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Applies to SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1, K3s 1.20.14, SUSE Rancher 2.5.12

5 Deployment

This section describes the process steps for the deployment of the SUSE Rancher solution. It describes the process steps to deploy each of the component layers starting as a base functional proof-of-concept, having considerations on migration towards production, providing scaling guidance that is needed to create the solution.

5.1 Deployment overview

The deployment stack is represented in the following figure:

rc Rancher K3s SLEMicro Cisco deployment
Figure 5.1: Deployment Stack - SUSE Rancher

and details are covered for each layer in the following sections.

Note
Note

The following section’s content is ordered and described from the bottom layer up to the top.

5.2 Compute Platform

The base, starting configuration can reside all within a single Cisco UCS server. Based upon the relatively small resource requirements for a SUSE Rancher deployment, a viable approach is to deploy as a virtual machine (VM) on the target nodes, on top of an existing hypervisor, like KVM.

Preparation(s)

For a physical host, that is racked, cabled and powered up, like Cisco UCS C240 SD M5 used in the deployment:

  1. If using Cisco UCS Integrated Management Controller (IMC):

    • Provide a DHCP Server for an IP address to the Cisco UCS Integrated Management Controller or use a monitor, keyboard, and mouse for initial IMC configuration

  2. Log into the interface as admin

    • On left menu click on Storage → Cisco 12G Modular Raid Controller

      • Create virtual drive from unused physical drives, for example pick two drives for the operating system and click on >> button. Under virtual drive properties enter boot as the name and click on Create Virtual Drive, then OK.

    • On the left menu click on Networking → Adapter Card MLOM

      • Click on the vNICs tab, and the factory default configuration comes with two vNICs defined with one vNIC assigned to port 0 and one vNIC assigned to port 1. Both vNICs are configured to allow any kind of traffic, with or without a VLAN tag. VLAN IDs must be managed on the operating system level.

        Tip
        Tip

        A great feature of the Cisco VIC card is the possibility to define multiple virtual network adapters presented to the operating system, which are configured best for specific use. Like, admin traffic should be configured with MTU 1500 to be compatible with all communication partners, whereas the network for storage intensive traffic should be configured with MTU 9000 for best throughput. For high-availability, the two network devices per traffic type will be combined in a bond on the operating system layer.

  3. These new settings become active with the next power cycle of the server. At the top right side of the window click on Host Power → Power Off, in the pop-up windows click on OK.

  4. On the top menu item list, select Launch vKVM

    • Select the Virtual Media tab and activate Virtual Devices found in Virtual Media tab

    • Click the Virtual Media tab to select Map CD/DVD

    • In the Virtual Media - CD/DVD window, browse to respective operating system media, open and use the image for a system boot.

Deployment Process

On the respective compute module node, determine if a hypervisor is already available for the solution`s virtual machines.

  1. If this will be the first use of this node, an option is to deploy a KVM hypervisor, based upon SUSE Linux Enterprise Server by following the Virtualization Guide.

    • Given the simplicity of the deployment, the operating system and hypervisor can be installed with the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server ISO media and the Cisco IMC virtual media and virtual console methodology.

  2. Then for the solution VM, use the hypervisor user interface to allocate the necessary CPU, memory, disk and networking as noted in the SUSE Rancher hardware requirements.

Deployment Consideration(s)

To further optimize deployment factors, leverage the following practices:

  • Automation

    • To monitor and operate a Cisco UCS server from Intersight, the first step is to claim the device. The following procedure provides the steps to claim the Cisco UCS C240 server manually in Intersight.

      • Logon to Intersight web interface and navigate to Admin > Targets

      • On the top right corner of the window click on Claim a New Target

      • In the next window, select Compute / Fabric → Cisco UCS Server (Standalone), click on Start

      • In another tab of the web browser, logon to the CIntegrated Management Controller portal of the Cisco UCS C240 SD M5 and navigate to Admin → Device Connector

      • Back in Intersight, enter the Device ID and Claim Code from the server and click on Claim. The server is now listed in Intersight under Targets and under Servers

      • Enable Tunneld vKVM and click on Save. Tunneld vKVM allows Intersight to open the vKVM window in case the client has no direct network access to the server on the local lan or via VPN.

