K8s on macOS with K3s, K3d and Rancher

12 minute read Published

How to install and run Rancher for Kubernetes on macOS using K3s and K3d.

In this post we’re going to take a quick look at how to run Rancher in a Kubernetes cluster locally on macOS for development and testing purposes. There are several different ways to run Kubernetes for local development. In this guide I’m going to focus on just one way: K3D.

K3D is a lightweight wrapper to run Rancher Labs' K3s in Docker. K3s is a certified Kubernetes distribution for edge and IoT applications with a small resource footprint and ARMv7 support. Like KiND, K3D uses a container runtime as opposed to a virtual machine — saving precious resources. Unlike KiND, K3D supports the ARM architecture and requires about 16x less RAM.

When you’re finished you’ll have a functional K3s Kubernetes cluster running on your Mac with Rancher UI for cluster management. This guide assumes you’ve never run Kubernetes before and, therefore, also serves as a practical starting point, though I won’t be going into detail about the nuts and bolts of Kubernetes.