Gui's for viewing your Kubernetes Environment.

Gui's for viewing your Kubernetes Environment.

As a proponent of the command line, I'll quite happily live in there all the time. When learning new things which have a multitude of command combinations a Gui is, without doubt, a useful tool to have.

As I learn Kubernetes I've been trying some tools which might be useful to anyone starting out or looking to visualize their Kubernetes cluster(s)

Octant (Linux, macOS, Windows)

Octant

Octant is a project from VMware to visualise your Kubernetes clusters in your web browser

Basic installation is straight forward and outlined on the github page

vmware-tanzu/octant
Highly extensible platform for developers to better understand the complexity of Kubernetes clusters. - vmware-tanzu/octant

Download the RPM or Deb and install it using your servers package management software.

then run

octant

The service will start, look for the kubeconfig files and then open a browser on the local machine HTTP://127.0.0.1:7777

This is great if you have a Gui on the server however at this point the server isn't remotely accessible.

There are instructions to run Octant as a Service

sudo vi /usr/lib/systemd/system/octant.service

Add this

[Unit]
Description=octant

[Service]
Environment="HOME=/home/david"
Environment="OCTANT_ACCEPTED_HOSTS=192.168.40.46"
Environment="KUBECONFIG=/home/david/.kube/config"
Environment="OCTANT_LISTENER_ADDR=0.0.0.0:8900"
Environment="OCTANT_DISABLE_OPEN_BROWSER=true"
Environment="PATH=/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin"
WorkingDirectory=/usr/local/bin/
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/octant
Type=simple
Restart=on-failure

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

The lines to note are

Environment="HOME=/home/david"
Environment="OCTANT_ACCEPTED_HOSTS=192.168.40.46"
Environment="KUBECONFIG=/home/david/.kube/config"

These need to be reflective of your IP address and folder structure.

Setup the service so it starts automatically post reboot

sudo systemctl enable octect
sudo systemctl start octect
sudo systemctl status octect

If you run a firewall open ports as needed then you should be able to open the WebGUI using

 http://192.168.40.46:8900

NOTE: There is no RBAC on this, so ANYONE can see this

Thoughts

The setup is quick and easy and having all of this in the browser outside of the Kubernetes cluster is nice. The interface on the very low power box I ran it on was still pretty zippy. I think being able to select ALL namespaces would be a useful feature.

Octant also has a plugin system to expand its usability take a look on github

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Lens (Linux, macOS, Windows)

Lens | The Kubernetes IDE
Lens IDE for Kubernetes. The only system you’ll ever need to take control of your Kubernetes clusters. It’s open source and free. Download it today!

Lens is an application rather than a web app that runs on major platforms.

Like Octant it gives a good overview of the Kubernetes cluster, however, it feels much more polished. It displays in real-time and will run on any desktop as long as kubeconfig is supplied and it's able to access a K8s master.

Notable things are the ability to start and remove resources, direct links into helm charts that can be installed by the interface and the ability to see the Traefik data as well as the default namespaces.

Thoughts

Two very different ways of doing things, at the moment I find Lens the more polished of the two however with VMware's backing and new lease of life on Microservices I don't see it being too long before Octant becomes a feature-rich alternative.

Further Reading

How To Run VMware Project Octant As A Service For Remote Access
Previously, I wrote about couple of articles regarding VMware Project Octant and, it was running locally with access to the kube config file. In this post, I’m going to show you, how I configured the

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