mirrord for Teams – a Step Into the Remocal Future

Posted June 17, 2024 by The MetalBear Team - 5 Min Read

      Today we’re excited to announce that after two years of development on mirrord Open Source, our tool that enables Remocal development for Backend engineers, we’re releasing mirrord for Teams to bring that awesome power to entire Engineering organizations. If you’re new to the term, Remocal development combines the best of both worlds of the dominant modern cloud software engineering paradigms – Remote development, where you maintain no local environment and everything is cloud dependent, and Local development, where you develop software on your computer, sync code to staging and production, and test. Remocal development allows developers to work locally while their process thinks it is running remotely on Staging – and it’s done via a bit of magic we call mirrord. If a tool for shortened software development lifecycles and better collaboration for backend developers, packaged as an enterprise-ready platform with security and governance features included could help you, read on – we think you’ll be very interested in mirrord for Teams. But first, a bit about how we got there.

      Before the world of microservices and Kubernetes, software development was slower and clunkier, but it was also, in many ways, simpler. People didn’t just go ahead and make things more complicated for the sake of it, so why did things change? Because the challenges of global web scale applications, the likes of which had never been seen before the heyday of distributed computing, simply made developing entire applications using the old methodology too cumbersome and at times completely nonviable. The advent of microservice development, which changes the organizational dynamic and its relationship to software development, also created its own set of challenges and complexities. Service interdependence, fragile local development maintenance, high-contention for access to Staging environments, more moving parts for everyone involved – these are just a few of the pain points of modern development. That’s where the Remocal insight came to us – as we were experiencing the pains of the high complexity costs of microservice development with Kubernetes. We asked ourselves, what if we could just work on our local setup, and through some clever manipulation, have our process think it was running on staging? After some experimentation that leveraged our cybersecurity and low level expertise, we figured out how to override a local process’ syscalls without disrupting the process’ operation in order to proxy them to the cloud – and it worked. mirrord was born.

      The biggest impact that access to a tool like mirrord has on microservice development was immediately apparent – we no longer had to to ‘git push’ to test our code on Staging. This meant that our software development lifecycle was suddenly quicker, feedback was more immediate, and finally, for real, confidence on our laptop meant confidence in staging. We also realized that while we had considered using various plugins and contortions to get remote development working, or tried our hardest to make our local tools ‘feel’ like they were operating remotely, nothing yet had matched the Remocal feeling. The best part of this was that we could stay local, use our preferred IDE, and know that our process was acting just as it would in staging. Once we felt solid about how this all worked, and started to get some more feedback from the community, we also realized that a service that had been configured to work with mirrord was super simple to hack on for the next person – all they had to do was clone the repo and get to work. The small mirrord community started to grow, giving us confidence in our solution as it started to spread to different organizations.

      Soon, we started to get feedback from developers that wanted to spread the word about mirrord Open Source, and realized that there were some limitations that prevented it from being adopted organizationally, including limits on concurrency and security concerns regarding high cluster permissions privilege requirements. As we started to tackle these issues, we realized that we had a roadmap that could take us from a successful Open Source project to a commercially viable product that could change the way organizations develop software by making mirrord Open Source collaborative, secure, and governable enough for any team to adopt. That brings us up to today, and the release of mirrord for Teams.

      The core of mirrord for Teams is a new component that we call The Operator. We’ll release some more technical information about how it works in the future, but essentially, it’s a Kubernetes operator that runs persistently in the cluster and manages the mirrord instances trying to access it. This adds the following capabilities on top of mirrord Open Source:

  • Collaboration features like support for same-target concurrency (target is our name for the remote Pod or Deployment whose context you want to proxy to your local process), conflict resolution, and support for Deployments with multiple replicas
  • Security capabilities like policies, RBAC, and support for airgapped clusters
  • Governance features like usage monitoring, logging and auditing, and centralized session management
  • And COMING SOON! Advanced Functionality like queue filtering (only read specific messages from the remote queue - everything else is read by the remote service), support for Jobs and StatefulSets, and an automation layer called mirrord Actions.

All of which are massive improvements for teams of microservice developers deploying to Kubernetes and looking for a better developer experience where more features can be shipped in less time. Improving the experience for those developers has been a driving force for our company since we started, and we’re very excited to continue down this road, because we truly believe The Future is Remocal.

      We’d like to thank everyone in the mirrord community for supporting us and helping us get to this amazing place. We’ll be publishing more details about the technical aspects of how this product came together, and steadily rolling out new features to help teams collaborate on their shared microservice architectures in ever more efficient, secure, and usable ways. Until then, CLICK HERE to learn more about mirrord for Teams and how you can get started right away.

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