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Let’s be honest we’re not all command line warriors when it comes to Kubernetes. I can get around Kubectl but the time it takes to key in a CLI command you can get the same information in a couple of clicks of the UI. For me, Kubectl is for automating my tasks, for example pushing a local build into a image repository, initiating a refresh deployment and ensuring old container instances are flushed out.

Lens view
K8s Dashboard

The only problem is that the K8s dashboard requires a lot of config work to secure its deployment, and do you want to be deploying such tools in a production environment? A colleague suggested I look at Lens. A tool that offers both Personal (free) and Team licensed versions and both versions deploy to Windows, Linux, and Mac natively so installation doesn’t require any messing around.

I have to say I have been very impressed with Lens. Everything useful about the K8s dashboard is here, but without needing to deploy anything to your cluster as lens runs as a local thick app. Just like the K8s dashboard you need the privileges to talk to the K8s APIs. But the Visualization is all local and the way the data is retrieved means the UI is very reactive.

Read more: K8s dashboard capability without needing to deploy K8s dashboard

Lens supports extensions, although to date I’ve not tried any of the extensions personally – you can see a list of extensions here. I will be trying out a couple Of extensions in due course. For example:

Network Policy Viewer
Certificate Info (via K8s secrets)

Lens goes further by the fact you can connect to multiple clusters from a single viewer instance. So no need for multiple deployments of the dashboard or creating an additional management cluster.

I only have one minor grumble today with the implementation. When using a console facility to access a container it is not possible to paste into the console any text/script or copy out any of the log contents. The latter can make generating things like JIRA tickets a bit annoying. So far I’ve worked around it by creating screenshots.

Useful Resources