Kubernetes, the container orchestration program of choice for most companies is many things, but one thing it's not is "easy." It's famous for being complex and a real pain-in-the-rump to work with, which is one reason why Mirantis, a Kubernetes, has acquired the popular open-source Lens Kubernetes integrated development environment (IDE) project. This comes after Mirantis acquired the Kotena team behind it in February.
Even before this, Lens was arguably the most widely used of all Kubernetes IDEs. Although it only launched in March 2020, Lens already has a community of 35,000 users and 7,000 GitHub stargazers
Available on Github under the MIT License, some of the largest companies in the world are already using Lens. These include Adobe, Apple, and Zendesk.
Why? Mirantis states it's because: "Lens eliminates the Kubernetes complexity that has hindered mainstream developer adoption since its inception. The tool unlocks situational awareness and enables users to easily manage, develop, debug, monitor, and troubleshoot their workloads across multiple clusters in real-time."
It also helps that Lens is vendor and distribution agnostic. It supports any certified Kubernetes distribution on any infrastructure. The Lens program itself is a standalone desktop application. It runs on macOS, Linux, and Windows. Users may download, install, and develop with it for free.
Isn't open-source software wonderful?
Its features include:
- Immediate Situational Awareness in Context: Lens provides easy situational awareness in real-time for Kubernetes applications and clusters. With its context-aware terminal, built-in Prometheus stats, and comprehensive logging, Lens provides users with easy and fast navigation through all layers in the stack, view performance data, and troubleshoot issues.
- Context-Aware Terminal: The built-in terminal includes a version of kubectl that is always API-compatible with your cluster and in the right context by automatically downloading and assigning the correct version in the background. As the user switches from one cluster to another, the terminal maintains the correct kubectl version and context.
- Multi-Cluster Management on Any Cloud: Access and work with any number of Kubernetes clusters on any cloud, from a single unified IDE. The clusters may be local (e.g. minikube, Docker Desktop) or external (e.g. Docker Enterprise, EKS, AKS, GKE, Rancher, or OpenShift). Clusters may be added simply by importing their kubeconfig.
- Multiple Workspaces: Workspaces are used to organize any number of clusters into logical groups. These are useful for DevOps and Site Reliability Engineers who must manage multiple (even hundreds of) clusters. A single workspace contains a list of clusters and their full configuration.
- Built-In Prometheus Stats: See real-time graphs and resource utilization charts integrated into the dashboard, always in the right context. Lens comes with a built-in and multi-tenant Prometheus setup that respects role-based access control (RBAC) for each user. Users will see visualizations for all the namespaces and resources to which they have access.
Developers love it. Matti Paksula, Supervisor.com's CTO said: "Lens has enabled our developers to be more productive by accelerating and simplifying the Kubernetes development workflow. The best feature in my opinion is that when I do kubectl get pod in the terminal, the dashboard you are looking at is always in the right context. Additionally, I don't need to worry about working with stale information because everything is real-time."
"Just like Visual Studio was a breakthrough for software developers, Lens is a game-changer for Kubernetes developers and operators. It makes writing, testing, and running Kubernetes apps easy and simple on any public or private cloud," said Adrian Ionel, Mirantis's CEO, in a statement. "Lens fills a major gap in moving people from being interested in Kubernetes to being productive with Kubernetes."
Moving forward, Mirantis will invest significantly in Lens' future development. At the same time, the company is committing to continue working collaboratively with the Lens community. You can talk about Lens with other users on its Slack channel.