Introducing Lens AppIQ -  App-Centric Intelligence for Modern Application Management   Learn More

Introducing Lens AppIQ: App-Centric Intelligence for Modern Application Management


Getting Started with Lens AppIQ

John Jainschigg - September 19, 2023

If you have a Kubernetes cluster, a few minutes will get you rolling with this exciting new platform for app-centric intelligence: including visualization, policy management, and governance

Lens AppIQ is a new cloud service from Mirantis – a natural extension of Lens Desktop – that solves problems for three important roles:

Developers can use Lens AppIQ for quick insights into the applications they’re working on: app-centric intelligence. Lens AppIQ shows you everything about your app, right in a browser, including a graphic map of application objects, components, and connectivity, one-click access to metadata, logs, lifecycle history, policy violation and security scan results, and other details. You get the insight you need to troubleshoot, innovate, and push your code.

DevOps (and other folks with similar responsibilities and skill-sets, like platform engineers and security/compliance engineers) get all the above, plus the ability to define application policies with simple web dialogs – after which Lens AppIQ will monitor apps continuously for policy violations and flag or alert when issues are discovered. This is great for standardizing security, performance parameters, and other details, and for ensuring apps remain compliant.DevOps roles can also integrate Lens AppIQ with approved container registries and source repositories – letting Lens AppIQ update defined applications from built containers, or even build them before deploying, using Cloud Native Buildpacks. One-touch deployment, from the Lens AppIQ web UI or CLI.

Admins can use Lens AppIQ to connect multiple Kubernetes clusters, invite colleagues, assign roles (e.g., Developer, DevOps, Admin), and assemble people in teams – then grant/revoke access to specific clusters at will. Lens AppIQ gives all these roles exactly what they need to be maximally effective – all without needing to give anyone cluster permissions.

Lens Applications

Of course, if you use Lens Desktop, you already have cluster permissions. And Lens Desktop helps you leverage this by providing a new Applications view that works with any connected cluster. From Lens’ Applications view, you can also fire up Lens AppIQ on that cluster – gaining enriched information in Lens Applications, as well as access to Lens AppIQ’ web tools.

Try it Free!

If you have a Kubernetes cluster, you can try Lens AppIQ in minutes, then use it free, forever! It works with any popular Kubernetes: even a single-node Lens Desktop Kubernetes or k0s cluster, running on a virtual machine or directly on your laptop. Here’s what to do:

First, Install Lens Desktop

… or update to the latest version. Lens Desktop isn’t required to use Lens AppIQ. But as we noted above, the latest version of Lens provides its own basic application-centric views into any connected cluster, as well as providing a seamless onramp to Lens AppIQ. So why not? Download and install Lens (on Linux, Mac, or Windows) here, create a Lens ID and activate Lens, and follow the simple docs to connect Lens to your test cluster. Then press the Applications tab in Lens Desktop’s left-hand main menu. You’ll see a list of application instances, and can click to expose more information about each application, including a graphic map of components, relevant metadata, logs, events, and more.

Lens’ new Applications pane shows basic application-centric information for any connected cluster.

Use Lens Desktop to Install the Lens AppIQ Agent

If you look at the top of Lens Desktop’s Applications pane with a cluster connected, you’ll see a link to install Lens AppIQ agent/control plane components in your cluster. These (very resource-sparing) components interrogate and monitor cluster activity and metrics, and provide this information to Lens AppIQ, from where you can view them in Lens Desktop, or via a web browser.

To install the agent, click the link, which will open a new dialog box, then push the button to install the Lens AppIQ agent in your cluster – there’s no need to do anything else.

You can install the Lens AppIQ agent from within Lens into any connected cluster, making it accessible via Lens AppIQ and enriching data shown in Lens Applications.

Note: If you already have a Lens AppIQ account associated with your Lens ID, cluster details will appear on that account automatically. If you don’t, a new Lens AppIQ account will be created automatically and associated with your Lens ID.

Installation typically takes a minute or two, and Lens Desktop will keep you informed of progress. Once the components are installed and have interrogated all your applications, enriched information will be streamed to Lens Desktop’s Applications pane while Lens remains connected to the cluster. Enriched information includes policy violation flags, application-specific metrics, and other important data.

You can also click from within Lens Desktop to visit Lens AppIQ on the web, logging in automatically with single sign-on. Do this, and you will see a list of attached clusters, and can click on any cluster to view the Lens AppIQ version of application-centric views.

Lens AppIQ shows similar application-centric views on the web, further enriched by information collected by Lens AppIQ components running on the cluster.

Attaching a Cluster using the Lens AppIQ WebUI

If you’re not using Lens Desktop to access Lens AppIQ, Lens AppIQ provides a complete, stand-alone web experience. Just visit Lens AppIQ and pick one of the sign-in options – if you have a Lens ID, use that to sign in. Otherwise, clicking the Google or GitHub SSO button will create a Lens ID and a Lens AppIQ account for you, automatically (using the Free Forever tier).

To connect a cluster, click (aptly enough) “+ Connect Cluster.” As with Lens Desktop Applications, you’ll be asked to give the address:port of your cluster’s API, and provide an optional short name. Click “Generate Command” and you’ll see a cut-and-paste-able kubectl apply command that will install the Lens AppIQ components, and tell Lens AppIQ your Lens ID account’s UUID, so it can associate cluster information correctly with your account.

Connecting a Cluster from the Lens AppIQ webUI requires providing the address/port of the Kubernetes API, an optional name, and then running a provided kubectl apply command on your cluster, using the kubectl CLI.

You can apply the command from any terminal running kubectl and connected to the cluster.  – the Lens Desktop terminal application manages the connection for you (i.e., just connect to the cluster with Lens and the terminal – and kubectl – will work) – just open Lens Terminal (with Lens connected to your cluster), copy and paste the command, and press Enter.

As above, it may take a minute or two for the components to install and interrogate your applications. Once the cluster has been added, it will appear in your Lens AppIQ account’s cluster list, and you can click to view application-centric information.

If you’ve followed along at this point, and if you’re also using Lens Applications, you may be able to see a few differences in how Lens Applications and Lens AppIQ group “application” components. In Kubernetes, of course, the notion of an “application” is entirely abstract (i.e., there’s no ‘application object’ in the Kubernetes spec). Lens Applications – following Kubernetes project recommendations – groups application instance components using labels. Lens AppIQ defines “an application” as “things running within a given namespace.” It’s a simpler, more opinionated choice that reflects how many teams organize application instances on a cluster.

This means the application views you see in Lens Applications and Lens AppIQ may differ in some minor ways. For example, suppose your cluster is running an instance of a simple WordPress app – with a webserver component in one namespace, and a database component in another, but with labels identifying each component as belonging to the same WordPress application instance. Lens Applications (because it sees the labels) will show this to you as one application with two components, whereas Lens AppIQ (because it looks at namespaces) will display it as two applications (the webserver and the database).

Happily, Lens Applications also knows what Lens AppIQ is doing. So if you use Lens Applications to view enriched application information provided by Lens AppIQ, that information will be correctly associated with relevant instance components – i.e., you’ll open up your (singular) WordPress application instance in Lens Applications, see that it has two components (webserver and database) and if, for example, there are policy violations flagged on either of these components, they’ll display correctly.

Invite Others – Explore Policies, Deployment, and More

Using Lens AppIQ, you can invite colleagues, assign them roles (Developer or DevOps), and start exploring Lens AppIQ’s powerful features for policy definition and monitoring, and for simplified deployment. The place to go next is the Lens AppIQ documentation.

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