Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE) and chicken nuggets

I recently took a position as a cloud engineer with a small startup in the DC area. The startup is big on Kubernetes but we’d struggled to find a suitable framework for deploying fair-to-middlin’ sized clusters quickly on the private clouds we manage. I guess, to clarify: the deployments were completed in a reasonable amount of time, but the automated solutions we tried for initial cluster deployment just weren’t robust enough for daily production use.

Say Ansible does a minor version upgrade which includes a revision that’d be worth of a major version upgrade elsewhere. That’d break the deployers we used (such as kubespray) and then we’d spend a lot of time debugging error messages to see what changed, correct those by downgrading here, upgrading there, modifying Python scripts 1, 2, and 3…yeah, you get the drift.

I came across a couple of articles in Medium put out by some of the IT folks at Chick-fil-a of all places. Simply put, I was blown away. Their understanding of the value of k8s at the edge and their ability to bootstrap an edge deployment with non-technical folks on sub-$1K COTS hardware is phenomenal. Politics of the corporation’s owners aside, their IT group is bleeding edge.

They mentioned that they used Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE) for their initial deployment so I hopped over and checked it out.

Great.

Tool.

Robust (though there were a couple of small things I would change about the deployment process), easy to configure and FAST in cluster deployment. Over the last month I’ve deployed probably a dozen clusters on both bare-metal and in private OpenStack clouds with minimal issues.

I’m a convert.

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