Rancher Labs’ Rancher 2.3 brings the benefits of Kubernetes to Windows apps

Rancher Labs, creators of the industry’s most widely adopted Kubernetes management platform, announced the general availability of Rancher 2.3.

The latest release of their flagship product includes support for Windows containers, integration of Istio service mesh, and new cluster templates that provide enhanced security for large scale deployments of Kubernetes.

These new capabilities strengthen Rancher’s Run Kubernetes Everywhere strategy by enabling an even broader range of enterprises to leverage the transformative power of Kubernetes.

“Gartner estimates that by 2022, more than 75% of global organizations will be running containerized workloads in production,” said Sheng Liang co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs.

“Rancher 2.3 expands our market leadership by bringing the benefits of Kubernetes to Windows applications and providing enterprises global control and visibility of all containers no matter where they are running – from the data center, to the cloud, to the edge.”

Support for Windows

With 70% of on-premises workloads today running on the Windows Server operating systems, support for Windows containers has been one of the most desired technologies within the Kubernetes eco-system in recent years.

“Windows Server container support was declared stable in Kubernetes v1.14 released in March this year which was a big step to enable developers and operators with Windows Server-based applications to containerize them,” said Taylor Brown, PM Manager, Container Platform at Microsoft Corp.

“We are working closely with several partners including Rancher. Rancher 2.3 is one of the first solutions in the market to manage Windows Server Container based applications, allowing Windows developers to further benefit from the power of Kubernetes and its’ strong and diverse ecosystem.”

By bringing all the benefits of Kubernetes to Windows, Rancher 2.3 eases complexity and provides a fast and straightforward path for modernizing legacy Windows-based applications regardless of whether they will run on-premises or in a multi-cloud environment.

Alternatively, Rancher 2.3 can eliminate the need to go through the process of rewriting applications by containerizing and transforming them into efficient, secure and portable multi-cloud applications.

Strengthened Kubernetes security

With most businesses managing multiple clusters at any one time, security is a key priority for all organizations. To help address this requirement, Rancher 2.3 introduces cluster templates. Cluster templates help organizations reduce risk by enabling them to enforce consistent cluster configurations across their entire infrastructure.

Specifically, with cluster templates:

  • Operators can create, save, and confidently reuse well-tested Kubernetes configurations across all their cluster deployments.
  • Administrators can enable configuration enforcement, thereby eliminating configuration drift or improper misconfigurations which left unchecked can introduce security risks as more clusters are created.

Support for leading service mesh

Istio service mesh eliminates the need for developers to write specific code to enable key Kubernetes capabilities including fault tolerance, canary rollouts, A/B testing, monitoring and metrics, tracing and observability and authentication and authorization. Rancher 2.3’s simplified installation and configuration of Istio comes with built-in support for:

  • Kiali dashboards for traffic and telemetry visualization
  • Jaeger for tracing
  • Prometheus and Grafana for observability

Rancher 2.3 also introduces support for Kubernetes v1.15.x and Docker 19.03. Getting started with Rancher v2.3 involves two easy steps and can be done here.

“Organizations are standardizing on Kubernetes, and with more Windows based workloads getting modernized, having a container management platform that specializes in Kubernetes while providing support for Windows is key,” said Sriram Subramanian, research director at IDC.

“It shows Rancher has the right vision; as it delivers on its mission to enable users to run Kubernetes anywhere, we expect customers to realize workload portability and interoperability across heterogenous environments.”

Rancher Labs momentum continues

The rapid proliferation of Kubernetes has resulted in rapid growth for Rancher Labs. The company mostly recently reported 161 percent year-on-year growth. The Rancher community has grown to more than 30,000 active users while software downloads surpassed 100M earlier in 2019. The company has also received numerous industry accolades, including:

  • Named a Leader in Forrester New Wave, Enterprise Container Platform Software Suites
  • Recognized in Five Gartner Hype Cycles in 2019
  • Recognized by 451 Research as a Firestarter in Q3’19
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