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Loft v2 Makes Setting Up Self-Service Kubernetes Clusters Easier Than Ever

Loft Labs, which enables platform teams in enterprises to provide software engineers with self-service access to Kubernetes, announced the launch of Loft version 2 with a focus on ease of use that overcomes the major complaint that Kubernetes is complex and hard to set up. With Loft version 2, platform teams can preconfigure Kubernetes clusters so that everything is set up for users when they provision clusters.

Using Loft's templates, administrators can define Kubernetes resources such as manifests and Helm charts, plus any kind of data and configurations, which should be deployed into virtual clusters when users create them via Loft CLI, via Loft UI or via the Kubernetes API. This is a huge timesaver for software engineers because it enables them to start working immediately without having to go through a setup process.

"Virtual cluster templates is a huge step forward because handing over empty clusters is not very useful by itself but now virtual clusters can be provisioned that already have the necessary development tools and data available without the need to manually install anything," said Fabian Kramm, chief technical officer at Loft Labs.

Loft comes with a starter set of sample templates. Those can be copied or easily modified to fit specific needs. Other new features in Loft version 2 include the following.

  • Parameterizable Apps: Inside the virtual cluster templates, it is possible to set defaults as well as parameters for specific needs. So, for example, the database version inside a cluster template could be a parameter and users could choose which version of a database to instantiate when spinning up a virtual cluster.
  • Simplified Cluster Access Management: Administrators can now set up cluster access for groups in their Active Directory rather than having to configure those for each individual user. Cluster access can be defined by individual users, or teams of users, or for each member of a team. This simplifies sharing clusters and improves security management, especially when dealing with large numbers.
  • Activity Explorer (Audit Log): Loft v1 already had an audit logging feature but version 2 ships a UI view that allows cluster admins to see a stream of all activities (including all kubectl commands) that a user or a group of users performs inside a cluster or a virtual cluster.

"It's not far-fetched to think of extending the use of Loft v2 beyond technical use cases: A company could create a template for their software product and sales engineers could use this template to create fully fledged demos or provision trial instances of their software by clicking a single button in the Loft UI," said Lukas Gentele, co-founder and CEO, Loft Labs. "Other use cases may include spinning up test labs for educational purposes or spinning up ephemeral environments for UX tests with end users of a software product."

Loft Labs is the creator of several popular open-source projects in cloud-native technology with over 120,000 downloads of the vcluster image on Docker Hub in the past six months. Over 4,000 engineers have starred the company's projects on GitHub and its open-source project DevSpace has been downloaded over 400,000 times. The company is a member of the Linux Foundation as well as of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). 

Loft version 2 can be installed using kubectl, Helm, Loft CLI (command line interface) or with any declarative provisioning tool such as Terraform, ArgoCD or Flux. The company also shipped a new interactive tour of Loft v2 on their website.

Published Wednesday, November 17, 2021 11:29 AM by David Marshall
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