Rancher Labs Unveils Container Manager for Swarm and Kubernetes

Open source Rancher manages Kubernetes and Swarm container clusters, aiming to simplify container deployment in production enterprise clouds.

Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

March 30, 2016

2 Min Read
co Rancher Labs website
Rancher Labs interface.

In another sign of increasing container adoption, Rancher Labs has unveiled what it bills as the first open source, cloud-agnostic container management platform, which supports both Docker Swarm and Kubernetes.

The platform, called Rancher, aims to double-down on the functionality provided by container orchestrators like Kubernetes and Swarm. The latter tools help admins manage lots of containers at once. Rancher takes things a step further by providing a simple interface for managing Kubernetes or Swarm clusters. It can even handle environments that feature multiple clusters running via both orchestration tools, Rancher Labs says.

The platform also supports all types of cloud environments, including hybrid ones. Bare-metal infrastructure is supported, too.

Last but not least, Rancher is also building in an application catalog, which the company says make it easy to deploy and upgrade application deployments via Kubernetes and Docker Compose templates. In this respect, Rancher overlaps somewhat with the functionality provided by container registries, like CoreOS Quay.

The Rancher general availability release, which was announced March 29, comes about year after the company announced the product in beta form.

From the container ecosystem perspective, the news is significant for three reasons. First, it’s another sign that production-quality container solutions are now entering the market. We’ve heard much talk about containers for the past couple of years, but it’s only now that container management software is becoming mature enough to be useful in the real world.

Second, Rancher is significant because it shows that vendors see a need to expand upon core container management tools, like Swarm and Kubernetes. Rancher is betting that the functionality and convenience provided by those platforms won’t be enough on their own — and also, maybe, that organizations will want to build hybrid container environments that rely on more than one particular type of orchestrator.

Finally, Rancher reflects a belief that Kubernetes and Swarm are going to beat out all of the other orchestration platforms as containers enter production. Otherwise, we presume, Rancher would be supporting more than just Kubernetes and Swarm clusters in its initial release.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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