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Where The World Runs Kubernetes

Miska Kaipiainen - November 30, 2021

We are proud to announce that Lens 5.3 is now available! The highlight of this release is the new Managed Dev Clusters feature that makes it possible for all Lens users to easily run their own Kubernetes development clusters. Managed Dev Clusters are made available directly from Lens Desktop through Lens Spaces — our cloud based service — supercharging the capabilities of the standalone Lens Desktop application.

In addition, Lens 5.3 features many other improvements, such as an enhanced UX for Lens Spaces users through the new Spaces Switcher, Port Forwarding 2.0 and more. Keep on reading to learn more about these features. And if you are new to Lens, don't forget you can get started today and be running in just a few minutes!

Managed Dev Clusters - Your Personal Kubernetes Environment

We are excited to announce our first add-on to Lens Spaces: Managed Dev Clusters are here! These clusters are personal and optimized for software development needs, but really they can be used for any other purpose, outside of production/enterprise-grade clusters.

managed dev cluster screenshot  

The best part is that Managed Dev Clusters are not just for software developers! Let’s imagine you are…

  • someone who is just starting to learn Kubernetes; or
  • working in the software industry and just want to try some cool new software product (that is — very often — packaged for Kubernetes); or
  • in sales, product management or with a C-level position in the cloud native or information technology market, and you just want to see what all this buzz around Kubernetes is about!

In any case, getting your hands on a real Kubernetes cluster has been notoriously difficult. Not anymore! Managed Dev Clusters provide Kubernetes for everyone. Easy, simple and no hassles. Even your grandma can finally experience the beauty of Kubernetes! 🤣

Overview of Managed Dev Clusters

  • Kubernetes for Everyone: Provides a personal Kubernetes cluster to everyone, from people just getting started to seasoned cloud native developers. Zero hassle!
  • Offload Local Clusters: Take your Kubernetes development work to the cloud. A Managed Dev Cluster works just like your local “minikube” but runs on Lens Spaces. There is no installation, just access it directly from Lens Desktop.
  • Save Resources: Save your resources for what is important. No more noisy CPU fan, burning thighs and out-of-memory troubles to frustrate and slow you down.
  • Intelligent Auto-Shutdown: If you forget to shutdown your cluster, we will do it for you. Avoid searching for unused clusters or being surprised by large cloud provider bills. Pay only for the actual use without any extra charges.
  • Standardized Setup: Onboard teams quickly, and develop your applications in a standardized Kubernetes development environment. Managed Dev Clusters work consistently for all your team members.
  • Cloud Service: Managed Dev Clusters is an add-on service for Lens Spaces. It’s affordable with simple pricing. Get started for free by creating your Lens Spaces account.
  • Based on Open Source: Based on the k0s open source project by Team Lens, a CNCF certified Kubernetes distribution. It works flawlessly with Lens Desktop.
  • Optimized for Software Development: Managed Dev Clusters are — as the name suggests — optimized for software development work and to be integrated with an internal development loop out of the box. It’s always available when you need it.

Getting started with Kubernetes is extremely complex and cumbersome. We strive to make Kubernetes easier while accelerating user productivity. Getting your personal Kubernetes environment directly from Lens Desktop ties directly into our mission: Kubernetes for everyone.

Get started with Managed Dev Clusters for free!

Our original plan was to make Managed Dev Clusters available to all Lens Spaces users, for a limited time per month at no cost. This is still very much in our plans but the implementation was more tricky than we originally anticipated. This is still our ultimate goal but for the time being we have to resort to some other options for people to try out Managed Dev Clusters for free: traditional SaaS trial model.

  1. Simply download and install the latest version of Lens (version 5.3 or newer) and go through the Lens Spaces login/signup process to associate your Lens Desktop application with Lens Spaces — our cloud based service. By doing this, you’ll permanently supercharge your Lens Desktop application with features we are able to deliver through Lens Spaces.
  2. Access your Managed Dev Cluster through Lens Desktop application. Look for a cluster named “mydevcluster” in your personal space.
  3. When prompted, add your payment details. Once you do so, you’ll get free credits to try Managed Dev Clusters. Once you run out of free credits, you can choose to keep on using the service (for money; see pricing) or cancel your subscription.

Spaces Selector — UX Improvement for Lens Spaces

As we are dogfooding Lens with everything we are doing, we have realized the user experience of Lens Spaces is not ideal for people who have to deal with multiple spaces. With the Lens 5.3 release, we have made significant changes to Lens Spaces. Now, our users can easily work and switch between spaces using the new “Spaces Selector” on the top right of the Lens Desktop application.

share cluster with Lens Spaces  

Port Forwarding 2.0

As always, making impactful enhancements to Lens remains a top priority. As many of you already know, port-forwarding into your application via Lens was always a feature, but not the greatest one in terms of usability. In addition, many users didn’t even know it was there!

Since many of us are using port-forwarding almost on a daily basis, we wanted to give this feature a proper treatment: introducing Port Forwarding 2.0! It is now easy to inspect and organize all port forwardings from your clusters through a dedicated “Port Forwarding” section that has been added under the “Networking” section in the Lens Desktop application. This feature will make it significantly easier for all Lens users to launch into their application.

Port Forwarding 2.0 screenshot  

Release Channel Selector

We want to make it easier for our users to try out new pre-release versions of Lens, provide feedback, and then go back to a stable version. Previously this has been very difficult. To make it easier, we have now included Release Channel Selector in the preferences. It’s now very easy to switch between different release channels. We hope to hear more feedback about the pre-release versions from you in the future!

Updating channel with Channel Select  

Other Changes

All in all, this has been a massive release. Perhaps something to call out is the overall improved performance. If you are interested in all the details, feel free to dig through the entire changelog. ⛏️

Upcoming Events

Team Lens will continue to interact more closely with our community through online and in-person events. If you are interested in exploring new upcoming features, interacting with Team Lens, please join us at an upcoming event.

To Our Community

On behalf of the entire Lens team, I would like to thank our wonderful community for all of their support and feedback. The support provided by our community has been priceless, and we feel incredibly fortunate! Once again, thank you for being a part of the Lens community, we can’t thank you enough.

The team and I invite you to give Lens 5.3 a try, and we would love to hear your feedback, good or bad. If you enjoy Lens, we would greatly appreciate you giving us a star on GitHub. This allows our developers and contributors to see the love and appreciation for the project!

About Lens

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 desktop application 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 350,000 users and 16.2k stars on GitHub, it’s the most popular IDE for Kubernetes.

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