SUSE Updates Rancher Platform for Kubernetes

SUSE this week made available its first update to the Rancher platform for managing Kubernetes environments since acquiring Rancher Labs last year.

Version 2.6 of SUSE Rancher adds a revamped user interface with improved logic-based workflows along with life cycle management support for Kubernetes clusters running on cloud platforms managed by Microsoft and Google.

At the same time, SUSE is also providing a technical preview of support for the Cluster application programming interfaces (API) that is being developed under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

Finally, SUSE is also providing integration with SUSE Linux Enterprise Base Container Images (SLE BCI), a repository for container images for SUSE Linux.

Keith Basil, vice president of product for cloud-native infrastructure at SUSE, says the revamped user interface is intended to strike a balance between providing a set of guardrails that make it simpler to manage Kubernetes clusters and IT teams’ desire to tune those clusters.

SUSE Rancher 2.6

In the longer term, Basil adds, SUSE is also working toward integrating its Kubernetes management platform with Harvester, an open source hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platform for Kubernetes environments based on the libvirt toolkit for creating a virtualization API, kubevirt software for encapsulating virtual machines in containers and Longhorn and minIO storage software as well as Opni, a project that brings artificial intelligence for managing IT operations (AIOps) to Kubernetes clusters. As the project matures, the latter initiative will ultimately reduce the total cost of managing highly distributed Kubernetes environments, notes Basil.

In general, SUSE is seeing Kubernetes adoption surge both in the cloud and at the edge as organizations deploy platforms that allow them to process and analyze data at the point where it is created and consumed, notes Basil. Most of the edge computing platforms are running a lighter-weight K3s distribution of Kubernetes originally developed by Rancher Labs, he adds. That distribution is now being advanced under the auspices of the CNCF alongside the upstream Kubernetes project.

As more instances of Kubernetes are deployed in production environments, the need to centralize the management of those Kubernetes clusters becomes more apparent. SUSE Rancher is optimized for distributions of Kubernetes from SUSE, but Basil notes it can be used to manage any distribution of Kubernetes an IT organization chooses to deploy. The goal is to make managing all those clusters simpler using a higher level of abstraction that can be employed by either a DevOps team or traditional IT administrators, he notes.

SUSE, of course, isn’t the only provider of management platforms for Kubernetes environments with similar ambitions. However, SUSE Rancher makes it possible to provision a Kubernetes cluster in as little as 15 to 30 minutes, says Basil.

Arguably, with so many management platforms now available, the issue facing IT teams now isn’t whether they can manage Kubernetes at scale, but rather determining the best way to go about creating a truly hybrid cloud computing environment based on open Kubernetes APIs.

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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