SUSE releases its first version of Rancher: Rancher 2.6

The new Rancher promises to be better than ever at helping you manage your Kubernetes cloud environments.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

When SUSE acquired Rancher Labs and its popular Kubernetes management program, Rancher, the latest release of its popular Kubernetes management platform, SUSE promised it would continue to deliver 100% true open-source software with no vendor lock-in. Now, with the first release of Rancher under SUSE, Rancher 2.6, SUSE has kept its promise. 

The new Rancher comes with major updates across all its supported clouds and platforms. These include a redesigned platform experience with an improved user interface; full lifecycle management of hosted Kubernetes clusters in Microsoft AKS and Google GKE alongside existing Amazon EKS capabilities, and various new security, risk, and compliance features.

Further, if you use more than one of the major public clouds, Rancher users can now more easily manage, secure, and operate their multi-cloud clusters within SUSE Rancher. Further, you can import and manage your existing hosted clusters across clouds. For ages, Kubernetes supporters have promised that you'll be able to build hybrid clouds with Kubernetes. That was never as easy as it looked but Rancher appears to be a big step in that direction. This new release takes Rancher one step closer to the vision of running Kubernetes everywhere, with architectural support for one million clusters. 

Steve Delaney, Cloud Enterprise Architect at multinational energy and automation company Schneider Electric, sees this happening. In a statement, Delaney said, "In 2020, our Rancher platform experienced a 92% increase in the number of projects onboarded, and in 2021 we're seeing the same high level of engagement. SUSE Rancher 2.6 will further stoke demand with the addition of AKS and EKS support, while at the same time offering our operations team a single pane of glass through which to support this growing demand."

To help users, SUSE Rancher 2.6 has also added integration with SUSE Linux Enterprise Base Container Images (SLE BCI). These include Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 15 SP3, SLES 15 SP2, and SLES 12 SP5.

The first of these images, SLES 15 SP3, makes life easier for programmers. Customized for containerized workloads, it provides developers with access to a subset of containerized application and developer packages, which will help them to build automated continuous integration (CI) systems. SLE BCI's self-contained environment also targets a specific version of any given programming language ecosystem to help facilitate software development, testing, and deployment.

Rancher 2.6 also now features enhanced audit log traceability to help operators satisfy audit compliance requirements. It also includes a GitOps technical preview. This includes Cluster API provisioning to make it easier for admins to create custom cluster templates to help reduce user-error risk and standardize deployments.

Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE Chief Technology and Product Officer said, "We recognize that SUSE Rancher is a big part of Kubernetes growth. It's proven itself as a leading Kubernetes management technology and customer solution for thousands of enterprises. A key part of its success is its openness and interoperability. We continue to see customers innovate best when they have the freedom to choose the products they believe best fit their needs, with the flexibility to easily define and adapt their IT strategy. SUSE and SUSE Rancher 2.6 give businesses the opportunity to simply build, scale, and transform their infrastructures with Kubernetes."

Di Giacomo's on to something. The combination of SLES and Rancher is a powerful one and with its ability to run across multiple cloud platforms, I can see it becoming a popular enterprise cloud stack.

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