SUSE Rancher 2.6 delivers interoperability across multi-cloud environments with redesigned user experience, hosted cluster support, and improved security posture | SUSE Communities

SUSE Rancher 2.6 delivers interoperability across multi-cloud environments with redesigned user experience, hosted cluster support, and improved security posture


It has been an eventful twelve months for the SUSE Rancher team. We have worked through a global pandemic, navigated a company acquisition, and successfully settled into our new home at SUSE. Today we are excited to announce the first SUSE release of Rancher, SUSE Rancher 2.6.

This latest release is a testimony to SUSE’s goal of removing operational complexity, streamlining application delivery, and accelerating digital transformation within the enterprise using best-of-breed open source technologies. As such, SUSE Rancher 2.6 delivers a new crisp user experience alongside full lifecycle support for Kubernetes clusters hosted on Microsoft AKS and Google GKE, plus a fortified security and compliance posture.

All features released in SUSE Rancher 2.6 are also available in our free 100% community-driven and open source version of Rancher.

Newly redesigned user experience across the SUSE Rancher platform  

As more enterprises shift towards a multi-cloud or hybrid IT strategy, Kubernetes environments become more complex. Kubernetes management platforms like SUSE Rancher continue to play a vital role in helping IT operators and developers alike to navigate and scale their organization’s environment. Although we knew our users loved Rancher’s intuitive user experience, there was still room for improvement, especially as use cases became increasingly complex.

Building on the strengths from our earlier designs and listening to our customer feedback, the release of SUSE Rancher 2.6 today includes a redesigned new platform experience for all users – whether they are managing one cluster or thousands across multi-environments. The new SUSE Rancher platform comes with a clean and crisp user interface, designed to reduce visual noise significantly and cognitive load for operators to help them save time and resources when managing clusters.

Workflows and navigation across the platform have been rearchitected to help IT operators and developers work with greater efficiency. For example, navigation to cluster explorer, marketplace and monitoring is now even faster using the new slide-in control panel. This simplified experience gives users easy access to critical functions like cluster performance dashboards and managing and deploying single and multi-cluster applications.

Image 1. Screenshot of a cluster in SUSE Rancher 2.6 with telemetry data


Full Lifecycle Management across Microsoft AKS and Google GKE clusters

By the end of 2021, Gartner predicts that over 75% of midsize and large organizations would be adopting a multi-cloud or hybrid IT strategy. Driven by this demand, in SUSE Rancher 2.6, we have extended the full lifecycle management of Amazon EKS clusters available in Rancher 2.5 to Microsoft AKS and Google GKE. This new capability provides SUSE customers with the ability to import, provision, upgrade, configure, observe, secure and auto-scale applications across any hosted cluster from a single pane of glass.

The following chart shows what capabilities SUSE Rancher 2.6 offers to clusters hosted in EKS, AKS, and GKE:

Image 2. Table of SUSE Rancher 2.6 LCM features


Out-of-the-box solutions from each hosted cloud provider include standard console capabilities around cluster lifecycle management (LCM). Additional LCM features can be implemented, but this process is often complex, requiring extensive Kubernetes knowledge, manual configuration, and a heavy reliance on integrations with multiple third-party tools.

The interoperability across hosted clusters provided by SUSE Rancher 2.6 alleviates many complex operational challenges for those managing multi-cloud environments on a day-to-day basis. Users can now manage all clusters across EKS, AKS & GKE hosted environments within the SUSE Rancher control plane.

Strengthening our security and compliance posture

Security is still a top priority for IT operators as enterprises invest more resources into their cloud-native infrastructure strategy. The latest release of SUSE Rancher 2.6 helps IT operators support a proactive stance against any security or compliance risks they may face within their environments while providing development teams with greater confidence to build and deploy applications. These releases include new image scans across releases, improved log traceability, and a refined hardening guide.

Alongside this, we have also begun integrating SUSE Linux Enterprise Base Container Images (SLE BCI) to give SUSE Rancher users the option to use a free, open, flexible, and secure repository as a foundation across their environments. Plus, we have also released a technical preview of GitOps provisioning with ClusterAPI to give IT Operators the ability to create custom cluster templates, helping them reduce user-error risk while standardizing deployments across their environments.

Learn more about what’s new in SUSE Rancher 2.6 or get started today.

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Wendie Cheung Senior Global Product Marketing Manager - Cloud Native @ SUSE