Supporting Container based Application Deployment to Heterogeneous Hardware using Rancher

In our previous blog post we explained how networking works in Rancher in a Cattle environment. There we also mentioned that we have been working on enabling Rancher to operate on heterogeneous compute infrastructures – for example, a mixed environment comprised of ARM based edge devices connected to VMs running in the cloud. In this blog post we go into more detail on how we built rancher-agent service for aarch64 ARM based devices.

Before we begin, the following list of hardware and OS was used during this work:

Rancher Labs had done some work already on supporting multi-arch hosts – most of it on enabling rancher-agent to work on ARM based devices – but as the Rancher platform evolved this has been deprioritized. Back then most of the rancher-agent scheduling and networking services running in the host were consolidated into a single container (agent-instance) and this was ported to ARM based devices as described in this blog post.  From rancher-agent version v1.1.0, these micro services were split into separate containers giving the user the option to select which scheduling or networking solution to use. Once this (significant) change to rancher-agent was made, Rancher Labs stopped progressing support for ARM devices. Continue reading

Reflections on ORConf 2015

Us ICCLab folk are always interested in new ideas, particularly those that could have a profound impact on computing in general and cloud computing in particular. Consequently, we couldn’t miss out on the opportunity of attending ORConf – a conference loosely centred around open source silicon – which was free and (more or less) just down the road at CERN.

The conference itself was superb, comprising of an excellent mix of hobbyists/open source advocates, industry folks and academics with some of the people wearing more than one hat. There was also quite a diverse set of backgrounds ranging from ASIC designers to FPGA guys to compiler designers to some simpler software types. The quality of people was overwhelming with excellent guys from high profile organizations such as Intel, Google, Qualcomm, nvidia, Uni Cambridge, EPFL, ETH and Berkeley (although many of the industry folk were not specifically representing their employers).

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