      • Navigate to Operate → Servers → name of the new server to see the details and Actions available for this system.

      • The available actions are based on the Intersight license level available for this server and the privileges of the used user account.

        Note
        Note

        Please have a look at Intersight Licensing to get an overview of the functions available with the different license tiers.

      • Now you can remotely manage the server and leverage existing or setup specific deployment profiles for the use case, plus perform the operating system installation.

        Tip
        Tip

        An even more advanced infrastructure-as-code approach with Intersight can use Terraform.

  • Availability

    • While the initial deployment only requires a single VM, as noted in later deployment sections, having multiple VMs provides resiliency to accomplish high availability. To reduce single points of failure, it would be beneficial to have the multi-VM deployments spread across multiple hypervisor nodes. So consideration of consistent hypervisor and compute module configurations, with the needed resources for the SUSE Rancher VMs will yield a robust, reliable production implementation.

5.3 SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro

As the base software layer, use an enterprise-grade Linux operating system. For example, SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro.

Preparation(s)

To meet the solution stack prerequisites and requirements, SUSE operating system offerings, like SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro can be utilized.

  1. Ensure these services are in place and configured for this node to use:

    • Domain Name Service (DNS) - an external network-accessible service to map IP Addresses to hostnames

    • Network Time Protocol (NTP) - an external network-accessible service to obtain and synchronize system times to aid in time stamp consistency

    • Software Update Service - access to a network-based repository for software update packages. This can be accessed directly from each node via registration to

      • the general, internet-based SUSE Customer Center (SCC) or

      • an organization’s SUSE Manager infrastructure or

      • a local server running an instance of Repository Mirroring Tool (RMT)

        Note
        Note

        During the node’s installation, it can be pointed to the respective update service. This can also be accomplished post-installation with the command-line tool named SUSEConnect.

Deployment Process

On the compute platform node, install the noted SUSE operating system, by following these steps:

  1. Download the SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro product (either for the ISO or Virtual Machine image)

    • Identify the appropriate, supported version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro by reviewing the support matrix for SUSE Rancher versions Web page.

  2. The installation process is described and can be performed with default values by following steps from the product documentation, see Installation Quick Start

    Tip
    Tip

    Adjust both the password and the local network addressing setup to comply with local environment guidelines and requirements.

Deployment Consideration(s)

To further optimize deployment factors, leverage the following practices:

  • Automation

    • To reduce user intervention, unattended deployments of SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro can be automated

      • for ISO-based installations, by referring to the AutoYaST Guide

      • for raw-image based installation, by configuring the Ignition and Combustion tooling as described in the Installation Quick Start

5.4 K3s

Preparation(s)
  1. Identify the appropriate, desired version of the K3s binary (e.g. vX.YY.ZZ+k3s1) by reviewing

    • the "Installing SUSE Rancher on K3s" associated with the respective SUSE Rancher version, or

    • the "Releases" on the Download Web page.

  2. For the underlying operating system firewall service, either

    • enable and configure the necessary inbound ports or

    • stop and completely disable the firewall service.

Deployment Process

Perform the following steps to install the first K3s server on one of the nodes to be used for the Kubernetes control plane

  1. Set the following variable with the noted version of K3s, as found during the preparation steps.

    K3s_VERSION=""
  2. Install the version of K3s with embedded etcd enabled:

    curl -sfL https://get.k3s.io | \
    	INSTALL_K3S_VERSION=${K3s_VERSION} \
    	INSTALL_K3S_SKIP_SELINUX_RPM=true \
    	INSTALL_K3S_EXEC='server --cluster-init --write-kubeconfig-mode=644' \
    	sh -s -
    Tip
    Tip

    To address Availability and possible scaling to a multiple node cluster, etcd is enabled instead of using the default SQLite datastore.

