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Within the scope of BigGIS, we build our platform on top of the bwCloud offering. The Baden-Württemberg Cloud (bwCloud) provides virtual machines (servers) for members of science- and research institutions in Baden-Württemberg (e.g. students and staff-members) much like Amazon’s EC2. Building on the openstack-platform the infrastructure is currently operated by four sites in Baden-Württemberg: the Universities of Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Ulm and Freiburg.


Currently, we run a total of nine Virtual Machines (VM), serving different kinds of purposes, that are providing (1) a single-node Rancher Testing environment, (2) a multi-node Rancher Cluster environment, and (3) infrastructure supporting services (e.g. private Docker registry for sensitive images, OpenVPN server to connect to the virtual private cloud).

m1.xlarge m1.large m1.medium
OS Ubuntu 16.04 Ubuntu 16.04 Ubuntu 16.04
CPU 8 vCPU 4 vCPU 2 vCPU
Memory 8 GB 8 GB 4 GB
Disk 50 GB 50 GB 50 GB
#VM 1 7 1
Usage Rancher Dev/Testing Rancher Server, Rancher Cluster (5 VM), Docker Registry OpenVPN

Rancher is deployed as a set of Docker containers. Running Rancher involves launching at least two containers. One container as the management server and another container on a node as an agent.

Figure: Container-based Rancher Setup in bwCloud.

While the server runs on a single VM, we set up a single node agent for development and testing environment as well as a five node cluster environment to run the BigGIS components in a distributed manner (see figure below). Both, the dev/testing as well as the cluster environment make use of a the network file system (NFS) in order to overcome the problem of strictly coupeling a service to a node. While this is only mandatory in the cluster environment, it makes sense to setup the dev/testing environment as an exact clone to have the same workflows within Rancher.