Rancher Labs bolstered its open source credentials with the launch of its Submariner project aimed at providing network connectivity between Kubernetes clusters. This includes clusters running across cloud environments and on private, on-premises infrastructure.
Sheng Liang, CEO and co-founder of Rancher Labs, explained that Submariner creates the necessary tunnels and routes between Kubernetes clusters that allow for direct connections regardless of their location. It can be deployed into existing Kubernetes clusters with the addition of Layer-3 network connectivity between pods in different clusters.
The project also secures those connection paths using IPSec tunnels, though Rancher Labs does plan to add different interconnectivity plugins. Liang said this includes additional remote connectivity plugins for WAN-optimized or SD-WAN technologies.
Liang explained that Submariner is designed to work with existing Kubernetes Container Network Interface (CNI) plugins like Calico, Weave, and Flannel.
The project’s multi-cloud support is becoming more important to the Kubernetes space as a growing number of organizations look to use the container orchestration platform. While Kubernetes initially evolved out of work done at Google and specifically tied to container deployments within its cloud business, the platform has since been integrated into virtually every cloud platform.
Liang said that the Submariner launch “demonstrates that Kubernetes adoption has not only reached mainstream, it is also being used to power mission-critical applications across multiple geographic locations. Kubernetes deployment has matured to the point that users are not only deploying their apps in a single Kubernetes cluster, they are interested in deploying applications across multiple Kubernetes clusters for geo-redundancy and increased isolation.”
Liang added that by open sourcing the project the company hopes to “start engaging the open source developer community members who see value in Submariner’s mission to connect multiple Kubernetes clusters.”
Rancher Labs Push
Rancher Labs’ Submariner launch comes on the heels of the company rolling out its slimmed-down version of Kubernetes targeted at edge deployments. That project, dubbed “k3s,” is a single binary that is around 40 megabytes in size, which makes it more appropriate for running in capacity constrained environments.
Both Submariner and k3s are standalone open source projects, which means that a user does not need to have any other Rancher Labs platform deployed in order to use either project. Liang did note that Rancher Labs plans to add commercial support later this year, and it will also integrate both platforms into its flagship Rancher product. This will provide the business model and financial support back into Rancher Labs.
Rancher Labs competes against a growing number of hosted Kubernetes offerings. These include platforms from Docker Inc., Red Hat, and Mesosphere. These platforms are all focused on offering Kubernetes-orchestrated container services that work in a multi-cloud environment. This allows them to be somewhat unique to more specific platforms hosted by cloud providers. Those would include something like Google’s Kubernetes Engine (GKE) that is tied just to containers running on Google’s Cloud Platform (GCP).
Rancher Labs differentiates itself from those direct rivals by offerings support for both self-hosted Kubernetes deployments, or those that an organization is in full control over, and cloud-hosted clusters that run in a multi-cloud environment.