Kubernetes vs Rancher: What are the differences?
What is Kubernetes? Manage a cluster of Linux containers as a single system to accelerate Dev and simplify Ops. Kubernetes is an open source orchestration system for Docker containers. It handles scheduling onto nodes in a compute cluster and actively manages workloads to ensure that their state matches the users declared intentions.
What is Rancher? Open Source Platform for Running a Private Container Service. Rancher is an open source container management platform that includes full distributions of Kubernetes, Apache Mesos and Docker Swarm, and makes it simple to operate container clusters on any cloud or infrastructure platform.
Kubernetes and Rancher can be primarily classified as "Container" tools.
Some of the features offered by Kubernetes are:
- Lightweight, simple and accessible
- Built for a multi-cloud world, public, private or hybrid
- Highly modular, designed so that all of its components are easily swappable
On the other hand, Rancher provides the following key features:
- Manage Hosts, Deploy Containers, Monitor Resources
- User Management & Collaboration
- Native Docker APIs & Tools
"Leading docker container management solution", "Simple and powerful" and "Open source" are the key factors why developers consider Kubernetes; whereas "Easy to use", "Open source and totally free" and "Multi-host docker-compose support" are the primary reasons why Rancher is favored.
Kubernetes and Rancher are both open source tools. It seems that Kubernetes with 55K GitHub stars and 19.1K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Rancher with 11.9K GitHub stars and 1.34K GitHub forks.
According to the StackShare community, Kubernetes has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1046 company stacks & 1096 developers stacks; compared to Rancher, which is listed in 89 company stacks and 35 developer stacks.
Our whole DevOps stack consists of the following tools:
- GitHub (incl. GitHub Pages/Markdown for Documentation, GettingStarted and HowTo's) for collaborative review and code management tool
- Respectively Git as revision control system
- SourceTree as Git GUI
- Visual Studio Code as IDE
- CircleCI for continuous integration (automatize development process)
- Prettier / TSLint / ESLint as code linter
- SonarQube as quality gate
- Docker as container management (incl. Docker Compose for multi-container application management)
- VirtualBox for operating system simulation tests
- Kubernetes as cluster management for docker containers
- Heroku for deploying in test environments
- nginx as web server (preferably used as facade server in production environment)
- SSLMate (using OpenSSL) for certificate management
- Amazon EC2 (incl. Amazon S3) for deploying in stage (production-like) and production environments
- PostgreSQL as preferred database system
- Redis as preferred in-memory database/store (great for caching)
The main reason we have chosen Kubernetes over Docker Swarm is related to the following artifacts:
- Key features: Easy and flexible installation, Clear dashboard, Great scaling operations, Monitoring is an integral part, Great load balancing concepts, Monitors the condition and ensures compensation in the event of failure.
- Applications: An application can be deployed using a combination of pods, deployments, and services (or micro-services).
- Functionality: Kubernetes as a complex installation and setup process, but it not as limited as Docker Swarm.
- Monitoring: It supports multiple versions of logging and monitoring when the services are deployed within the cluster (Elasticsearch/Kibana (ELK), Heapster/Grafana, Sysdig cloud integration).
- Scalability: All-in-one framework for distributed systems.
- Other Benefits: Kubernetes is backed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), huge community among container orchestration tools, it is an open source and modular tool that works with any OS.