SUSE to acquire Rancher Labs

SUSE takes a big step forward in Kubernetes by acquiring container-management power Rancher Labs.

What is Kubernetes?

SUSE, a major Linux and cloud company, has announced it will acquire Rancher Labs. Based in Cupertino, Rancher is a privately held open-source company with more than 37,000 active users and 10 0million downloads of its flagship Kubernetes management program, Rancher.

Rancher provides a complete Kubernetes software stack. This stack can handle the operational and security challenges of managing multiple Kubernetes clusters across almost any infrastructure. Specifically, it supports any Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)-certified Kubernetes distribution. This includes Google GKE, Amazon EKS, and Microsoft AKS.

The Rancher stack also enables companies to manage Kubernetes clusters across hybrid-clouds with centralized authentication, access control, and monitoring. With it, you can easily deploy Kubernetes clusters on bare metal, private clouds, public clouds, or vSphere and secure them using global security policies. It uses Kubernetes's native Helm, or its own app catalog, to deploy and manage applications across these environments. This enables you to maintain multi-cloud cluster consistency with a single deployment.

This is all being done with a pure open-source stack. SUSE remains committed to delivering 100% true open-source technologies with no vendor lock -n. Rancher, which will continue to run as its own entity, will also continue its open ways and support multiple Kubernetes distributions and operating systems.

In an e-mail interview, Sheng Liang, Rancher Labs's Founder and CEO, praised the deal, saying:

This acquisition is a launch point for the further growth of Rancher. I feel as invigorated as day-1 about the industry, the technology, and our business. I am so proud of our team and the work they have done these last six years, and I look forward to continuing to work with our users, customers, partners, and fellow Ranchers to build a truly amazing business - capitalizing on the best parts of Rancher and SUSE. Rancher and SUSE together will be the enterprise computing company that transforms our industry.

He can feel confident about this because Kubernetes has become a core pillar of IT strategy. It's also the foundation for the modern hybrid-cloud. Gartner predicts that the growing adoption of cloud-native applications and infrastructure will increase the use of container management, and Kubernetes in specific, to over 75% of large enterprises in mature economies by 2024 -- up from less than 35% in 2020. 

This acquisition is SUSE's first step to expanding since EQT bought SUSE from Micro Focus and freed it with the sole mission of growth in March 2019. This follows SUSE's strong fiscal momentum. In its second quarter of fiscal year 2020, SUSE saw ACV (annual contract value) bookings increase 30% year over year, while global cloud revenue zoomed 70% year over year.  
 
In a statement, Melissa Di Donato, SUSE CEO, added:

"Our vision to enable better futures and measurable value for our customers and partners guides our decisions and drives our growth. This acquisition enhances our ability to offer a more comprehensive portfolio, greater customer choice, and no vendor lock-in. It will also enable us to play an even more strategic role with cloud service providers, independent hardware vendors, systems integrators, and value-added resellers who are eager to provide greater customer experiences." 

This deal should close before the end of October 2020, subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals. It represents a major step forward for SUSE in the Kubernetes space. 

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