Rancher Labs Review

Self-contained with a great UI and very good integrations

What is our primary use case?

Rancher has two main versions which are completely different products. They have some similarities because they have a similar UI and similar concept but are different under the hood. The original Rancher was an orchestration platform for Docker containers based on Cattle and we used that solution for three years extensively for different products and on different projects. We're also now using the Rancher 2 on top of the Kubernetes to manage Docker containers for different customers, for projects, to seize logs, to seize mentorings, to downscale or upscale applications. They provide a great catalog of applications that can be created. We recently used Rancher two for another project that was hosted on top of AWS and on-premise servers. It provides and deploys infrastructures, providing UI for the dev team, the management team, QA team, and enables us to see everything that's going on.

How has it helped my organization?

The solution has saved us a lot of time by not requiring us to configure the all details including monitoring, logging, Kubernetes node provisioning on top of public cloud services. 

What is most valuable?

This product has a great UI and because the products are all self-contained in the solution, it provides great features and is easily deployable with very good integrations.

What needs improvement?

I'd like to see this solution become more stable and have more integrations with other Rancher Labs products, such as Rancher Longhorn.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've used Rancher products for the last four years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had some issues as a result of the complexity but it's stable overall. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is great, it very much depends on the underlying infrastructure. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have used Kubernetes without Rancher so we've used different approaches for our needs. We switched for several reasons: Rancher has a great UI, its operational costs were less, and there were not too many competitors on the market when we switched to use the first Rancher. It was really, I believe, the best on the market in terms of managing containers. Since Rancher 2.0 migrated to Kubernetes, we found that we could manage this directly using dashboards and tools from the community. 

How was the initial setup?

It's definitely easy to deploy, easy to connect to existing clusters or to provide new clusters, scaling of applications, application logs, and multi cluster setup. The initial setup is variable depending on the size of the company and the project. It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to two days. 

What was our ROI?

The ROI for us has been improved visibility, speed of deployment, reliability, and we have great feedback. We were able to save on time in marketing the applications. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We used the free open source version so there were no costs associated with licensing. I know it's possible to get support but I don't know the cost. I think it's minimal. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated a lot of other products including Elastic Container Service, its Azure App Services, Google App Engine and DigitalOcean hosting options, which is an Oracle application, and many more. We did market research and carried out evaluations and took a look at all available free and open source solutions. When we decided to use the first version of Rancher, it provided the best UI, the best scalability and stability. It's better than ECS which uses other tools for monitoring and logging. There is a different UI and the cloud tools are not as user friendly. When we took a look at other tools each of them had something wrong from our point of view. 

What other advice do I have?

We immigrated from Rancher 2.0 to the AWS ECS. The idea behind initially using Rancher was as an option to native cloud services. Because it provides all features we could configure it in less time than it would take to use the public cloud services. By using this solution we've learned how to manage complex infrastructures and microservices, and how to provide visibility and audit for different teams. 

Rancher has established partnerships and they have tightly integrated it in the public cloud, such as AWS or Google cloud. I would recommend that anyone wanting to try it, install it, play with it, and see the pros and cons. It's something that anyone should do with all the other competitors and solutions.

I would rate this solution a nine out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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