Rancher Advances Kubernetes Lifecycle Management

Rancher Labs has made available version 2.2 of the Rancher management platform, as part of the company’s bid to become a major provider of lifecycle management tools for Kubernetes clusters.

The latest version of Rancher adds support for multi-tenant catalogs that limit certain functions to a specific catalog, as well support for the open source Prometheus monitoring tools being developed alongside Kubernetes by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

Version 2.2 of Rancher also adds support for a global DNS capability and the ability to run scheduled and ad hoc snapshots of etcd that can be stored locally or in an S3-compatible cloud service.

DNS support is provided via the ability automatically program a hostname of services to public DNS. This release includes support for Route53 and AliDNS. Alpha DNS support is also available via CloudFlare, with support for additional providers planned.

Will Chan, vice president of engineering for Rancher Labs, says Rancher is squarely focused on providing an enterprise-grade distribution of Kubernetes that comes with all the lifecycle tools IT operations teams generally expect. In that regard, Rancher Labs views Red Hat, Pivotal Software and its sister company VMware as its primary competition in the enterprise, he says.

While most enterprise IT organizations have stood up at least one Kubernetes cluster, most are nowhere near encountering the inherent challenges associated with managing Kubernetes at scale. But the number of application workloads deployed on Kubernetes continues to increase, it’s now only a matter of time before enterprise IT organization embrace a management framework designed from the ground up to manage both multiple clusters and the distributed applications running across them, says Chan.

Enterprise IT organizations will require an approach to operational lifecycle management capable of spanning everything from the network edge to the cloud, adds Chan. Rancher Labs is especially focused on optimizing the deployment and management of applications that will need to share multiple multi-tenant environments.

It’s too early to say when, or even if, Kubernetes sprawl will be a significant problem in the enterprise. But given the fact that many IT operations don’t have control over when and how applications are developed and deployed, in the months ahead many of them will be looking for tools to bring some order to potential chaos. There are, after all, more than 75 certified distributions of Kubernetes that a development team might select.

In the meantime, vendors such as Rancher Labs will continue to focus much of their efforts on meeting the needs of DevOps teams, who tend to be much further down the Kubernetes adoption curve.

As enterprise IT organizations embrace Kubernetes more broadly, there’s no doubt many of them will be looking to vendors to provide a curated instance of Kubernetes that they support. The issue Rancher Labs must overcome is the degree to which enterprise organizations will prefer to rely on incumbent vendors for that support versus a comparatively smaller vendor that makes Kubernetes its only focus.

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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