[cs615asa] HW-N: Rancher Rodeo

Gregory Goldshteyn ggoldsht at stevens.edu
Thu Apr 11 12:14:59 EDT 2019

Hello Everyone,

For my HW-N assignment, I decided to go to a Rancher Rodeo by Rancher Labs.
Rancher is an open source Kubernetes management platform. Kubernetes is an
open source platform for launching containerized applications.

You can read more about Rancher, Rancher Rodeos, and Kubernetes here:





The event was set up as partly a powerpoint presentation, partly a live
demonstration of setting up and running a Kubernetes cluster using Rancher.
In the powerpoint, a team member from Rancher labs gave a brief description
of Kubernetes, followed by a longer description of Rancher and some of its
potential use cases. This was followed by a live demonstration of launching
a wordpress site on Rancher, and demonstrating some of the features of
rancher, such as increasing the number of nodes running the site and
monitoring the CPU and memory usage of the application. The whole
demonstration was designed to be followed along on our personal laptops
based on this git repository:



I did it was *designed* to be followed along, but there were many issues
with getting Rancher running on everyone's laptops. About 70% of the time
was taken by team members helping people with problems installing Rancher.
By the end of the presentation, about 10 people out of the 70 attending
were able to follow along with the presenter; not including myself (I ended
up doing the course from the repo at home).

Less of a problem, but still apparent; the point of this Rodeo was to
teach, but also to market consulting services. Rancher Labs and a company
called Round Tower both distributed marketing materials and "networked" at
the event. This took up very little time, maybe about 20 minutes of the
whole 4 hour event.

Relevance to the course:

Rancher provides a suite of tools for systems administers responsible for
Kubernetes clusters. These tools assist with many of the topics we've
covered in the course, including, but not limited to:

   - User management - Clusters as separated into projects, for which users
   with different roles have different permissions.
   - Monitoring and metrics - Rancher monitors the nodes of each cluster,
   including CPU and memory usage, network traffic, ect.
   - Disaster recovery - Rancher can be used to create snapshots of
   applications for recovery.
   - Scaling - Rancher can automatically scale an application horizontally
   (by adding more nodes of an app) or vertically (by allocating more system
   resources to an app)

Why I chose this event (relevance to me):

My job after graduation is software engineering in a cloud environment
(Microsoft Azure). Understanding how apps are deployed and managed in the
cloud (even if I'm not the one doing it, or even if my job won't be using
Rancher) gives me a fuller understanding of where my app is, and how it
interacts with other applications. This broader understanding of the
software development lifecycle can help me overcome problems that may be
obscured to me if I didn't understand the environment in which my software
is running. Also, if I ever wanted to launch my own application,
understanding how containerized applications work and what resources are
out there to help with scaling, monitoring, and deployment is useful.

What I learned:

   - What Kubernetes is
   - What Rancher is
   - The use cases for Kubernetes and Rancher
   - The advantages to containerizing applications
   - The difference between a container and a virtual machine
   - How to set up Rancher
   - Running software that is designed to work over multiple machines on
   one machine is tricky, and involves creating virtual machines
   - Free events mean marketing (at least a little bit)
   - Free software means expensive consulting (if you can't do it yourself)
   - "Bleeding edge" technology should not be used in a production
   environment (the presenter said to not even use the STABLE branch of
   rancher; instead pick a stable version number and stick to it)

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me


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