Use Rancher to create a Kubernetes cluster in Amazon EC2.

  1. From the Clusters page, click Add Cluster.
  2. Choose Amazon EC2.
  3. Enter a Cluster Name.
  4. Use Member Roles to configure user authorization for the cluster.

    • Click Add Member to add users that can access the cluster.
    • Use the Role drop-down to set permissions for each user.

  5. Use Cluster Options to choose the version of Kubernetes, what network provider will be used and if you want to enable project network isolation. To see more cluster options, click on Show advanced options.

  6. Add one or more node pools to your cluster.

    A node pool is a collection of nodes based on a node template. A node Template defines the configuration of a node, like what Operating System to use, number of CPUs and amount of memory. Each node pool must have one or more nodes roles assigned.


    • Each node role (i.e. etcd, Control Plane, and Worker) should be assigned to a distinct node pool. Although it is possible to assign multiple node roles to a node pool, this should not be done for production clusters.
    • The recommended setup is to have a node pool with the etcd node role and a count of three, a node pool with the Control Plane node role and a count of at least two, and a node pool with the Worker node role and a count of at least two. Regarding the etcd node role, refer to the etcd Admin Guide.
    1. Click Add Node Template. Complete each of the following forms using information available from the EC2 Management Console.
      • Account Access holds the region and API Key used to create the cluster. Amazon Documentation: Creating Access Keys
      • Zone and Network configures the availability zone and network settings for your cluster.
      • Security Groups configures the security groups applied to your cluster.
      • Instance provisions your VM instances.
    2. Complete the Rancher Template form to configure the Docker daemon on the instances that will be created.

      • Labels can be configured on the Docker daemon.

        Docker object label documentation

      • Engine Options customize the configuration of the Docker daemon. Important configuration options might include:

        • Docker Engine Install URL: Determines what Docker version will be installed on the instance.

          When using RancherOS, please check what Docker versions are available using sudo ros engine list on the RancherOS version you want to use, as the default Docker version configured might not be available. If you experience issues installing Docker on other operating systems, please try to install Docker manually using the configured Docker Engine Install URL to troubleshoot.
        • Registry mirrors: Docker Registry mirror to be used by the Docker daemon

        Docker daemon option reference

    3. Click Create.
    4. Optional: Add additional node pools.
  7. Review your cluster settings to confirm they’re correct. Then click Create.


  • Your cluster is created and assigned a state of Provisioning. Rancher is standing up your cluster.
  • You can access your cluster after its state is updated to Active.
  • Active clusters are assigned two Projects, Default (containing the namespace default) and System (containing the namespaces cattle-system,ingress-nginx,kube-public and kube-system, if present).