Rancher Corrals Docker Containers

Monday Nov 16th 2015 by Sean Michael Kerner
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Rancher expands its efforts with a server hardware partnership and new persistent storage capabilities.

At some point, applications, whether they run on containers or otherwise, need to run on physical hardware. That's one of the reasons why container startup Rancher Labs is announcing a partnership with Redapt to develop and build a hyper-converged server infrastructure platform optimized for container delivery.

Rancher Labs is developing a purpose-built Linux operating system for containers called RancherOS, and it also has an orchestration system called Rancher LabsRancher that provides a path to container deployment.

Rancher Labs is led by veterans from cloud.com, which is a company that was acquired by Citrix and developed the basis for the CloudStack open-source cloud platform. Rancher Labs raised a $10 million Series A funding round in June, alongside the company's initial beta release.

Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, said the partnership with Redapt is about enabling production deployments. At this point, there isn't a Rancher box, but rather a reference architecture put together by Redapt and Rancher Labs for converged server infrastructure.

For the networking piece of the converged infrastructure, Liang said Rancher has its own Software-Defined Networking (SDN) implementation that now works well with Docker 1.9.0.

Persistent Storage for Containers

Rancher is now also advancing its efforts to enable persistent storage for containers.

"Storage software is no longer deployed at the bottom layer; now storage is being containerized and is deployed in conjunction with the application," Liang explained. "It means storage is now portable across platforms."

Container storage has become an increasingly crowded space. Among the vendors in the space is ClusterHQ with its open-source Flocker effort. Liang said Flocker can be complementary to what Rancher is doing. He also noted Flocker is a storage framework that can enable Docker to connect to different backend storage.

The new persistent storage capability in Rancher is a similar concept to VMware's vSAN (virtual Storage Area Network) capability.

"We have the same basic idea as a vSAN, but it's implemented using containers," Liang said. "Essentially we're creating a framework so we can incorporate potential vSAN implementations and make them available to our users."

Rancher is currently still in beta and Liang said the current plan is to reach general availability in the first quarter of 2016.


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

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