New and noteworthy for Microclimate 18.12 and 19.01

Read on to learn about the latest and greatest in Microclimate!

Introducing Microclimate Developer Tools for Visual Studio Code and a new release of Microclimate Developer Tools for Eclipse

Microclimate Developer Tools for Visual Studio Code, our VS Code extension for developing Java, Node.js, Spring, and Docker applications on Microclimate, is officially released! We’ve also released a new version of Microclimate Developer Tools for Eclipse. Best of all, the code for both is open source! Check out our GitHub Microclimate dev2ops organization for details. Pull requests welcome!

For more information about these tools, including links to videos and documentation, see the Microclimate Developer Tools overview.

Microclimate in Visual Studio Code Marketplace

Support for IBM Cloud Private running on Power

The Power CPU architecture has a long history at IBM, dating back to the early 1990s. It’s a modern, general-purpose architecture similar to the Intel or AMD 64-bit chips in your laptop or desktop but with a different instruction set and a slightly different set of specializations and trade-offs. With the Summit and Sierra supercomputers, Power-based systems currently occupy the top first and second spots on the global top 500 supercomputers list and also the tenth spot with the BlueGene/Q machine. BlueGene/Q has been in the top ten for the last seven years straight!

While we aren’t specifically shipping Microclimate on Power to run on top 500 supercomputers (but, hey, they’re more than welcome to!), our work is focused on businesses running IBM Cloud Private for Power for the enterprise-specific features that they get from the Power platform: high reliability, support for scale up and scale out workloads, OLTP transaction processing workloads, support for enterprise workloads like SAP, cognitive workloads like analytics and ML, HPC, and more.

So if you’ve got a fancy Power on Linux cluster that you’d like to develop and deploy applications to, Microclimate can now help you do just that.

A couple of points to keep in mind regarding Power support as of January 2019:

  1. The only way to run Microclimate on Power is through IBM Cloud Private.
  2. Microclimate does not currently support Swift workloads, as Swift has not been ported to Power as of this writing. However, all the other languages and runtimes that are available on Microclimate on x86 are also available on Power.

Improved installation process on IBM Cloud Private

We’re reducing the number of steps required to install Microclimate on Kubernetes, but many of the steps are necessary. Kubernetes and Helm and Tiller have well-defined requirements on the Kubernetes resources that need to be created for an application like Microclimate to function.

We want to actively handle the creation of these resources for you as much as possible. In cases where these resources can’t actively be created during installation, the missing artifacts are detected and flagged as missing in the UI. If you deploy Microclimate on IBM Cloud Private, but persistent storage isn’t configured properly, Microclimate detects this missing prerequisite and flags it when you first attempt to access the Microclimate browser UI. This UI provides feedback on what’s missing and what needs to be done to fix it. Currently, our detection algorithm detects only missing Persistent Volume Claims.

Screenshot showing that persistent storage is not configured

Improved Git integration

Now you can take a local project and push it directly to a new Git repository, which is created for you. When you click the Create GitHub repository button and fill in the details on where to create your new repository, Microclimate automatically creates that repository and associates it with your local workspace.

Screenshot showing that clicking the Create GitHub repository button will open a dialog that lets you create a new Git repository

Helm chart changes between 18.11 and 19.01

If you have existing Microclimate on IBM Cloud Private installation scripts or procedures, this release brings no breaking changes. We’ve only made a few minor tweaks and documentation clarifications:

  • Support for Git repositories that are hosted with a self-signed certificate. In earlier versions of Microclimate, if you attempted to connect to a self-hosted Git repository, such as GitLab, Gogs, or Gitea, which was secured with a self-signed certificate, Microclimate couldn’t connect. We’ve now updated our docs to make clear how to disable this check for non-production use. Use the --set global.gitOption="--global http.sslVerify false” or the global.gitOption chart param.
  • cluster_ca_domain: Previously, the documentation assumed your cluster domain was mycluster.icp. While this might be true for default installations, many folks in production would be using a user-defined value for this field, and our documentation has been updated to reflect this situation.

PodSecurityPolicies and Microclimate

We’ve also updated the documentation on the security context that Microclimate requires when running on IBM Cloud Private. Kubernetes has the concept and resource type of a PodSecurityPolicy, which allows Kubernetes users to define security constraints on their applications. These various restrictions and capabilities are tied together into a number of defined PodSecurityPolicies. Specifically, Microclimate requires a PodSecurityPolicy to be bound to the target namespace prior to installation. Fortunately, Microclimate automatically uses the role binding for the ibm-anyuid-hostpath-psp policy as part of the chart without requiring user intervention. Information on what this policy entails and how it is defined is now included in the Microclimate Helm chart docs.

Everything else

  • We added a Cancel load button to terminate a load test. You can now terminate an active load testing session before it reaches its conclusion. Click the Cancel load button to get back to development rather than waiting for the load test to run its course.

Screenshot showing the Cancel load button

  • For clarity, the mcdev update command is renamed to mcdev refresh, which better reflects its actual purpose. For more information, see Entering Microclimate CLI commands and Updating Microclimate.

  • Last but not least, we removed one of the sample Node.js templates from the UI because it was understandably causing confusion with our existing Node.js project type.

Check out Microclimate for yourself

The latest release of Microclimate, Microclimate 19.01, is available for download from our website. If you want to jump in to the Microclimate experience, this is the best place to start. We also offer a Kubernetes-based version of Microclimate for IBM Cloud Private. If you use IBM Cloud Private, Microclimate is available from the IBM Helm Catalog as ibm-microclimate V1.10.0, which corresponds to the external Version 19.01.