Rancher Rolls Out Docker Container Management Platform

The open-source effort hits general availability, enabling developers to manage and deploy containers.

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Docker container management

Rancher Labs today announced the general availability of its namesake platform Rancher 1.0, which provides tools that enable organizations to easily manage and deploy Docker containers.

Officially started in September 2014, Rancher Labs has raised $10 million in funding to date. In a June 2015 video interview with eWEEK, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, detailed his vision for the company, which is coming to fruition with the Rancher 1.0 release.

"When we started there really wasn't a full enterprise-level platform for managing containers," Williams told eWEEK.

Over the course of the Rancher beta program, there were approximately 700,000 downloads of the open-source Rancher management software, according to Williams. There also were approximately 2,500 companies officially participating in the Rancher beta program.

"It was orders of magnitude larger than what we had expected for the beta program," he said.

Thanks to the feedback of beta users, Williams said the Rancher platform evolved significantly to where it is now. He added that in Rancher 1.0, all of the infrastructure management tools for containers are pulled together with enterprise visibility access, policy and audit controls. Rancher 1.0 also is compatible with both Kubernetes and Docker Swarm, two popular open-source container scheduler systems.

As a generally available product, the core offering remains open-source, though there is now also a commercial licensed product.

"Rancher is free for anyone to download the open-source product," Williams said.

The enterprise licensed version of Rancher has the same technical capabilities as the open-source licensed version, with the addition of enterprise support, legal indemnity and troubleshooting services. Williams said that on the enterprise side, the average deal size is approximately $25,000 and depends on the size of the deployment as determined by the number of logical CPUs an organization is using.

While Rancher is now generally available, RancherOS is not, but it will be in the near future. RancherOS is a purpose-built Linux operating system optimized for container deployment. The market for optimized container operating systems is increasingly crowded with multiple options for container users today. Williams noted that Rancher today will run on nearly every Linux distribution and there is no specific benefit to running Rancher on RancherOS. That said, Williams expects that RancherOS will work well with organizations looking for a full converged stack.

Another area of Rancher that is also set for further development is container networking. The Docker 1.9.0 release introduced a new networking plug-in model for containers that isn't yet supported by Rancher.

"Rancher has its own virtual networking implementation and we're in the process of converting it into a standard Docker network plug-in," Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, told eWEEK. "By converting to the Docker networking plug-in model, Rancher will eventually be able to consume other networking implementations, whether it's Project Calico, Weave or otherwise."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.