Skip to main content
Version: v2.7

Installation Requirements

This page describes the software, hardware, and networking requirements for the nodes where the Rancher server will be installed. The Rancher server can be installed on a single node or a high-availability Kubernetes cluster.

Important:

If you install Rancher on a Kubernetes cluster, requirements are different from the node requirements for downstream user clusters, which will run your apps and services.

Make sure the node(s) for the Rancher server fulfill the following requirements:

For a list of best practices that we recommend for running the Rancher server in production, refer to the best practices section.

The Rancher UI works best in Firefox or Chromium based browsers (Chrome, Edge, Opera, Brave, ...).

Operating Systems and Container Runtime Requirements

Rancher should work with any modern Linux distribution.

Docker is required for nodes that will run RKE Kubernetes clusters. It is not required for RKE2 or K3s clusters.

Rancher needs to be installed on a supported Kubernetes version. To find out which versions of Kubernetes are supported for your Rancher version, refer to the support maintenance terms.

For details on which OS and Docker versions were tested with each Rancher version, refer to the support maintenance terms.

All supported operating systems are 64-bit x86.

The ntp (Network Time Protocol) package should be installed. This prevents errors with certificate validation that can occur when the time is not synchronized between the client and server.

Some distributions of Linux may have default firewall rules that block communication within the Kubernetes cluster. Since Kubernetes v1.19, firewalld must be turned off, because it conflicts with the Kubernetes networking plugins.

If you don't feel comfortable doing so, you might check suggestions in the respective issue. Some users were successful creating a separate firewalld zone with a policy of ACCEPT for the Pod CIDR.

If you plan to run Rancher on ARM64, see Running on ARM64 (Experimental).

RKE Specific Requirements

For the container runtime, RKE should work with any modern Docker version.

For more information see Installing Docker,

K3s Specific Requirements

For the container runtime, K3s bundles its own containerd by default. Alternatively, you can configure K3s to use an already installed Docker runtime. For more information on using K3s with Docker see the K3s documentation.

Rancher needs to be installed on a supported Kubernetes version. To find out which versions of Kubernetes are supported for your Rancher version, refer to the support maintenance terms. To specify the K3s version, use the INSTALL_K3S_VERSION environment variable when running the K3s installation script.

If you are installing Rancher on a K3s cluster with Raspbian Buster, follow these steps to switch to legacy iptables.

If you are installing Rancher on a K3s cluster with Alpine Linux, follow these steps for additional setup.

RKE2 Specific Requirements

For the container runtime, RKE2 bundles its own containerd. Docker is not required for RKE2 installs.

For details on which OS versions were tested with RKE2, refer to the support maintenance terms.

Hardware Requirements

The following sections describe the CPU, memory, and disk requirements for the nodes where the Rancher server is installed.

CPU and Memory

Hardware requirements scale based on the size of your Rancher deployment. Provision each individual node according to the requirements. The requirements are different depending on if you are installing Rancher in a single container with Docker, or if you are installing Rancher on a Kubernetes cluster.

RKE and Hosted Kubernetes

These CPU and memory requirements apply to each host in the Kubernetes cluster where the Rancher server is installed.

These requirements apply to RKE Kubernetes clusters, as well as to hosted Kubernetes clusters such as EKS.

Deployment SizeClustersNodesvCPUsRAM
SmallUp to 150Up to 150028 GB
MediumUp to 300Up to 3000416 GB
LargeUp to 500Up to 5000832 GB
X-LargeUp to 1000Up to 10,0001664 GB
XX-LargeUp to 2000Up to 20,00032128 GB

Every use case and environment is different. Please contact Rancher to review yours.

K3s Kubernetes

These CPU and memory requirements apply to each host in a K3s Kubernetes cluster where the Rancher server is installed.

Deployment SizeClustersNodesvCPUsRAMDatabase Size
SmallUp to 150Up to 150028 GB2 cores, 4 GB + 1000 IOPS
MediumUp to 300Up to 3000416 GB2 cores, 4 GB + 1000 IOPS
LargeUp to 500Up to 5000832 GB2 cores, 4 GB + 1000 IOPS
X-LargeUp to 1000Up to 10,0001664 GB2 cores, 4 GB + 1000 IOPS
XX-LargeUp to 2000Up to 20,00032128 GB2 cores, 4 GB + 1000 IOPS

Every use case and environment is different. Please contact Rancher to review yours.

RKE2 Kubernetes

These CPU and memory requirements apply to each instance with RKE2 installed. Minimum recommendations are outlined here.

Deployment SizeClustersNodesvCPUsRAM
SmallUp to 5Up to 5025 GB
MediumUp to 15Up to 20039 GB

Docker

These CPU and memory requirements apply to a host with a single-node installation of Rancher.

Deployment SizeClustersNodesvCPUsRAM
SmallUp to 5Up to 5014 GB
MediumUp to 15Up to 20028 GB

Ingress

Each node in the Kubernetes cluster that Rancher is installed on should run an Ingress.

The Ingress should be deployed as DaemonSet to ensure your load balancer can successfully route traffic to all nodes.

For RKE, RKE2 and K3s installations, you don't have to install the Ingress manually because it is installed by default.

For hosted Kubernetes clusters (EKS, GKE, AKS), you will need to set up the ingress.

  • Amazon EKS: For details on how to install Rancher on Amazon EKS, including how to install an ingress so that the Rancher server can be accessed, refer to this page.
  • AKS: For details on how to install Rancher with Azure Kubernetes Service, including how to install an ingress so that the Rancher server can be accessed, refer to this page.
  • GKE: For details on how to install Rancher with Google Kubernetes Engine, including how to install an ingress so that the Rancher server can be accessed, refer to this page.

Disks

Rancher performance depends on etcd in the cluster performance. To ensure optimal speed, we recommend always using SSD disks to back your Rancher management Kubernetes cluster. On cloud providers, you will also want to use the minimum size that allows the maximum IOPS. In larger clusters, consider using dedicated storage devices for etcd data and wal directories.

Networking Requirements

This section describes the networking requirements for the node(s) where the Rancher server is installed.

caution

If a server containing Rancher has the X-Frame-Options=DENY header, some pages in the new Rancher UI will not be able to render after upgrading from the legacy UI. This is because some legacy pages are embedded as iFrames in the new UI.

Node IP Addresses

Each node used should have a static IP configured, regardless of whether you are installing Rancher on a single node or on an HA cluster. In case of DHCP, each node should have a DHCP reservation to make sure the node gets the same IP allocated.

Port Requirements

To operate properly, Rancher requires a number of ports to be open on Rancher nodes and on downstream Kubernetes cluster nodes. Port Requirements lists all the necessary ports for Rancher and Downstream Clusters for the different cluster types.

Dockershim Support

For more information on Dockershim support, refer to this page.