RKE2 Add-On beta

RKE2, also known as RKE Government, is a fully-conformant Kubernetes distribution from Rancher.

Rather than using the Kubernetes add-on, which uses kubeadm to install Kubernetes, the RKE2 add-on can be used to install the RKE2 distribution. This distribution includes Kubernetes as well as several add-ons for networking, ingress, and more.

There are several reasons to use RKE2 instead of Kubernetes (kubeadm). The main reason is that RKE2 is simpler than upstream Kubernetes, so it is easier to support. RKE2 is packaged as a single binary, reducing the dependencies and steps needed to install, run, and update Kubernetes, in comparison to kubeadm.

In contrast to K3s, which deviates from upstream Kubernetes to better support edge deployments, RKE2 maintains closer alignment with upstream Kubernetes.

Operating System Compatibility

The RKE2 add-on is currently only supported on CentOS 7.

Add-On Compatibility

The following are included by default with RKE2:

RKE2 has been tested with the following add-ons:


Because RKE2 support is currently in beta, there are several limitations:

  • Joining additional nodes is not supported.
  • Upgrading from one version of RKE2 to another is not supported.
  • Selecting a CRI or CNI provider is not supported because containerd and Canal are already included.
  • The NodePort range in RKE2 is 30000-32767, so kotsadm.uiBindPort must be set to something in this range.
  • While Rook has been tested, it is not recommended.