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During the pre-event of KubeCon NA 2021, SUSE sheds light on new open source tools for configuring, deploying and managing VMs and Kubernetes containers through SUSE Rancher.

KubeCon North America 2021, the annual conference of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, kicks off today. Over the next few days, the world’s leading developers of Kubernetes and container tooling will gather at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Digital attendance remains possible. The pre-event runs until tomorrow; the main event follows from October 13 through October 15.

SUSE kickstarted the conference with a showcase of Kubernetes tools that have appeared in its portfolio recently. Among them: Harvester.


Rancher Labs, the developer that SUSE acquired in mid-2020, describes Harvester as hyperconverged infrastructure software (HCI). Kubernetes forms the foundation. VMs can be configured, deployed and managed side by side with (Kubernetes) containers.

Such functionality has been present in closed source systems like vSphere and Nutanix for quite some time. In contrast, open source options were sparse. KubeVirt and Virtlet tried, but didn’t come close to bordering the popularity of the aforementioned vSphere and Nutanix.

According to Sheng Yang, co-developer of Harvester, the latter is due to a knowledge threshold that every open source HCI project to date has in common. Yang argues that all previous open source tools for the management of both VMs and containers require too much knowledge about Kubernetes to invite use among VM professionals. Harvester bridges the gap with a Kubernetes solution that should be usable based entirely on VM proficiency.

At KubeCon 2021, SUSE lists Harvester as one of the most noteworthy projects of recent times. Harvester’s availability solidifies SUSE Rancher’s position as an open source option for the clustering and large-scale deployment of Kubernetes containers and VMs.

Kubernetes, Rancher Desktop and more

Furthermore, SUSE is demoing and discussing Kubewarden, SUSE’s most recent project. The tool allows users to write policies in a programming language of their choice and deploy them directly to container registries.

Rancher Desktop was also featured. Introduced in July of this year, it offers a welcome ability to run Kubernetes on a local PC or Mac, lowering the installation threshold of Kubernetes.

Additionally, Epinio makes an appearance. It serves as a tool for deploying ready-to-use Kubernetes clusters, without relying on skill with Kubernetes-specific configurations. Hypper, a variant of Kubernetes packet manager Helm, was highlighted as well. According to SUSE, Hypper handles application dependencies more intelligently than Helm, increasing the speed of error-free (mass) application updates and configuration.