Setting Up Your Rancher Infrastructure

Before we can build and deploy our application we will need to first setup the infrastructure. I’ve decided that I’m going to be using Docker as the container service and Rancher as the orchestration layer. This blog post is just a quick overview of how to create a basic demo Docker/Rancher infrastructure. If you are considering using Docker/Rancher for production that I would highly encourage you to do plenty of additional research beyond this posting before setting anything up.

For the demo I’ve decided that I’m going to keep things simple and use a number of VMs running on my host machine to simulate a tiny production environment.  I have setup 4 VMs with 4Gb Ram each and all running RancherOS. RancherOS is not needed to run Rancher, Rancher can run on any host that can run Docker. I’m just using it for my demo to make it easier as the RancherOS already has Docker all setup for you.

The first of my virtual machines will be dedicated to be the Rancher Server. Setting up the rancher server is as simple as running a quick docker command to start the rancher server container.

docker run -d --restart=unless-stopped -p 8080:8080 rancher/server

This will start the download of the rancher server container and start it up. This is the most basic of commands and will setup a simple rancher server with a built in MySQL server. For production you should use an external MySQL server and also setup SSL.

Once the Rancher Server is up and running you should be able to access it in your web browser and access the VMs IP address on port 8080. You will notice that you were not asked to log in. By default Rancher comes with security turned off. In a production environment you should turn it on. A indicator on the admin dropdown will remind you that security is disabled.

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Before we can deploy any containers we need to add our first Rancher Host. Typically this is another machine that is running docker, however you can setup your Rancher Server to also be a host if you want but not really recommended for production. I have a second VM that I will run a host on.  After clicking on the Add A Host link you will be brought to a screen to add your first host. I’m using the Custom Host which is basically any machine running Docker but you may also notice that they have hooks in to Azure, Amazon and other cloud providers to make it easy to create VMs on those systems.

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Run the supplied command to start a Rancher Agent on your selected host machine and then go to the Infrastructure/Hosts tab. After a few minutes your new host will appear and start configuring itself.

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Congratulations, you now have your first Rancher Host and you can start deploying docker containers. In the next post I will extend my rancher system to provide separate environments for Testing and Production.

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