My Time at the Ranch

As my time at Rancher Labs ends, I reflect on the teams I have had the opportunity to lead and the amazing things those teams have accomplished.

My Time at the Ranch
SUSE recently said we shouldn't put stickers on company-issued laptops. Oops.

I joined Rancher Labs at SUSE itching for a new challenge, interested in getting to know the Kubernetes community, and excited to apply my knowledge around Linux, Windows, and containers to the challenge of Windows Containers on Rancher.

Sadly, my time at Rancher Labs is now ending.

I have had an amazing opportunity to build and support teams at Rancher that are making significant impacts on the features and direction of Rancher.

Windows Team

The Rancher Windows team, Clippy's Revenge, comprised of:

Accomplished the following:

  • Brought Windows Container support to RKE2, including containerd and Calico.
  • Surpassed the features of Windows Containers on RKE1 with RKE2, notably with support for GMSA, a vSphere node driver, and the ability to 'hot swap' Linux and Windows nodes in a cluster.
  • Closed the gap between Windows and Linux container feature parity on Rancher.
  • Luther maintained the Flannel CNI.
  • Jamie did amazing work adding support for building Windows Containers on Linux in Crane and other open source contributions.
  • Ross, who came from Rancher Support, was indispensable in helping us support Windows Container customers.

DevOps, aka EIO Team

The Rancher EIO team, officially short for Engineering Infrastructure Operations, but rumored to be a reference to 'Old MacDonald had a farm E-I-O-E-I-O', comprised of:

Accomplished the following:

  • Transitioned from a reactive interrupt-driven helpdesk to a proactive engineering team, adopting an Agile philosophy, Scrum-style sprints, and Kanban workflow management.
  • Retired legacy infrastructure and slashed and burned through technical debt.
  • Abstracted and contributed in-house tooling upstream to the community.

Docs Team

The Rancher Docs team, Write Club, comprised of:

Accomplished the following:

  • Developed an adaptive approach for supporting a range of cloud native project engineering teams in various stages of development, from ad hoc documentation consulting to complete documentation handling.
  • Provided documentation support for the following teams: Rancher, k3s/RKE2, Rancher Desktop, Epinio, Kubewarden, Harvester, Opni, and more.
  • Launched an effort to standardize Rancher and Rancher cloud native open source projects on the Docusaurus platform with documentation aligned on the Divio documentation paradigm. Look for that launch soon.

In addition to the above, I got to lead the effort to deploy FOSSA to perform dependency CVE and open source license compliance on Rancher and various Rancher open source projects. I also played an exceedingly small part in coordinating between the Rancher on Z team and the main Rancher team.

It was my work with Write Club and recent appearances on Linux Downtime that led me to conclude my passion lied with community and developer relations work, not engineering management.

I am looking forward to my new venture, building a strategy and team for an emerging open source community. More details to follow.

I appreciate the opportunity the founders of Rancher Labs gave me, including Darren Shepherd, Will Chan, Sheng Liang, and my director, Denise Schannon.

I could not have been successful without my amazing team members and the support of my fellow managers, Caleb Bron, Sheilagh Morlan, Sergey Nasovich, and fellow former Canonical-er Chris Wayne.

I will miss you all.