Mirantis Adds Extensions API to Lens IDE for Kubernetes

Mirantis today announced that it has added an Extensions application programming interface (API) to the open source Lens Kubernetes integrated development environment (IDE) it acquired earlier this year.

Miska Kaipiainen, a co-founder of the Lens project and senior director of engineering for Mirantis, says the goal is to make it easier for providers of platforms for building applications that will be deployed in Kubernetes environments to incorporate an IDE.

The Extensions API and first batch of Extensions, which have already been shared with some Mirantis partners, are expected to be generally available about the time of the KubeCon Virtual North America 2020 next week, Kaipiainen says.

Mirantis partners supporting the Extensions API include Aqua Security, Carbonetes, Ambassador Labs and Carbon Relay. Other partners currently building extensions using Extensions API include nCipher, Venafi, Tigera, Kong and StackRox.

Lens is designed to install anywhere and coordinates access to code editors, version control, the Docker command-line interface (CLI) and other desktop and remote tools. The goal is to provide a more intuitive interface that hides the more cumbersome kubectl interface, which many developers rely on today to build and deploy Kubernetes applications.

By importing kubeconfig details, Lens also provides agentless read and write management for any number of Kubernetes clusters. It is integrated with both the open source Prometheus monitoring platform and the Helm Chart Service to make it easier to install and update applications.

Since acquiring the Lens IDE project shortly after gaining control over the Docker Enterprise platform, Mirantis has been making a case for employing the Lens IDE as an alternative mainly to tools provided by Docker Inc. Mirantis claims the Lens IDE has now been downloaded more than a million times.

While there are millions of users of Docker Desktop tools for building container applications, Mirantis is betting an IDE optimized for Kubernetes will gain broader appeal as developers assume more responsibility for managing Kubernetes infrastructure. The challenge is that most developers easily get lost in a maze of potential settings for Kubernetes clusters, Kaipiainen says.

As developers assume more control over IT infrastructure, it doesn’t necessarily follow that traditional IT administrators will disappear overnight. There are millions of applications running on legacy platforms that still require a graphical user interface (GUI) to manage. However, as the rate at which microservices-based applications are deployed on modern IT infrastructure continues to increase, various job roles are starting to converge. The Extension API for Lens helps accelerate a transition that has already begun.

Developers, of course, will decide what tools to use to employ to build and deploy microservices-based applications. However, as Kubernetes instances are deployed more pervasively across an extended enterprise, the need to eliminate any friction in deploying microservices-based applications is only going to heighten.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

Mike Vizard has 1630 posts and counting. See all posts by Mike Vizard