Press release

Rancher Labs Introduces Lightweight Operating System for k3s to Improve Security for Kubernetes Operations

Sponsored by Businesswire

, a leading provider of container management software, today
announced k3OS,
a new operating system purpose-built for its popular k3s
Kubernetes distribution. Announced in February, k3s
is a lightweight Kubernetes distribution designed for developers and
operators looking to run Kubernetes in resource-constrained
environments. With k3OS, Kubernetes cluster configuration and the
underlying OS configuration are defined using the same declarative
syntax as other Kubernetes resources. This enables developers and
operators to install and upgrade k3s and the underlying operating system
at the same time. It also allows them to benefit from modeling
infrastructure-as-code for reliable, repeatable cluster deployments.
This approach simplifies the administrator experience and makes k3s
clusters even more secure when running in low-touch computing

“While Kubernetes can be installed on any Linux distribution, separately
patching and upgrading it along with the underlying operating system can
be complex. A misconfiguration or security hole in system services can
compromise the entire Kubernetes cluster. With k3OS, users never have to
worry about unscheduled operating system upgrades, and security patches
will be applied for the entire software stack in just one step,” said
Sheng Liang, CEO and co-founder of Rancher Labs. “As a combined Linux
and Kubernetes distro, k3s running on k3OS will have the smallest attack
surface and the simplest upgrade process of any Kubernetes installation.”

An Ideal OS for Low-Touch Kubernetes Operations

Although k3OS works in public clouds and virtualization clusters, it is
particularly useful in low-touch environments like edge computing.

“As the second largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world, we’ve
been working with Rancher over the last year to develop the new
Kubernetes distro k3s,” says Wei Zhang, VP of technology at Goldwind
Smart Energy. “k3OS is the next step of technology evolution that helps
bring our vision of fully automated and highly secure Kubernetes
clusters on thousands of edge locations world-wide.”

Key features of k3OS include:

  • Fast install: k3OS boots in 10 seconds, with k3s immediately
  • Easy configuration: Cloud-init enables automatic
    configuration of k3s during the boot sequence, turning it from a
    generic image into a configured k3s instance quickly and easily.
  • Simplified patches and upgrades: Administrators can manage the
    Kubernetes distro and Linux distro from a common set of YAML files,
    and leverage Kubernetes to orchestrate the rollout of operating system
  • Purpose-built for k3s: Essential system services such as ssh,
    udev, bash and iptables are built into the distribution image. No
    package manager is required.
  • Ubuntu kernel: Rancher leverages the excellent track record of
    Canonical’s Ubuntu server kernel team to ensure timely security
    updates for k3OS and comprehensive device support.
  • Multi-architecture support: x86_64 support available now & Arm
    support available soon.

“GitLab provides a complete solution for the entire DevOps lifecycle. By
working with k3OS and k3s, GitLab continues its investment in cloud
native technologies, providing users the ability to control the
deployment and configuration of Kubernetes and Linux with a single
operational process,” said Brandon Jung, VP of Alliances at GitLab.
“GitLab looks forward to working with customers implementing k3OS and

Rancher Labs plans to ship a production-ready GA release later this
year. In the meantime, developers who are interested in downloading,
installing and playing with this new purpose-built operating system
should follow the project on

Enterprises who need assistance in installing, deploying and managing
k3s on k3OS can contact

Supporting Resources

About Rancher Labs

Rancher Labs builds innovative, open source software for enterprises
leveraging containers and Kubernetes to accelerate software development
and improve IT operations. The flagship Rancher container management
platform allows users to easily manage all aspects of running Kubernetes
in production, on any infrastructure. For additional information, please