By acquiring Rancher Labs, SUSE will gain two footholds in the Kubernetes ecosystem: users and innovation. Rancher’s software is used by 16% of the 1,197 Kubernetes users surveyed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in 2019. This user base has grown rapidly and appears to be satisfied with Rancher’s technical prowess and support. SUSE’s professional enterprise sales teams are probably chomping at the bit to up-sell managed services and support to users of Rancher Kubernetes and the Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE).
Rancher’s third Kubernetes distribution, K3s, offers SUSE rapid growth and a distinctly new set of users attracted to the ease in which it can be deployed with IoT and edge use cases. Its 2019 release was received enthusiastically and has subsequently seen substantial adoption. K3s is particularly hot among do-it-yourself Kubernetes users and long-time members of the Kubernetes developer community, which may explain why half of K3s users also deploy containers with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). If this is the case, GKE may lose out as these deployments scale up — though an alternative scenario might be that Google Cloud may see increased business if its other services are adopted in conjunction with scaled-up edge use cases.
A majority of K3s in the aforementioned survey comes from organizations where SUSE or Rancher has little to no presence. This is SUSE’s new foothold for innovation and engineering excellence. The other foothold is in terms of container-optimized operating systems that rely on Linux, and an area in which it already has a product.
For more color on that topic, keep an eye out for the upcoming second edition of The New Stack’s ebook on the Kubernetes ecosystem.
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