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Rancher 2.5 to Rancher 2.6 Upgrade

NERSC upgraded from Rancher 2.5 to 2.6 in Spring 2023, which includes a major update to the graphical user interface. The new UI is named "Cluster Explorer".

This page contains a summary of major changes to the UI, and also a list of known UI bugs.

Summary of changes between Rancher 2.5 and Rancher 2.6

Feature Rancher 2.5 Rancher 2.6
Overall navigation Resources located in various menus All resources are located under the left hand navigation bar
Overall navigation Resources located in various menus Resource options are located within the resource context
Shell & log window Shell window was a full screen Shell access & logs open multiple windows side-by-side
Namespaces Could create namespace while creating workload Must create namespace before workload
Workload creation Can paste multiple key-value pairs as environment variables Config Maps are recommended over environment variables.
You can paste multiple key-value pairs as Config Maps.
During workload creation, environment variables do not support the bulk paste of multiple key-value pairs.
Workload Creation Security Context is at bottom of workload config page Security context is found under Container-0
Secrets Secrets, Certs, Registry Credentials are in separate menus under the ‘Secrets’ menu Secrets are located under Storage. The default type of secret is “Opaque”
Ingresses Ingresses were located under Workload > Loadbalancers Ingresses are located under Service Discovery
Loadbalancers Loadbalancers were created from a workload Loadbalancers are located under Service Discovery > Services
Volumes Volumes were located under Workload > Volumes Volumes are located under Storage > PersistentVolumeClaims

New UI navigation

Rancher 2.6 Navigation Menu

Here are a few highlights of the new UI:

  • The new navigation menu on the left side contains all resources that are available to you. Here are the location of some important resource types.
    • Namespaces are listed under the Cluster menu.
    • Deployments are listed under the Workloads menu
    • Ingresses and Loadbalancers are listed under the Service Discovery menu
  • Notice the magnifying glass in the upper right hand corner. This allows you to search for resources by their type, such as a Deployment or Pod.
  • If you work with multiple namespaces, you can select which namespaces to view in the namespace dropdown above. Multiple namespaces can be selected
  • We recommend that you stay away from the menu titled "More Resources" or the button titled "Cluster Tools". The items contained within tend to be confusing to most folks. In addition, you will not have permission to use some of the things and will get an error message if you try to activate them. Here be Dragons

Workload navigation menu

Similar to the left hand navigation menu, items in the workload navigation menus are organized by a hierarchy. In the example below, we can see that a Deployment contains the Pod, and the Pod contains the Container.

Rancher 2.6 Deployment Menu

Shell access and logs

Opening a shell or log can be done from the dropdown menu next to a Pod. This will open an in-browser window as shown by the arrows below. A few things to notice:

  • The shell and log windows will time out after a few minutes of inactivity. Notice the green word "Connected" in the bottom right corner. If it says "Disconnected" in red, your session has been disconnected or the container has stopped.
  • The window bar across the top of the log or shell window has an "expansion icon" which allows you to minimize or expand the windows.

Accessing logs and the shell in Rancher 2.6

Containers are now launched without the --interactive and --tty flags

Note that containers are now launched without the --interactive and --tty flags. As a consequence, containers without a long running entrypoint will exit immediately and you will not be able to open an interactive shell. One notable example is the ubuntu series of images.

You can re-enable these features in the container configuration. Navigate to the container tab, scroll down to the Command section and select Yes for Stdin and check the box next to TTY as shown here:

Enabling interactive shell and tty in Rancher 2.6

Must create namespace before workload

Rancher 2.5 allowed you to create a namespace when creating a workload:

Creating namespaces in Rancher 2.5\

In Rancher 2.6, namespaces must be created before creating the workload. Namespaces are created from the top left menu, Cluster > Namespaces > Create Namespace, as shown here:

Creating namespaces in Rancher 2.6\

Note that Projects may only be created by NERSC staff.

Config Maps

In Rancher 2.6, the recommended practice for adding environment variables is to use Config Maps. A user can paste multiple key-values into Config Maps at once, and then use those Config Maps in a deployment. The Rancher 2.6 UI does not allow a user to bulk paste multiple key-value pairs into the Environment Variables section during workload creation.

Pasting multiple key-value pairs into Config Maps Using Config Maps as environment variables

Security context

In Rancher 2.5, the security context for the workloads was available at the far bottom of the page, after clicking Advanced Options:

Security Context in Rancher 2.5

In Rancher 2.6, the security context is located under the "Container" tab, as shown here:

Security Context in Rancher 2.6


In Kubernetes, secrets are listed under the Storage menu because a secret is technically a storage object. The default type of secret is an Opaque secret-- this was true in Rancher 2.5 as well, but the UI simply called them "Secrets" and didn't use the word "Opaque".

Secrets are located under Storage


Ingresses are now located under Service Discovery

Ingresses are located under Service Discovery


Loadbalancers are now located under Service Discovery > Services

Loadbalancers are located under Service Discovery > Services


Volumes have been renamed to use the Kubernetes term "Persistent Volume Claim" (PVC) and can be found under Storage > PersistentVolumeClaims

Volumes are located under Storage