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Rancher Labs Goes All-In On Kubernetes With Upcoming 2.0 Release

The container-tech startup will manage Kubernetes clusters across providers and environments, but scraps native support for a rival technology from Docker.

Rancher Labs, a prominent container-tech player, released the technical preview Tuesday of a coming major release that entirely commits to Kubernetes as the container orchestration platform of the future.

Rancher 2.0 enables management of clusters orchestrated by different Kubernetes distributions across on-premises and cloud environments, but scraps native support for other orchestrators. Previous versions of Rancher, an open source management technology, only supported Rancher's Kubernetes distribution.

"Kubernetes has clearly won the orchestration battle. It's clearly the orchestrator of choice for most users, so it really made sense for us to build a product on Kubernetes," Sheng Liang, Rancher's founder and CEO, told CRN.

[Related: Rancher Labs Launches Partner Program Around Open Source Container Management]

The startup headquartered in Cupertino, Calif. "grew up in the Docker ecosystem," Liang said, and developed open source capabilities needed to run Docker containers in production.

Rancher was agnostic to all technologies below it in the container stack as a battle played out among rival orchestration platforms, especially Docker Swarm, Kubernetes and Mesos.

But that battle has mostly been settled, Liang said. The orchestration technology gifted to the world by Google is becoming core infrastructure.

Fully embracing Kubernetes as an underlying standard, Rancher 2.0 is the first release to manage clusters across distros and environments. It can import and work with Google's GKS container service, Microsoft Azure Container Service, Canonical's Kubernetes, and the new Google-Pivotal-VMware collaboration, PKS.

"For Rancher going forward, all engineering resources will go to Kubernetes," Liang told CRN.

In Rancher 2.0, Docker Swarm support will be provided by reselling Docker Enterprise Edition Basic.

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