How to improve supportability and operability of your Kubernetes clusters

Rancher 2.2 promises to make your Kubernetes installations more stable & easier to manage

JAXenter Editorial Team
© Shutterstock / Todd Klassy

Rancher 2.2 has been in the works for almost a year now so we’re eager to see how it turned out. For starters, the team promises to make your Kubernetes installations more stable & easier to manage. Let’s have a closer look at Rancher 2.2!

Rancher 2.2 promises to offer you the tools you need for “day two” Kubernetes operations (a.k.a. all the tasks that deal with the management and maintenance of your clusters after launch), as Adrian Goins, Senior Solutions Architect at Rancher Labs wrote in a blog post announcing the release.

Version 2.2 is available for deployment in dev and staging environments as rancher/rancher:latest. However, the company recommends that production environments hold out for rancher/rancher:stable before upgrading. Don’t worry though, that tag will be available soon.

Rancher 2.2 highlights

Rancher global DNS

Rancher Global DNS provisions and maintains an external DNS record that corresponds to the IP addresses of the Kubernetes Ingress for an application. Although this is not a new concept, Rancher will also do it for applications deployed to multiple clusters, Goins explained. In short, this means you will be able to deploy an app to as many clusters as you want and have DNS automatically update to point to the Ingress for that application on all of them.

Rancher cluster BDR

“When Rancher spins up a cluster on cloud compute instances, vSphere, or via the Custom option, it deploys Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE). That’s the CNCF-certified Kubernetes distribution that Rancher maintains,” Goins noted in the blog post.

The latest version offers support for backup and restore of the etcd datastore directly into the Rancher UI/API and the Kubernetes API. There’s also support for S3-compatible storage as the endpoint, which means you’ll be able to get your backups off of the hosts immediately without using NFS.

Furthermore, the backups can be directly restored into the cluster via the UI.

SEE ALSO: Kubernetes 1.14 arrives with tons of new features and major updates

Rancher advanced monitoring

If you’re already familiar with Rancher, you know by now that it uses Prometheus for monitoring and alerts. In Rancher 2.2, Prometheus is able to reach even further into Kubernetes and deliver even more information back to you.

“Rancher Advanced Monitoring deploys Prometheus and Grafana in a way that respects the boundaries of a multi-tenant environment. Grafana installs with pre-built cluster and Project dashboards, so once you check the box to activate the advanced metrics, you’ll be looking at useful graphs a few minutes later. Rancher Advanced Monitoring covers everything from the cluster nodes to the Pods within each Project, and if your application exposes its own metrics, Prometheus will scrape those and make them available for you to use.”

Multi-cluster applications

Starting with Rancher 2.2, the Application Catalog exists at the Global level, which means you can deploy apps via Helm simultaneously to multiple Projects in any number of clusters. If you have to maintain applications in different environments, especially when you have to upgrade them, this will save you a lot of time! Rancher will batch upgrades and rollbacks using Helm’s features for atomic releases.

Last but not least, since multi-cluster apps are built on top of Helm, they’ll work out of the box with CI/CD systems or any other automated provisioner.

Multi-tenant catalogs

Rancher 2.2 has cluster-specific and project-specific configuration for the Application Catalog. In short, it can be removed completely, changed what a particular cluster or project has access to, or you can add new Helm repositories for applications that you’ve approved.

For more information about Rancher 2.2, check out the release notes

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