterogenous Kubernetes environments.

Competition across providers of Kubernetes instances that can be deployed on multiple platforms is heating up. VMware is pushing the adoption of Tanzu, an application development and deployment platform based on Kubernetes, while Red Hat is advancing Red Hat OpenShift, which is also based on Kubernetes. Similarly, Mirantis, Google and Microsoft are also looking to drive adoption of Kubernetes instances that can be deployed on multiple platforms.

Currently, there are more than 100 certified distributions of Kubernetes available. Most IT teams have not standardized on a specific distribution just yet, so it’s likely most will have at least two or more flavors of Kubernetes deployed. Many of those instances are also likely to be based on different versions of Kubernetes. As a result, the challenges associated with managing fleets of Kubernetes clusters are becoming a lot more apparent.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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