Slack is an awesome tool that we love. It makes it easy for teams to communicate with each other and with their automated systems. It can also make a great tool in the management of your AWS infrastructure.
Some of you might be familiar with the term ‘ChatOps’ whereby you make common commands executable from within chat rooms. It was originally coined by GitHub to describe their growing culture of “putting tools in the middle of the conversation”.
It gives you control where you need it. Also, it enables everyone in that room to have visibility of what’s happening across their technology stack in near real-time.
In the case of AWS Automation, this helps empower developers to own and shape their own infrastructure. It also keeps the folks in the Finance department happy that the company is developing a cost conscious culture.
That’s why we felt it essential to give all paying GorillaStack customers access to their environment and configurations through Slack.
UPDATE! We got so much feedback from our customers about how awesome our Slack integration is, that we decided to build a separate standalone bot. Now, you don’t even need a GorillaStack account to monitor all your CloudTrail Events from within Slack!
The accepted standard is that you would pore through logs and identify an issue which could have bought down parts of your infrastructure or caused a security breach. Working through event logs to identify root cause is tricky and often too late after the fact of any type of incident (though incidentally if that is a method that appeals, you should think about using Athena to query your CloudTrail).
The optimal way is to get alerted to any breaches concerning CloudTrail Events in Real Time via Slack. In this way, you can remediate as issues arise immediately and not weeks later when the damage is done.
Additionally, AWS announced that you can use AWS Lambda to post CloudWatch alarms and other simple notifications to your team’s Slack channel as an incoming webhook to track IT operations.
The blueprints that AWS has created, enables the construction of chat-based tools that participate in conversations within Slack. There are a handful of blueprints available at launch, including
slack-echo- for writing bots that can respond to commands,
cloudwatch-alarm-to-slack- for writing bots that provide status reports and notifications.
We have witnessed first hand how powerful this can be. Using GorillaStack’s Slack integration, our users have put control in the hands of the developers who use the resources day to day, and not just the central DevOps team that traditionally manages the cloud configuration and is responsible for AWS cost savings.
At GorillaStack, our philosophy is to empower and enable end-user developers to be responsible for their own infrastructure.
If you’re managing multiple EC2 instances and have several developers that need to use certain instances at different times, it can be quite a hassle to manage them.
GorillaStack helps you manage multiple AWS instances without leaving them on all the time and running up the cost. With proper tags in place, we can easily target a service or an environment.
Through GorillaStack’s new Slack integration, you can automate and manage a bunch of your AWS tasks and tools that help you turn instances on / off or snoozes them. You can even run and monitor Auto Scaling groups from your Slack channel following a one-time configuration within the GorillaStack app.
If you add in GorillaStack’s alerting capabilities, you can keep your team notified and up-to-date as to the status of your critical systems through your Slack channel too. You can configure AWS billing alerts based on surpassing thresholds or just regular updates.
These simple concepts can be very powerful in practice and help make everyone more productive.
By building tools like GorillaStack into a chat room, you can automate commands by a bot,. Communication doesn’t become an afterthought to operational processes but with time, it becomes core to how you operate.
If you don’t already have a GorillaStack account, you can try it for free here.
First published on 28 Dec 2016 by Chris Ellis. Updated on 11 Feb 2021 by Oliver Berger.