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documentation.suse.com / Layered Stack Deployment of SUSE Rancher / Component model
Applies to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP3, K3s 1.20.14, SUSE Rancher 2.5.12

4 Component model

This section describes the various components being used to create a SUSE Rancher solution deployment, in the perspective of top to bottom ordering. When completed, the SUSE Rancher instance enables the management of multiple, downstream Kubernetes clusters.

4.1 Component overview

By using:

  • Software

    • Multi-cluster Management Server - SUSE Rancher

    • Kubernetes Platform - K3s

    • Linux Operating System - SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

  • Compute Platform

    • HP ZCentral 4R

you can create the necessary infrastructure and services. Further details for these components are described in the following sections.

4.2 Software - SUSE Rancher

SUSE Rancher is a Kubernetes native multi-cluster container management platform. It addresses these challenges by delivering the following key functions, as shown in the following figure:

Rancher overview
Figure 4.1: Component Overview - SUSE Rancher
Certified Kubernetes Distributions

SUSE Rancher supports management of any CNCF certified Kubernetes distribution for:

  • development, edge, branch workloads, SUSE offerings like K3s, a CNCF certified lightweight distribution of Kubernetes

  • workload infrastructures, either on-premise or public-cloud based, SUSE offerings like Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE) or Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government (RKE2), as CNCF certified Kubernetes distributions for both bare-metal and virtualized servers

  • the public cloud, hosted Kubernetes services like

    • Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS⁠[4]),

    • Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS⁠[5]) and

    • Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE⁠[6]).

Simplified Cluster Operations and Infrastructure Management

SUSE Rancher provides simple, consistent cluster operations including provisioning and templates, configuration and lifecycle version management, along with visibility and diagnostics.

Security and Authentication

SUSE Rancher integrates and utilizes existing directory services, to automate processes and apply a consistent set of identity and access management (IAM) plus security policies for all the managed clusters, no matter where they are running.

Policy Enforcement and Governance

SUSE Rancher includes audit and security guideline enforcement, monitoring and logging functions, along with user, network and workload policies distributed across all managed clusters.

Platform Services

SUSE Rancher also provides a rich catalog of services for building, deploying and scaling containerized applications, including app packaging, logging, monitoring and service mesh.


Learn more information about SUSE Rancher

For a production implementation of SUSE Rancher, deploying upon a Kubernetes platform is required and the next sections describe the suggested component layering approach.

4.3 Software - K3s

K3s is packaged as a single binary, which is about 50 megabytes in size. Bundled in that single binary is everything needed to run Kubernetes anywhere, including low-powered IoT and Edge-based devices. The binary includes:

  • the container runtime

  • important host utilities such as iptables, socat and du

The only OS dependencies are the Linux kernel itself and a proper dev, proc and sysfs mounts (this is done automatically on all modern Linux distributions). K3s bundles the Kubernetes components:

  • kube-apiserver,

  • kube-controller-manager,

  • kube-scheduler,

  • kubelet and

  • kube-proxy

into combined processes that are presented as a simple server and agent model, as represented in the following figure:

K3s overview
Figure 4.2: Component Overview - K3s

K3s can run as a complete cluster on a single node or can be expanded into a multi-node cluster. Besides the core Kubernetes components, these are also included:

  • containerd,

  • Flannel,

  • CoreDNS,

  • ingress controller and

  • a simple host port-based service load balancer.

All of these components are optional and can be swapped out for your implementation of choice. With these included components, you get a fully functional and CNCF-conformant cluster so you can start running apps right away. K3s is now a CNCF Sandbox project, being the first Kubernetes distribution ever to be adopted into sandbox.


Learn more information about K3s

4.4 Software - SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) is an adaptable and easy-to-manage platform that allows developers and administrators to deploy business-critical workloads on-premises, in the cloud and at the edge. It is a Linux operating system that is adaptable to any environment – optimized for performance, security and reliability. As a multimodal operating system that paves the way for IT transformation in the software-defined era, this simplifies multimodal IT, makes traditional IT infrastructure efficient and provides an engaging platform for developers. As a result, one can easily deploy and transition business-critical workloads across on-premises and public cloud environments.

Designed for interoperability, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server integrates into classical Unix and Windows environments, supports open standard interfaces for systems management, and has been certified for IPv6 compatibility. This modular, general purpose operating system runs on four processor architectures and is available with optional extensions that provide advanced capabilities for tasks such as real time computing and high availability clustering. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is optimized to run as a high performing guest on leading hypervisors and supports an unlimited number of virtual machines per physical system with a single subscription. This makes it the perfect guest operating system for virtual computing.

4.5 Compute Platform

Leveraging the enterprise grade functionality of the operating system mentioned in the previous section, many compute platforms can be the foundation of the deployment:

  • Virtual machines on supported hypervisors or hosted on cloud service providers

  • Physical, baremetal or single-board computers, either on-premises or hosted by cloud service providers


To complete self-testing of hardware with SUSE YES Certified Process, you can download and install the respective SUSE operating system support-pack version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and the YES test suite. Then run the tests per the instructions in the test kit, fixing any problems encountered and when corrected, re-run all tests to obtain clean test results. Submit the test results into the SUSE Bulletin System (SBS) for audit, review and validation.


Certified systems and hypervisors can be verified via SUSE YES Certified Bulletins and then can be leveraged as supported nodes for this deployment, as long as the certification refers to the respective version of the underlying SUSE operating system required.

4.5.1 HP Z Workstation

The HP Z Workstation portfolio provides extreme performance for the most-demanding professional workflows. But the Z Workstation vision goes beyond powerful processing and graphics, cutting-edge thermal design and unrelenting reliability.

A specific model that offer relevant choices for Enterprise Kubernetes is:

HP ZCentral 4R

The industry-leading HP ZCentral 4R gives performance in a high-density 1U rack workstation footprint. This slim powerhouse lets you pack in more units — and power. You can maximize your compute investment by centralizing a suite of ZCentral 4R that can be accessed remotely with HP ZCentral software. Plus, software certifications for leading applications come standard, delivering professional reliability and predictable licensing fees.


The HP ZCentral 4R is SUSE YES Certified Hardware.

  • Up to 18 cores Intel Xeon W processor: Ensure the highest performance and productivity for your pro-level apps and most challenging projects. Avoid system crashes in the middle of your workflow with Error Correction Code (ECC) memory that detects and corrects soft errors in the memory system on the fly.

  • Up to NVIDIA RTX™ A6000 GPU: Reach peak performance with support for one ultra high-end or two mid-tier18 NVIDIA RTX professional graphics options.

  • Up to 256 GB DDR4-2933 SDRAM: Get greater application responsiveness to tackle large workloads with quad-channel architecture providing up to 256 GB of memory.

  • Up to 22 TB storage: Access and store massive amounts of data on the fly with three storage bays and dual M.2 slots.

  • An aggregated power option: Combine two 675W power supplies that can provide a redundant option, so you will have power to keep you up and running.


A sample bill of materials, in the Chapter 9, Appendix, cites the necessary quantites of all components, along with a reference to the minimum resource requirements needed by the software components.