Kubernetes is quickly becoming the OS for cloud. It delivers common APIs and services for running software distributed on modern cloud based infrastructure. With strong support from all cloud technology mega-players, it has already been adopted by thousands of cloud based software projects. This is great! Right?
Kubernetes is great until it isn’t. If you are new to Kubernetes, it’s extremely difficult to get started. How can you even get access to Kubernetes in the first place? Additionally, unless you work on a project where Kubernetes was adopted a long time ago, you are most likely missing all the things around Kubernetes to help you be productive. There’s no standard or common way of doing things (like GitHub Flow). Each project and its developers are in constant stress trying to figure out the optimal inner development loop (we’ll discuss more about this in the future).
Since most software is moving into cloud and Kubernetes is becoming the OS for cloud, we believe it is essential for everyone to have easy access to their own personal Kubernetes environments. This will drive and accelerate innovation.
Your Personal Kubernetes Environment
We are excited to announce that it will start providing personal Kubernetes environments to all Lens users. We are calling these environments Dev Clusters because they are optimized for software development needs, but they can be used for any other purpose as well, such as learning, experimenting, demos or just running apps designed for Kubernetes!
Here is the high level overview of Dev Clusters:
- Fully managed and hosted solution
- Delivered with Lens Spaces, an online service that expands the functionality of a standalone Lens desktop application through cloud-based services
- Deeply integrated with Lens. No need to install any other piece of software. If you can run Lens, you’ll always have Dev Clusters available
- Free to use for hobby and learning purposes (there is a monthly usage limit). Paid options available for power users and those using it for work
- Will be available in the near future to all users with a Lens Spaces account. Early access available today to users who are willing to help with testing
Since we are about to start shipping thousands and thousands of Kubernetes clusters to Lens users (yes, we have over 300,000 users already) we had to do some innovations to make this possible. Here’s what we wanted to achieve:
- Real kube clusters – The most important thing for us was to make sure the Dev Cluster is a real cluster. It’s not a single namespace or some kind of virtual environment. It’s the real deal. Obviously this made the implementation more challenging.
- Not just yet another cloud hosted managed kube cluster – Dev Cluster is – as the name suggests – optimized for software development work and to be integrated with an inner development loop out of the box. It’s always available when you need it. Unlike any other cloud hosted kube solutions, it should also work for non-kube savvy users; it’s available to all Lens users without prior cloud or kube experience to get started. In addition, users will have an easy way to share access to their Dev Cluster in case they need help from their colleagues or friends online.
- Drop-in replacement for local kube clusters – Once all the bits and pieces are integrated like we want, it’ll be a complete drop-in replacement for any local Kubernetes environments such as Minikube, but while we aim to do a complete drop-in replacement, we understand there are still a number of valid reasons to use those local Kubernetes projects. Our intention is not to replace them, but make something that is awesome for 99% of people, 99% of the time.
- Optimized for cost savings – Dev Clusters will automatically go to sleep if there is no activity and wake up automatically once you start using them again. They behave like your desktop applications; go to sleep when you close the lid on your laptop and wake up again once you open it. This will bring enormous cost savings to many projects where developers forget to shut down their cloud hosted dev clusters for the night, weekend, public holidays, and so on. As a side product of this feature, we can also serve more users with less cloud based infrastructure. Win-win!
- Not for production use – Since dev clusters are optimized for cost savings, they are not ideal for production use (running workloads 24/7). We are going to create another solution for production use cases in the near future.
Getting started with Kubernetes is extremely difficult. We are striving to make it easier and accelerate productivity. Getting your personal Kubernetes environment directly from Lens is yet another step in this direction. Now anyone can get up and running with Kubernetes immediately with zero friction.
Availability & Early Access
Dev Clusters will be available in the near future to all users with a Lens Spaces account. Early access is available today to users who are willing to help with testing. We are taking this approach to ensure the quality of the service and to collect vital feedback that will help us improve the feature. Rest assured, Dev Clusters will be available to all Lens users soon. If you are interested in gaining early access, please fill in this form.
Lens provides the full situational awareness for everything that runs in Kubernetes. It’s lowering the barrier of entry for people just getting started and radically improving productivity for people with more experience. Lens is 100% open source and free of charge for any purpose.
The Lens open source project is backed by a number of Kubernetes and cloud-native ecosystem pioneers. With over 300,000 users and 15.9k stars on GitHub, it’s the most popular IDE for Kubernetes. Download Lens today!