    • Monitor the progress of the installation: watch -c "kubectl get deployments -A"

      • The K3s deployment is complete when elements of all the deployments (coredns, local-path-provisioner, metrics-server, and traefik) show at least "1" as "AVAILABLE"

      • Use Ctrl+c to exit the watch loop after all deployment pods are running

Deployment Consideration(s)

To further optimize deployment factors, leverage the following practices:

  • Availability

    • A full high-availability K3s cluster is recommended for production workloads. The etcd key/value store (aka database) requires an odd number of servers (aka master nodes) be allocated to the K3s cluster. In this case, two additional control-plane servers should be added; for a total of three.

      1. Deploy the same operating system on the new compute platform nodes, then log in to the new nodes as root or as a user with sudo privileges.

      2. Execute the following sets of commands on each of the remaining control-plane nodes:

        • Set the following additional variables, as appropriate for this cluster

          # Private IP preferred, if available
          FIRST_SERVER_IP=""
          
          # From /var/lib/rancher/k3s/server/node-token file on the first server
          NODE_TOKEN=""
          
          # Match the first of the first server
          K3s_VERSION=""
        • Install K3s

          curl -sfL https://get.k3s.io | \
          	INSTALL_K3S_VERSION=${K3s_VERSION} \
          	INSTALL_K3S_SKIP_SELINUX_RPM=true \
          	K3S_URL=https://${FIRST_SERVER_IP}:6443 \
          	K3S_TOKEN=${NODE_TOKEN} \
          	K3S_KUBECONFIG_MODE="644" INSTALL_K3S_EXEC='server' \
          	sh -
        • Monitor the progress of the installation: watch -c "kubectl get deployments -A"

          • The K3s deployment is complete when elements of all the deployments (coredns, local-path-provisioner, metrics-server, and traefik) show at least "1" as "AVAILABLE"

          • Use Ctrl+c to exit the watch loop after all deployment pods are running

            By default, the K3s server nodes are available to run non-control-plane workloads. In this case, the K3s default behavior is perfect for the SUSE Rancher server cluster as it doesn’t require additional agent (aka worker) nodes to maintain a highly available SUSE Rancher server application.

            Note
            Note

            This can be changed to the normal Kubernetes default by adding a taint to each server node. See the official Kubernetes documentation for more information on how to do that.

        • (Optional) In cases where agent nodes are desired, execute the following sets of commands, using the same "K3s_VERSION", "FIRST_SERVER_IP", and "NODE_TOKEN" variable settings as above, on each of the agent nodes to add it to the K3s cluster:

          curl -sfL https://get.k3s.io | \
          	INSTALL_K3S_VERSION=${K3s_VERSION} \
          	INSTALL_K3S_SKIP_SELINUX_RPM=true \
          	K3S_URL=https://${FIRST_SERVER_IP}:6443 \
          	K3S_TOKEN=${NODE_TOKEN} \
          	K3S_KUBECONFIG_MODE="644" \
          	sh -

5.5 SUSE Rancher

Preparation(s)
  1. For the respective node’s firewall service, either

    • enable and configure the necessary inbound ports or

    • stop and completely disable the firewall service.

  2. Determine the desired SSL configuration for TLS termination

    • Rancher-generated TLS certificate NOTE: This is the easiest way of installing SUSE Rancher with self-signed certificates.

    • Let’s Encrypt

    • Bring your own certificate

  3. Obtain a Helm binary matching the respective Kubernetes version for this SUSE Rancher implementation.

    Note
    Note

    Enable the respective kubeconfig setting for kubectl , K3s - /etc/rancher/k3s/k3s.yml, to be leveraged by helm command.

