New Container Management Product Hits the Streets

Rancher is an open source manager that integrates other container managers.

With the proliferation of containers in enterprise datacenters comes a corresponding need to manage them. Solutions are starting to arise, including products like Docker Swarm and Mesosphere. Now, a new entry on the scene can manage those managers.

The product is called Rancher, and the 1.0 version was released yesterday. Rancher, from the company Rancher Labs, was first announced at an Amazon conference in 2014. The first beta release came in June 2015, according to a blog posting from Rancher Labs CEO and Cofounder Sheng Liang. In all, Liang said Rancher 1.0 is the result of more than 18 months of development.

Rancher is an open source project, that was downloaded more than 1 million times, with more than 2,500 beta participants, Liang blogged. He describes it as "a complete and turn-key container management platform." As such, it involves managing networking, scheduling, orchestration, monitoring and storage. It works with the aforementioned products, but goes far beyond that, incorporating most container managers in areas like security, registry and distributed databases.

A graphic in the blog posting shows Rancher as the management layer between such container management offerings as Kubernetes, Rkt, Swift, MongoDB, LDAP, Active Directory and DockerHub. "Rancher develops, integrates, and distributes all of the technologies necessary to run containers in production," Liang wrote.

Rancher is infrastructure agnostic, but appears to run only on Linux servers, at least initially. In the blog posting, there was no mention of Rancher running on Windows. "Rancher does not rely on proprietary features supported by one cloud provider and not others," the blog states. It also claims to be the only current container management platform that supports both Docker Swarm (which manages clusters of Docker containers) and Kubernetes.

Now that Rancher 1.0 is out the door, Liang says to expect future updates to come more quickly. "While maintaining a stable release branch, we will continue to release new features and capabilities on an aggressive release schedule." 

Rancher Labs was founded by four ex-Citrix employees, including Liang; Darren Shepherd; Shannon Williams; and Will Chan. Liang was CTO of the Cloud Platforms group at Citrix Systems after their acquisition of, where he was co-founder and CEO. It's headquartered in Cupertino, Calif.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.


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