Loft partners with Docker to help users manage virtual Kubernetes clusters

Loft Labs partners with Docker so Docker Desktop users can now set up and manage virtual Kubernetes clusters.

Recently, Docker announced the launch of an extensions API (application programming interface) called Docker Extensions that allows partners to extend the capabilities of Docker Desktop with additional capabilities for developers. With this announcement, Loft is introducing an open source vcluster extension that makes it easier to create and manage virtual clusters in Docker Desktop.

“It brings together two extremely popular technologies and integrates vcluster functions for Docker Desktop users who increasingly work in Kubernetes,” said Lukas Gentele, co-founder and CEO of Loft Labs. “With their familiar Docker Desktop, users can set up as many different virtual Kubernetes clusters as needed for development, testing, and production.”

Now Docker Desktop developers can take advantage of the open source vcluster running in Docker Desktop. With vcluster, users can create virtual clusters that are easy to suspend and resume. This is ideal for developers who need to set up different development and test setups, which is easy to do and can all be run as virtual clusters in Kubernetes, much like virtual machines on a server.

Docker Desktop runs on Linux, macOS, and Windows machines and is used to build and share containerized applications and microservices.

“Docker is obsessed with developer usability and is committed to closing and improving the developer experience gap,” said Jake Levirne, product manager at Docker. “We welcome Loft Labs to the Docker Extension marketplace, expanding the applications and capabilities available to millions of registered Docker developers.”

First launched in April 2021, vcluster has grown in popularity with over 500,000 downloads and over 1,300 stars on GitHub. It is used to create Kubernetes clusters that run in the namespaces of the underlying Kubernetes clusters. The use of virtual clusters solves the majority of Kubernetes mutualization problems because they offer:

  • Better isolation than simple namespace-based multitenancy;
  • Reduced cloud computing costs because virtual clusters are much more lightweight and resource efficient than rotating separate single-tenant clusters;
  • Logical separation and encapsulation of application workloads from underlying cluster shared infrastructure workloads (such as shared ingress controller or network plug-ins).

At the same time, virtual cluster users can expect their virtual cluster to behave like any normal Kubernetes cluster because vcluster is a certified Kubernetes distribution, which means it passes all the tests of conformity required by CNCF. Virtual clusters are often used as development environments when engineers build, test, and debug cloud-native software, but they are also frequently used as ephemeral environments to run continuous integration/delivery (CI/CD) pipelines.

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