Deployment Process

While logged into the node, as root or with sudo privileges, install SUSE Rancher:

  1. Install cert-manager

    • Set the following variable with the desired version of cert-manager

      CERT_MANAGER_VERSION=""
      Note
      Note

      At this time, the most current, supported version of cert-manager is v1.5.1

    • Create the cert-manager CRDs and apply the Helm Chart resource manifest

      kubectl apply -f https://github.com/cert-manager/cert-manager/releases/download/${CERT_MANAGER_VERSION}/cert-manager.crds.yaml
      
      # Add the Jetstack Helm repository
      helm repo add jetstack https://charts.jetstack.io
      
      # Update your local Helm chart repository cache
      helm repo update
      
      # Install the cert-manager Helm chart
      helm install cert-manager jetstack/cert-manager \
        --namespace cert-manager \
        --create-namespace \
        --version ${CERT_MANAGER_VERSION}
      • Check the progress of the installation, looking for all pods to be in running status:

        kubectl get pods --namespace cert-manager
  2. Add the SUSE Rancher helm chart repository:

    helm repo add rancher-stable https://releases.rancher.com/server-charts/stable
  3. Create a namespace for SUSE Rancher

    kubectl create namespace cattle-system
  4. Prepare to use the Helm Chart for SUSE Rancher:

    • Set the following variable to the host name of the SUSE Rancher server instance

      HOSTNAME=""
      Note
      Note

      This host name should be resolvable to an IP address of the K3s host, or a load balancer/proxy server that supports this installation of SUSE Rancher.

    • Set the following variable to the number of deployed K3s nodes planned to host the SUSE Rancher service

      REPLICAS=""
    • Set the following variable to the desired version of SUSE Rancher server instance

      RANCHER_VERSION=""
    • Install the SUSE Rancher Helm Chart

      helm install rancher rancher-stable/rancher \
        --namespace cattle-system \
        --set hostname=${HOSTNAME} \
        --set replicas=${REPLICAS} \
        --version=${RANCHER_VERSION}
      • Monitor the progress of the installation:

        kubectl -n cattle-system rollout status deploy/rancher
  5. (Optional) Create an SSH tunnel to access SUSE Rancher:

    Note
    Note

    This optional step is useful in cases where NAT routers and/or firewalls prevent the client Web browser from reaching the exposed SUSE Rancher server IP address and/or port. This step requires that a Linux host is accessible through SSH from the client system and that the Linux host can reach the exposed SUSE Rancher service. The SUSE Rancher host name should be resolvable to the appropriate IP address by the local workstation.

    • Create an SSH tunnel through the Linux host to the IP address of the SUSE Rancher server on the NodePort, as noted in Step 3:

      ssh -N -D 8080 user@Linux-host
    • On the local workstation Web browser, change the SOCKS Host settings to "127.0.0.1" and port "8080"

      Note
      Note

      This will route all traffic from this Web browser through the remote Linux host. Be sure to close the tunnel and revert the SOCKS Host settings when you’re done.

  6. Connect to the SUSE Rancher Web UI

    • On a client system, use a Web browser to connect to the SUSE Rancher service, via https

    • Provide a new Admin password

      Important
      Important

      On the second configuration page, ensure the "Rancher Server URL" is set to the host name specified when installing the SUSE Rancher Helm Chart and the port is 443.

Deployment Consideration(s)

To further optimize deployment factors, leverage the following practices

  • Availability

    • In instances where a load balancer is used to access a K3s cluster, deploying two additional K3s cluster nodes, for a total of three, will automatically make SUSE Rancher highly available.

  • Security

    • The basic deployment steps described above are for deploying SUSE Rancher with automatically generated, self-signed security certificates. Other options are to have SUSE Rancher create public certificates via Let’s Encrypt associated with with a publicly resolvable host name for the SUSE Rancher server, or to provide preconfigured, private certificates.

  • Integrity

    • This deployment of SUSE Rancher uses the K3s etcd key/value store to persist its data and configuration, which offers several advantages. With a multi-node cluster and this resiliency through replication, having to provide highly-available storage isn’t needed. In addition, backing up the K3s etcd store protects the cluster as well as the installation of SUSE Rancher and permits restoration of a given state.

After this successful deployment of the SUSE Rancher solution, review the product documentation for details on how downstream Kubernetes clusters can be:

  • deployed (refer to sub-section "Setting up Kubernetes Clusters in Rancher") or

  • imported (refer to sub-section "Importing Existing Clusters"), then

  • managed (refer to sub-section "Cluster Administration") and

  • accessed (refer to sub-section "Cluster Access") to address orchestration of workload, maintaining security and many more functions are readily available.

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