Rancher BMC Integration for Kubernetes Cluster Management

Introduction

Rancher provides a web UI and proxy for managing Kubernetes clusters. Using Rancher is an easy way to streamline cluster deployment on bare metal and private/public clouds.

This article shows you how to set up a Rancher-controlled cluster using the phoenixNAP BMC portal.

Rancher BMC Integration for Kubernetes Cluster Management

Prerequisites

Step 1: Create a Kubernetes Cluster

1. Log in to BMC Portal.

2. Select Solutions in the menu on the left side of the screen.

3. Click the Create Kubernetes Cluster button in the Rancher on Bare Metal Cloud tile.

Selecting the "Create Kubernetes Cluster" option in the Solutions page

The Create a Cluster page appears.

4. Select a data center location for the cluster in the Location section.

Selecting a data center location for the Rancher-managed cluster

5. Give a name to your cluster and provide a description in the Cluster Settings section.

Naming and describing the cluster on the Create a Cluster page

6. Click Next in the lower left corner to move to the Add a Node page.

Location of the Next button on the Create a Cluster page

Step 2: Add a Node

1. Select a BMC server configuration. There are multiple BMC server instances available.

Selecting a BMC server configuration on the Add a Node page.

2. When you select a configuration, more details appear on the right side of the screen. Click the Next button to proceed to the Node Settings page.

Details about the BMC configuration on the Add a Node page

Note: The prices listed in this guide are for illustrative purposes only.

Step 3: Node Settings

1. Add one or more previously generated SSH keys in the Access section of the Node Settings by typing the key name. If you need to add more than one key, select Add a new Public SSH Key below the text box.

Adding previously generated SSH keys in the Access section of the Node Settings

Note: At least one public SSH key is needed to continue with the Rancher setup.

2. A Rancher server must be publicly accessible. The Public IP Settings section informs you what type of IP allocation your server will be assigned and provides pricing for the allocation.

The contents of the Public IP Settings section on the Node Settings page

3. To modify Rancher settings before the installation, select the checkbox next to the “Yes, configure advanced Rancher settings” option in the Advanced Configuration Settings section. Leave the checkbox unselected to use the default settings.  

Location of the Advanced Configuration Settings checkbox on the Node Settings page

4. If you don't opt for advanced configuration, click Create Kubernetes Cluster to start the installation process. Rancher installs with the default settings.

The Create Kubernetes Cluster button on the Node Settings page

If you choose advanced configuration, the Next button appears instead. Click the button to modify the settings.

The location of the Next button on the Node Settings page after the user selects the advanced settings checkbox

Step 4 (Optional): Advanced Configuration Settings

The Advanced Configuration Settings page has six sections.

Access Token

The first server node uses the access token to authenticate all subsequent nodes added to the cluster. If you do not want to generate the access token automatically:

1. Click Set Access Token. The section expands.

2. Set the token in the text box.

Advanced Configuration Settings - Access Token section

Certificate

Rancher uses Rancher-generated digital certificates to confirm public key ownership. If you have other trusted certificates:

1. Click Add Certificates.

2. Enter your private SSH key pair (2), a certificate (3), or a self-signed CA certificate (4).

Advanced Configuration Settings - Certificates section

TLS Settings

The tls-san parameter allows you to list alternative hostnames and IP addresses on your TLS certificate. To set the tls-san parameter:

1. Select Set TLS Settings (tls-san).

2. Enter the hostnames or addresses in the text box. Separate multiple entries with a comma or a white space.

Advanced Configuration Settings - TLS Settings section

Node Taints

Placing a node taint prevents pods from scheduling on the node unless they have declared toleration in the pod specification. This feature enables you to specify the nodes where you don't want workloads to run.

To place a node taint:

1. Click Set Node Taints (node-taint)

2. Type the node-taint parameter into the text box.

Advanced Configuration Settings - Node Taints section

Cluster Domain

The default name for your cluster is cluster.local. To use a different name, set the cluster-domain parameter:

1. Select Set Domain Name (cluster-domain).

2. Provide the wanted cluster domain into the text box.

Advanced Configuration Settings - Cluster Domain section

Backup Snapshots

Configure backup snapshots for your cluster to protect it against data loss:

1. Select Schedule Snapshots.

2. Use cron format to provide the time interval for taking snapshots.

3. Provide the number of snapshots you want available.

Advanced Configuration Settings -Backup Snapshots section

When you finish the advanced setup, click Create Kubernetes Cluster at the bottom of the page. The Welcome to Rancher dialogue appears.

Step 5: Start Rancher

1. Click the icon to copy the password for your Rancher administrative account. You need this password when logging into Rancher for the first time.

2. Select the checkbox to acknowledge that the password you received is temporary.  

3. The IP address of your Rancher server is at the bottom of the dialogue box. You will use the address or the hostname to access your Rancher server. Copy the IP address by clicking the icon.

4. Click Close. The cluster appears on the list of available Rancher clusters.

Welcome to Rancher dialogue

The dashboard has a number of columns for sorting available clusters according to their name, location, number of nodes, status, CPU, memory, and storage.

The cluster dashboard for Rancher on BMC

Step 6: Launch Rancher UI

To start using Rancher on your cluster:

1. Click the Actions link of the relevant cluster in the Manage column.

2. Select Launch Rancher UI.

Launching Rancher UI via the Actions menu

Your browser redirects you to the Rancher login page. Log in with your credentials to start using the Rancher options.

Manage Rancher Clusters

After you create your first cluster, the Manage Your Clusters link appears on the Solutions page. Click the link to access the Rancher cluster dashboard.

The dashboard enables you to view the details of your cluster and to delete it.

View Cluster Details

To view details about your cluster, such as server configuration, billing and networking:

1. Click the Actions link of the relevant cluster in the Manage column.

2. Select View Details.

Viewing cluster details via the Actions menu of the cluster dashboard

Delete a Cluster

To permanently delete a cluster:

1. Click the Actions link of the relevant cluster in the Manage column.

2. Select Delete Cluster.

Deleting the cluster via the Actions menu

3. Enter the name of the cluster into the text box to confirm .

4. Click Delete Cluster.

Delete Kubernetes Cluster dialogue

Warning: Deleting the cluster cannot be reversed.

Conclusion

This tutorial walked you through the steps necessary to set up Rancher integration on the BMC portal. If you need further assistance regarding Rancher, contact our Support Team.

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Marko Aleksic
Marko Aleksić is a Technical Writer at phoenixNAP. His innate curiosity regarding all things IT, combined with over a decade long background in writing, teaching and working in IT-related fields, led him to technical writing, where he has an opportunity to employ his skills and make technology less daunting to everyone.
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