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Windows RKE1 EOL

This document (000020684) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


Summary of Changes

RKE1 Windows will move to EOL status on September 1, 2022, due to the deprecation of Docker EE support by Microsoft. Docker EE is the only supported container runtime for Windows nodes in RKE1.

The impact on customers and internal development/QA efforts after September 1, 2022, is summarized below:

- Rancher users should expect that they are unable to provision new RKE1 Windows clusters.
- Rancher users should expect to have no available upgrade path for existing RKE1 Windows clusters.
- Customers who are unable to move to RKE2 Windows would need to purchase a support contract for Mirantis Container Runtime, previously known as Docker Engine - Enterprise.
- Rancher Support is unable to provide full-stack support for workloads deployed on the Mirantis Container Runtime.
- We expect cloud providers to completely remove images that contain Docker EE for Windows Server.
- Microsoft has indicated to us in an unofficial capacity that the current and only installation method for Docker EE on Windows Server, which is through the PSGallery, will be removed as part of the EOL of Docker EE.


Details of Old vs New

RKE2 Windows is the only path forward for Windows support in Rancher. 

RKE1 Windows Clusters: Each Linux node in an RKE1 Windows cluster, regardless of the role assigned to it, will have have a default taint that prevents workloads to be scheduled on it unless the workload has a toleration configured. This is a major design feature for RKE1 Windows clusters which were designed to only run Windows workloads.

RKE2 Hybrid Clusters: Based on feedback and requests for hybrid workload support, RKE2 Windows was designed to support both Linux and Windows workloads by default. RKE2 scheduling relies on node selectors. This is a marked change from RKE1 as taints and tolerations were not incorporated into RKE2. Node selectors were a critical part of RKE1 Windows clusters, which makes for an easy migration of your workloads.


Actions Required of Users

Moving forward, Rancher customers will need to upgrade to Rancher v2.6.5+ (to have GA of RKE2 Windows provisioning available) and migrate their container workloads to run on RKE2 Hybrid clusters, which are built on the containerd runtime. These steps will be required for them to stay in compliance with the Rancher Support Matrix.


Support Considerations or Gotchas

It should be assumed that all existing functionality required for creating new RKE1 Windows clusters or upgrading existing RKE1 Windows clusters will cease functioning on this date. Rancher will be unable to publish any future versions of RKE1 with Windows Support for Docker EE. RKE2 is the only option for Windows customers who wish to stay in a supported configuration.

Windows Server 2019 LTSC and Windows Server 2022 LTSC are the only supported versions of Windows for RKE2.
Please, refer to the RKE2 support matrix for details:


This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:000020684
  • Creation Date: 10-Apr-2024
  • Modified Date:10-Apr-2024
    • SUSE Rancher

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