Why SUSE Acquired Rancher Federal

By Brandon Gulla

In order to meet the challenge of the ever-evolving mission landscape, our US Federal customers demand innovative solutions that can accelerate, not degrade, their mission velocity. Whether it’s civilian agencies looking to adopt cloud-native strategies, IC-partners looking to extend AI/ML pipelines to the tactical-battlefield or the USAF changing the conversation on how we all can push code to the warfighter faster than ever, the mission demands opportunity. The future of cloud-native software is not opinionated, prescriptive monoliths, but flexible vendor-agnostic architectures built to serve each customer’s unique mission.

Yesterday’s exciting news about SUSE acquiring Rancher Federal and Rancher Labs isn’t any different. Kubernetes is not merely a piece of software, but an orchestra of open source tools working together in concert to deliver mission-critical infrastructure. Most people in the Kubernetes community know Rancher Labs and Rancher Federal have built their successes on offering maximum choice to legions of loyal users and customers. We’re not just 100 percent open source, we’re 100 percent open with no vendor lock-in. SUSE is acquiring the Rancher family because they share the same vision. The acquisition will not challenge our constitution to vendor/operating-system agnosticism, but rather, make it stronger.

We’re Both OS Agnostic

If you prefer Centos to Ubuntu, no problem. If you’ve been a Red Hat customer for a decade and want to deploy on RHEL, that’s fine too. Both SUSE and Rancher Labs understand that organizations choose to standardize on a specific Linux distribution for a variety of reasons. Normally they’ve undertaken extensive evaluations of different providers to land on their OS selection. Sometimes their choice is based on nothing more than somebody in IT thinking one project or vendor is cooler than the rest.

As we go forward, SUSE and Rancher Labs will continue to respect these decisions because we’re focused on one thing alone – helping our customers be successful.

We’re Both Infrastructure Agnostic

Sharing in this ethos, Rancher will continue to be infrastructure agnostic, giving our users the flexibility to deploy Kubernetes clusters on any major cloud provider. We even allow users to import existing Kubernetes clusters that pre-date their use of Rancher.

Rancher is also well known for treating cloud-hosted Kubernetes distributions like Google GKE, Amazon EKS and Microsoft AKS as first-class citizens. Additionally, to serve our Federal customers further, we will soon be enabling turnkey SC2S, C2S and AzureGov capabilities. Our mission is to provide your team with the flexibility it demands whether on-prem, air-gapped, edge or a mix of all three. In fact, our users can run any CNCF-certified Kubernetes distribution from within Rancher, giving them the freedom to innovate on the best platform for their use case. Yes, we have two popular Kubernetes distributions of our own – RKE for consistency across hybrid cloud deployments and K3s for resource-constrained environments at the edge – but we won’t stop customers from doing their own thing. It’s not in anybody’s interest to change this commitment in the future.

The Future

When the dust from yesterday’s announcement settles and the SUSE acquisition is finalized, we will continue to deliver open solutions throughout the US Federal community. Our passion to deliver open source technologies and world-class cleared support, absent of vendor or operating system lock-in, will be far from abandoned. Together, we will better enable the warfighter to succeed not just today, but for the mission of tomorrow.