Rancher Labs today released a new operating system built for its k3s Kubernetes distribution to simplify administration and make k3s clusters even more secure.

Before k3OS, users of Rancher Labs’ k3s still had to manage the underlying Linux operating system separately, Sheng LIangi, CEO and co-founder of Rancher, told SD Times leading up to the announcement. “We’re combining Kubernetes and our own Linux distribution to manage Linux through Kubernetes,” Liang said. “We treat it as a whole thing. If nodes need to be rebooted, Kubernetes can orchestrate that.” This, he added, decreases the complexity of managing k3s Kubernetes clusters.

k3OS is based on the Ubuntu kernel with tools from Alpine Linux, LIang explained. By combining Kubernetes and Linux, organizations that haven’t been updating the OS because they’re focused on Kubernetes won’t have to worry. “Even rebooting the operating system can cause an outage” in places where Kubernetes and the operating system are decoupled, Liang said. “Kubernetes clusters are supposed to fail one at a time; they’re not meant to be taken down all at once.”

k3OS is particularly well-suited for what Liang called low human interaction platforms, such as edge computing, where resources are constrained. Among the key new features are 10-second boot time that makes k3s immediately available, the enablement of automatic k3s configuration during the boot sequence, and the ability to patch and upgrade the Kubernetes distribution and the Linux distribution through a common set of YAML files, the company detailed in its announcement.

Further, no package manager is required because system services are built into the k3s image; and k3OS supports x86 and ARM64 (Raspberry Pi 3), the announcement said.

The company expects to ship a production-ready product later this year, but said developers interested in trying out the new solution can follow the project at https://github.com/rancher/k3os.