Mirantis Kubernetes IDE Lens now comes with a ready-made cluster

Lens's latest tech preview makes life easier for container programmers.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Kubernetes, the container orchestration program of choice, is many things. One thing it's not, however, is "easy." It's infamous for being complex and a real pain-in-the-rump to work with. 

Mirantis's popular open-source Lens integrated development environment (IDE) program makes programming with Kubernetes easier. And in its latest Lens tech preview, Mirantis makes it even simpler with access to your own managed Kubernetes development cluster.

You can do this directly from the Lens Desktop application (available for Linux, macOS, and Windows users) via the integrated Lens Spaces cloud-based service. This means you can directly access a development cluster optimized for your software development needs. Since the vast majority of Kubernetes work is done on clusters, this should prove a great help. 

Lens was already popular even before this cloud feature was bundled in. It has been downloaded 5 million times and has 17,000 GitHub stars. But this moves Lens from simply being an IDE, albeit a very helpful one, to being a complete Kubernetes development platform. 

Why does Lens have so many fans? John Jainschigg, senior technical marketing at Mirantis, recently observed, "Using Kubernetes means interacting with clusters using command-line interfaces (CLI) that consume and retrieve files -- many, many files, in many contexts... Doing all this straight from the command line is difficult, error-prone, and slow."  

"The current version of Lens vastly improves quality of life for developers and operators managing multiple clusters," he explained.

Miska Kaipiainen, Mirantis's VP of engineering, said, "With over 500,000 Lens users, the developer clusters feature is now fully implemented with Lens 5.4." It is, however, still a work in progress.  

Kaipiainen concluded, "It's possible some corner cases may need ironing and some scaling issues may present themselves, hence the label 'tech preview.'"

Specifically, Lens 5.4 comes with the following new features: 

  • Offload Local Cluster: Instead of working on a resource-constrained local machine, transition Kubernetes development work to the cloud and access from Lens Spaces. 
  • Save Resources: Ensure your operating system resources are highly available and accessible for more important projects.
  • Intelligent Auto-Shutdown: Managed development clusters will detect inactivity and auto-shutdown to avoid extra costs, reducing large public cloud provider bills.
  • Standardized Setup: Teams can be onboarded quickly; plus, applications are created in a standardized Kubernetes development environment ensuring transferability to a production environment.

Lens remains completely open-source software under the MIT license. You can use the Personal plan for Lens Spaces for free. 

If you want more features such as Users, Teams, and Roles Management and access to the Team Cloud-Native Catalog, you can subscribe at $9 per user for a monthly subscription to the Teams Len Space plan. Add-on managed dev clusters can be purchased per hour, day or month.

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