Rancher joins with Arm to offer Kubernetes-based platform for IoT, edge and data center computing deployments

Rancher Labs announced on Tuesday their collaboration with Arm to meet the needs of Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing deployments. As a result, Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE) and RancherOS have been ported to Arm.

Rancher Server is now enhanced to manage both x86 clusters running in the data center and Arm-based clusters running on edge and data center nodes, providing the first solution that can manage Kubernetes clusters running on both Arm and x86.

Rancher users will now have an end-to-end solution for running Kubernetes in the enterprise, no matter which architecture they choose to use. Additionally, Rancher and Arm will deliver the Kubernetes-based solution for smart city projects in China.

Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE) is a lightweight installer for Kubernetes that packages all Kubernetes components in Docker containers. Installing Kubernetes this way removes the dependencies that standard installers have on the underlying infrastructure and makes installing and upgrading a cluster fast, easy and safe.

Rancher and Arm have created a Kubernetes-based computing platform for IoT, edge and data center nodes. Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE) and RancherOS have been ported to Arm.

All edge and data center nodes within the same campus location form an Arm Kubernetes cluster. Standard x86 Kubernetes clusters running in central data centers are used to process and analyze large amount of data collected from edge nodes. A single Rancher server is used to manage all x86 and Arm Kubernetes clusters.

The flexibility will continue as users look beyond deployment to cluster management. All of the Rancher features, such as its intuitive UI, centralized authentication and the ease with which users can deploy and manage Kubernetes workloads, will work with clusters running on both Arm and x86.

“Arm Neoverse-based servers offer exceptional benefits for scale out computing to support the demanding needs of a trillion connected devices,” said Kevin Ryan, senior director of software ecosystem solutions, Infrastructure Line of Business, Arm. “Adding support for Arm to Rancher Kubernetes enables thousands of organizations with the power of the Neoverse ecosystem from the cloud to the edge.”

“This is a game changer. The partnership with Arm will allow our customers to deploy Kubernetes IoT, edge and data center nodes,” said Shannon Williams, co-founder and vice president of sales and marketing at Rancher Labs. “With Rancher as a common management plane, Kubernetes truly powers all workloads from the data center to the edge.”

Rancher and Arm are currently working on a Smart City project in China. In that project, Arm servers are installed in buildings across large organizations. These ARM servers are used to collect data from various sensors including human presence, ambient temperature, and air quality. Sensor data is then processed in centralized data centers which is then used to coordinate power distribution and HVAC controls.

Each edge node runs a standalone Arm Kubernetes cluster. Standard x86 Kubernetes clusters running in central data centers are used to process and analyze a large amount of data collected from edge nodes. A single Rancher server is used to manage all x86 and Arm Kubernetes clusters.

Rancher learned a lot in the process of planning and executing this project.

“In the beginning, I did not understand why this customer wanted to run an independent Kubernetes cluster on each edge node. It seemed to be quite wasteful to run a separate instance of etcd, Kubernetes master, and Kubelet on each edge node,” wrote Sheng Liang in Rancher Labs blog post. “Why couldn’t we manage all the edge nodes as one large Kubernetes cluster? It turned out edge nodes had spotty network connectivity and therefore were not able to form a resilient multi-node Kubernetes cluster. Then why did the customer want to setup a Kubernetes cluster on the edge in the first place? Why couldn’t they just run standard Linux nodes and deploy rpm packages to the edge nodes? It turned out the software stack they were trying to deploy was quite sophisticated. It involved multiple services and required service discovery. The components had to be updated from time to time. Kubernetes was a great platform to manage application deployment,” he added.

 


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