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

4 Component model

This section describes the various components being used to create a Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government solution deployment, in the perspective of top to bottom ordering. When completed, the Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government instance can be used as the application infrastructure for cloud-native workloads and can be imported into SUSE Rancher for management.

4.1 Component overview

By using:

  • Kubernetes Platform - Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government

  • Operating System - SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

  • Compute Platform

    • Hewlett Packard Enterprise ProLiant

    • Hewlett Packard Enterprise Synergy

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

4.2 Software - Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government

Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government also known as RKE2, is Rancher’s next-generation Kubernetes distribution. It is a fully conformant Kubernetes distribution that focuses on security and compliance within the U.S. Federal Government sector. It solves the common frustration of installation complexity with Kubernetes by removing most host dependencies and presenting a stable path for deployment, upgrades, and rollbacks.

To meet these goals, Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government does the following:

  • launches control plane components as static pods, managed by the kubelet. The embedded container runtime is containerd.

  • provides defaults and configuration options that allow clusters to pass the CIS Kubernetes Benchmark v1.5 or v1.6 with minimal operator intervention

  • enables FIPS 140-2 compliance

  • regularly scans components for CVEs using trivy in our build pipeline

With Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government we take lessons learned from developing and maintaining our lightweight Kubernetes distribution, K3s, and apply them to build an enterprise-ready distribution with K3s ease-of-use. What this means is that Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government is, at its simplest, a single binary to be installed and configured on all nodes expected to participate in the Kubernetes cluster. When started, Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government is then able to bootstrap and supervise role-appropriate agents per node while sourcing needed content from the network.

The fundamental roles for the nodes and core functionality of Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government are represented in the following figure:

RKE2 overview
Figure 4.1: Component Overview - Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government

Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government brings together several open source technologies to make this all work:

  • K3s - Helm Controller

  • Kubernetes

    • API Server

    • Controller Manager

    • Kubelet

    • Scheduler

    • Proxy

  • etcd

  • Container Runtime - runc, containerd/cri

  • CoreDNS

  • NGINX Ingress Controller

  • Metrics Server

  • Helm

All of these, except the NGINX Ingress Controller, are compiled and statically linked with ⁠[4]

While all Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government roles can be installed on a single system, for the best availability, performance and security, the recommended deployment of a Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government cluster is a pair of nodes for the control plane role, at least three etcd role-based nodes and three or more worker nodes.

Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government 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 configurable and included:

  • Multiple Kubernetes versions

  • CoreDNS, Metrics, Ingress controller

  • CNI: Canal (Calico & Flannel), Cilium or Calico

  • Fleet Agent : for GitOps deployment of cloud-native applications

All of these components are configurable 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.


Learn more information about Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government at https://docs.rke2.io/.

While all Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government roles can be installed on a single system, a multi-node cluster, is a more production-like approach and will be described in the deployment section.


To improve availability, performance and security, the recommended deployment of a Rancher Kubernetes Engine Government cluster is a pair of nodes for the control plane role, at least three etcd role-based nodes and three or more worker nodes.

4.3 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.

4.4 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.

Even with the broad certification and support model across the range of available HPE platform models, the following table summarizes which might be a best-practice selection for the various deployment types and focus areas:

Table 4.1: Hewlett Packard Enterprise Platform Matrix for Deployment Types
System PlatformBaremetalHypervisorVirtual Machine









As listed in the previous table, multiple server product-line and model options abound in the HPE server portfolio, as detailed in the following sections.

4.4.1 Hewlett Packard Enterprise iLO

The Hewlett Packard Enterprise iLO [iLO] arms you with the tools to manage your servers efficiently, resolve issues quickly, and keep your business running – from anywhere in the world, allowing you to manage your entire server environment with ease. Upgrade the basic iLO license for additional functionality, such as graphical remote console, multi-user collaboration, video record/playback, remote management, and much more. The latest iLO innovations include:

  • Security and performance

  • Support for Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol [SCEP]

  • Enablement for 802.1x protocol to securly onboarc servers into a network

  • Redfish API Conformance

4.4.2 HPE ProLiant DL Rack Servers

The HPE ProLiant DL family of servers are the most flexible, reliable, and performance-optimized HPE ProLiant rack servers—ever. HPE continues to provide industry-leading compute innovations. The new HPE ProLiant rack portfolio, with flexible choices and versatile design, along with improved energy efficiencies, ultimately lowers your TCO. Integrated with a simplified, but comprehensive management suite and industry-leading support, the HPE ProLiant rack portfolio delivers a more reliable, fast, and secure infrastructure solution, helps increase IT staff productivity, and accelerates service delivery. In addition, the rack portfolio is performance-optimized for multiapplication workloads to significantly increase the speed of IT operations and enable IT to respond to business needs of any size, faster.

