Kubernetes has been the talk of the town for a while now. And why wouldn’t it be? The past two years have seen a rapid migration of workloads to containerized environments at exponential scales. Against this backdrop, the significance of container orchestration tools like Kubernetes has grown rapidly. But there is a catch! Although Kubernetes simplifies the process of container orchestration, its infrastructure and objects are fairly complicated and cumbersome. Essentially, this is where an IDE can step in and prove to be a life saver for developers. Continue reading to find out how!
A brief introduction to Kubernetes
Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration tool designed to run distributed applications and services at scale. It allows you to automate deployment, scaling, monitoring, and management. Kubernetes abstracts away the underlying complex infrastructure and simplifies development by providing a declarative configuration. It assists in load balancing, automates rollouts and rollbacks, and consists of self-healing capabilities.
Kubernetes follows the client-server architecture where the system has a master node and any number of worker nodes. The master node maintains the desired state of the cluster and when a list of apps is submitted to the master, Kubernetes deploys them to the worker nodes. A master and its controlled worker nodes make up a Kubernetes cluster. Worker nodes run the actual applications deployed by a developer.
What is namespace and context in Kubernetes?
Namespace in Kubernetes presents a system to isolate groups of resources within a single cluster. It is a logical partition inside a particular cluster that helps manage and divide cluster resources among multiple users. Although the names of resources need to be unique within a namespace, they can vary across namespaces. Every Kubernetes resource can only be in one namespace and there is no need to use various namespaces to distinguish slightly different resources.
A Kubernetes context is used to group access parameters under an easily recognizable name in a kubeconfig file – a file used to configure access to clusters. It is the connection to a particular cluster used by kubectl. This concept only applies in the place where the kubectl command is run.
A Kubernetes context consists of a cluster, a namespace, and a user and is the configuration used to access a specific cluster and namespace with a user account. When a context is set to a particular cluster and namespace, it eliminates the need to mention parameters in every command.
Why is a Kubernetes IDE necessary?
A Kubernetes IDE (Integrated Development Environment) helps develop Kubernetes applications, create Kubernetes environments, and create and manage Kubernetes resources remotely. This simplifies the complex process of building, deploying, and managing a Kubernetes infrastructure. Kubernetes IDE speeds up the process of writing, debugging, and deploying container-based applications.
IDE and context
Kubernetes entails interacting with clusters via CLIs that consume and retrieve numerous files in multiple contexts detailing the cluster and resource condition. And managing multiple Kubernetes clusters spread across different platforms means dealing with the added difficulties of diverse access contexts, nodes, infrastructure, components, etc. Executing all this from the command line can be difficult since context switching tends to be a time-consuming process that breaks workflow. This is where an IDE comes in. IDEs can gather all the necessary information and help us work across different contexts. Most IDEs provide an interface that allows you to monitor and view information about your cluster resources without having to run CLI commands.
How is Lens leading the game?
Lens, the source of a Mirantis-sponsored open source project, is perhaps the most widely used IDE for Kubernetes development, so much so that it is being termed as “the Kubernetes IDE”. The open-source tool was built to give operators, developers, and every member on a team the situational awareness of everything happening within a Kubernetes cluster. Lens enables multi-cluster management that helps connect any Kubernetes cluster regardless of the distribution as long as it is a certified cluster. This makes it easy to switch between clusters while maintaining the correct context and endpoint of that Kubernetes cluster.
Lens stands out from other similar solutions because it unifies the Dev and Ops aspect of a team. Operators can leverage Lens at the beginning of their workflow to ensure all of the clusters are operating successfully and understand their health. Developers, on the other hand, can leverage Lens at the end of their workflow to troubleshoot and review whether or not their application was deployed successfully.
The biggest value Lens provides is the ability to perform various actions within Kubernetes clusters without the need to run kubectl. Its graphical interface enables users to perform commands through the admin functions without writing any kubectl. Lens also equips users with admin functions – depending on their role based access control – that can be performed without writing any kubectl.
Prometheus and Lens
With Lens you can easily connect to or install a Prometheus stack directly in your cluster within seconds and collect cluster metrics. This informs the user about what is happening to a cluster, cluster health, and node information by visualizing monitoring statistics. With each cluster, Lens’ in-built terminal automatically connects and maintains the right kubectl version and the right context.
This article essentially highlights the use and importance of context in a Kubernetes cluster and how it differs from a namespace. It goes on to explain how a Kubernetes IDE is the need of the hour and can provide an easier way of working across contexts. Finally, the article touches upon the top player in the Kubernetes IDE world – Lens and the things that it’s getting right to stay at that spot. Hope this article serves as a guide to help you get started with Kubernetes IDE.
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