Easily Deploy Applications with Catalogs

Kiril Shivachev

Archive article - published on October 09 2019

Robert Bailey, our VP of Application Development is writing a series of blogs featuring Rancher - here's the second in the series!

If I had to pick one of my favorite things about Rancher, it would have to be their App Catalog. It is a brilliant, user friendly approach to managing and deploying applications using Helm repositories. It allows user to quickly get an application up and running, even if they have little to no experience, or knowledge, on Helm at all.

Rancher ships with the option of using three different app catalogs - the Rancher catalog, Helm and Helm Incubator. You also have the option of creating your own charts to be used within the app catalog, which is very powerful. Let's go over the differences between these different options.

Rancher Catalog

Let’s first talk about the Rancher catalog, which is very different than a standard Helm chart repository. This introduces the ability to display a very user friendly form to set up configuration variables for the application you are deploying. This catalog offers a large collection of different platforms that you may want to deploy in your environment, such as Elasticsearch, Consul, MySQL, Redis and more. If it is a popular platform, you will no doubt find it here with an easy form-based wizard to get it set up and configured.

Helm and Helm Incubator Repositories

You can also use the standard Helm and Helm Incubator repositories. These are Helm charts that are kept up by the community and you can pretty much find anything you are looking for here; however, if you can’t find what you are looking for, think about contributing a new chart to this repository. Remember, the stable repository is ready and approved for production use, the incubator respiratory will contain some charts that are in beta testing, so keep that in mind.

Custom App Catalogs

In addition, a custom App Catalog can be created for your users by pointing to your own repository. This is very powerful. Even though you will find that most platforms are already available in the other built in repos, this gives you more control over what you allow your users to deploy. Charts can be set up that only allow your users to deploy approved platforms, that may adhere to certain supported versions or configurations. This gives you even more control over what runs within your Kubernetes cluster and makes it easy for developers to deploy supported platforms in a self service model.

Rancher App Catalogs are a powerful way to quickly, and easily, deploy different platforms on to your Kubernetes cluster. It also sets you up nicely to offer self service deployment capabilities to your software developers. How would you use the catalogs to benefit your IT strategy? Tell us in the comments below! If you would like to get more information, or have questions about how to implement Rancher within your business, reach out to us at any time!

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Kiril Shivachev
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