Specific models that offer relevant choices for Enterprise Kubernetes are:

HPE ProLiant DL380

The industry-leading HPE DL380 2P/2U server with world-class performance and supreme versatility for multi-workload compute server delivers the latest in security, performance and expandability, backed by a comprehensive warranty. Standardize on the industry’s most trusted compute platform. The HPE DL380 server is securely designed to reduce costs and complexity, featuring:

  • the First, Second, Third Generation Intel Xeon Processor Scalable Family with up to a 60% performance gain1 and 27% increase in cores2

  • the HPE 2933 MT/s DDR4 SmartMemory supporting 3.0 TB

  • support of 12 Gb/s SAS, and up to 20 NVMe drive plus a broad range of compute options

  • HPE Persistent Memory offers unprecedented levels of performance for databases and analytic workloads to run everything from the most basic to mission-critical applications and deploy with confidence.

HPE ProLiant DL360

Adaptable for diverse workloads and environments, the compact 1U HPE DL360 server delivers security, agility and flexibility without compromise. It supports:

  • the Intel Xeon Scalable processor with up to a 60% performance gain1 and 27% increase in cores2

  • along with 2933 MT/s HPE DDR4 SmartMemory supporting up to 3.0 TB2 with an increase in performance of up to 82%3

  • the added performance that HPE Persistent Memory6, HPE NVDIMMs7 and 10 NVMe bring, the HPE DL360 means business. Deploy, update, monitor and maintain with ease

  • automating essential server life cycle management tasks with HPE OneView and HPE Integrated Lights Out to deploy this 2P secure platform for diverse workloads in space constrained environments.


HPE Servers Support & OS Certification Matrices outlines the minimum version of SLE required for installation, yet later service pack releases may also be used and supported.

4.4.3 HPE Synergy Servers

HPE Synergy, the first Composable Infrastructure, empowers IT to create and deliver new value easily and continuously. This single infrastructure reduces operational complexity for traditional workloads and increases operational velocity for the new breed of applications and services. Through a single interface, HPE Synergy composes compute, storage and fabric pools into any configuration for any application. It also enables a broad range of workloads — from bare metal, to virtual machines, to containers, to operational models like hybrid cloud and DevOps. HPE Synergy enables IT to rapidly react to new business demands with the following components:

  • HPE Synergy 12000 Frames are uniquely architected as Composable Infrastructure (CI) to match the powerful 'infrastructure-as-code' capabilities of the HPE intelligent software architecture. Flexible access to compute, storage, and fabric resources allows for use and re-purposing. Linking multiple HPE Synergy Frames efficiently scales the infrastructure with a dedicated single view of the entire management network.

    • Creating multiple composable domains in the infrastructure can efficiently deliver available resources to the business. HPE Synergy Frames reduce complexity by using intelligent auto-discovery to find all available resources to accelerate workload deployments. This drives IT efficiency as the business grows and delivers balanced performance across resources to increase solution effectiveness.

  • With HPE Synergy SY480 Compute Module, one gains operational efficiency and control, and can deploy IT resources quickly for any workload through a single interface. HPE Synergy is a powerful software-defined solution. HPE Synergy Composable Compute resources create pools of flexible compute capacity that can be configured almost instantly to rapidly provision infrastructure for a broad range of applications. The HPE Synergy SY480 Compute Module delivers an efficient and flexible two-socket workhorse to support most demanding workloads. Powered by:

    • Intel Xeon Scalable Family of processors

    • up to 4.5 TB DDR4, more storage capacity and controllers

    • a variety of GPU options within a composable architecture HPE Synergy SY480 Compute Module is the ideal platform for general-purpose enterprise workload performance now and in the future.


HPE Servers Support & OS Certification Matrices outlines the minimum version of SLE required for installation, yet later service pack releases may also be used and supported.


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.