Without a doubt one of the tools that can be added to the list for the title of enterprise Borg is without a doubt the private container service called Rancher, which is ready for primetime starting today according to the project’s founders.
The name Rancher is illustrative, since it embodies the notion that infrastructure like servers, virtual machines, or containers should be treated like cattle – with a number, and basically interchangeable as far as our purposes go – and not like pets – which we name and love and have difficulty letting go of.
The idea with Rancher is not try to tackle the entire software development and deployment and infrastructure management task, but to do the things that can orchestrate and provision compute, storage, and networks for podded containers that are in turn managed by software such as Rancher’s homegrown Cattle container herder or the Google Kubernetes or Docker Swarm alternatives.
Rancher takes over from there, abstracting away public cloud infrastructure like AWS or private infrastructure such as clusters equipped with VMware ESXi hypervisors and then it orchestrates containers as they move through test to deployment to operations to upgrade to redeployment and so on.
We can envision Rancher making use of other schedulers, perhaps the Grid Engine HPC scheduler from Univa, which is at the heart of its own Navops container management system.
Perhaps even more importantly, Rancher will provide an overlay on top of these container schedulers and pod systems to give a single view and point of control for a mix of different cluster types across a mix of infrastructure – just like Borg does for Google internally.
Rancher is providing tech support for its eponymous container service software, and rather than price based on server node count, the company is counting up logical CPUs – be they cores on physical machines or virtual CPUs on public or private clouds – to do the pricing.