Rancher Labs 2.5 Enables GitOps at Scale for Kubernetes

Rancher Labs today unveiled new capabilities for its popular Kubernetes management platform, including a new installation experience; GitOps at scale for edge clusters; full lifecycle management of Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) clusters; and a new security-hardened, certified Kubernetes distribution for government customers.

Rancher 2.5 comes with new capabilities designed to simplify and enhance the Kubernetes user experience, "whether the user is starting with a single, local cluster or managing many clusters across a hybrid cloud infrastructure," the company said. The list of new capabilities includes:

Rancher 2.5 can now be installed on any Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)-certified Kubernetes cluster, eliminating the need to set up a separate Kubernetes cluster before installing Rancher. The new "lightweight, streamlined installation experience" is especially valuable for users who already have access to a cloud-managed Kubernetes service, such as EKS, the company said. Other new capabilities in this area include:

  • Cluster Management: As Kubernetes distributions become increasingly commoditized, the ability to install Rancher on any certified Kubernetes cluster​ creates immediate access to its cluster management capabilities, including monitoring, alerting, logging, security scanning, service mesh, and persistent storage.
  • New Cluster Dashboard: Both developers and operations teams can inspect the performance of individual clusters to gain operational value from them.
  • Enhanced Monitoring and Logging: Rancher 2.5 introduces major updates to app monitoring and logging capabilities, enabling developers and operators to identify bottlenecks and resolve issues quickly.

To address growing demand for application deployment and management at scale, Rancher Labs' Fleet open-source project, announced earlier this year, is now integrated and generally available in Rancher 2.5. The list of Fleet capabilities includes:

  • GitOps capabilities delivered at scale, enabling users to leverage a Git repository to store and manage application and Kubernetes resource configurations.
  • Application packages that can be associated with an individual or a group of clusters, up to 1 million.
  • Accelerated agile transformation resulting from streamlining application delivery across any infrastructure in any location.

Rancher was among the first Kubernetes management platforms to support Amazon EKS. Rancher 2.5 is currently the only product that offers full lifecycle management of EKS clusters, which gives users access to built-in EKS capabilities, such as node groups and rolling upgrades. "As EKS continues to develop, Rancher is committed to exposing the full built-in capabilities of EKS to the user," the company said.

Rancher 2.5 enhances the EKS user experience with things like advanced observability, CIS (Center for Internet Security) benchmarking, push-button Istio service mesh, integrated OPA Gatekeeper, and simplified autoscaling.
To better support the growing popularity of Kubernetes for public sector applications, Rancher 2.5 introduces RKE Government, a FIPS-enabled, security-hardened derivative of RKE, Rancher's popular certified Kubernetes distribution. RKE Government is a CNCF-certified Kubernetes distribution ideal for government agencies around the globe that require FIPS-specific security for their cloud-native applications.

These new capabilities are aimed at further strengthening Rancher's leadership in multi-cluster, multi-cloud, heterogeneous container management, the company said. Rancher Labs was named a Leader in the "Forrester Wave: Multicloud Container Development Platforms" report for Q3 2020.  

"Exploding on-premise, public cloud and edge Kubernetes use cases are creating massive container sprawl," said Sheng Liang, CEO of Rancher Labs, in a statement. "With Rancher 2.5, we continue to deliver on our computing everywhere strategy by providing customers a simple and consistent way to deploy and manage containerized applications using any certified Kubernetes distribution, across any infrastructure, regardless of whether they are managing one cluster or one million."

Rancher was founded in 2014 to focuse on solutions for development teams building applications using containers, then a relatively new technology. The company adopted Kubernetes in 2016, and now provides a complete software stack for teams adopting containers, and delivers Kubernetes-as-a-Service. The company announced in July 2020 that it was being acquired by SUSE, the open-source software company behind the SUSE Linux distribution.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].