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Rancher Labs Release Rancher 1.0, An Open Source Cross-Cloud Container Management Platform

| by Daniel Bryant Follow 760 Followers on Apr 10, 2016. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Rancher Labs have released version 1.0 of their open source Rancher container management platform, which allows the deployment of Docker containers via Docker Swarm, Kubernetes or Rancher Labs’ Cattle across a range of underlying infrastructure. Rancher manages the underlying compute fabric, exposing control via a web-based UI that can be secured via RBAC/ACL, and can be deployed across a combination of multiple public cloud vendors, private virtualised clouds and bare metal. The platform also includes integrated load balancing and persistent storage services.

InfoQ recently sat down with the two of the four founders of Rancher Labs, Shannon Williams VP Sales and Marketing, and Sheng Liang, CEO, and discussed the 18 month journey from the alpha release to general availability of the platform which has been coded in the open via GitHub. Williams stated that he believes Rancher provides a complete solution to deploying and managing containers and associated infrastructure, and removes the need to ‘take existing component pieces and assemble your own platform’, which he believes many developers have been doing since the rise in popularity of deploying applications in Docker containers.

Rancher stack

Williams commented that the community has driven and supported the work undertaken by the Rancher team, and the recent inclusion of Kubernetes support within the platform was added due to ‘real demand’ for the integration. In addition to deploying bespoke applications within containers via Kubernetes, Docker Swarm or Cattle, developers can also instantiate several open sources offerings via the Rancher application catalogue. This contents of the application catalogue are analogous to Service Brokers within the Cloud Foundry PaaS ecosystem, a platform which shares many similarities with Rancher.

The Rancher application catalogue currently provide a template for deploying a diverse range of applications such as ElasticSearch, GlusterFS and Jenkins via Docker containers, and developers can contribute new templates via the associated GitHub repository.

Rancher application catalogue

Liang stated that Rancher may enable the realisation of “[cross-vendor] cloud to be consumed as a commodity”. The ability to support multiple public cloud vendors not only has implications for reducing reliance on a single vendor (and hence increasing availability), but could also be used to save costs, as promised by the vision of a ‘cloud broker ecosystem’. Rancher have recently partnered with Spotinst, a SaaS platform that enables ‘reliable, highly available use of AWS spot instances and GCP Preemptible VMs’ to save money by moving container workloads from full-priced compute resources to cheaper, more volatile resources, and moving them back again when the resource is reclaimed.

Future work within the Rancher platform potentially includes support for additional container schedulers, such as Apache Mesos, and the inclusion of Microsoft Windows support after ‘Windows Server 2016 GA ships’. Williams commented that work on the Rancher platform will be driven by customer demand, popular use cases and community contributions. Both Williams and Liang encouraged developers to get involved by visiting the Rancher GitHub repository.

Additional information on the 1.0 GA release of Rancher can be found on the Rancher Labs blog.

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