“We avoided potential outages when AWS Chatbot alerted us of elevated error rates on a load balancer”
Amazon has launched an AWS Chatbot that acts an interactive agent for IT teams seeking to monitor resources across the sprawling AWS ecosystem.
A key feature of the beta release chatbot is that it can be integrated into Slack or Amazon Chime chat rooms, into which it will send security or resource alerts.
Importantly, the bot allows developers to execute commands from the chatroom. AWS said the chatbot will alert users to “operational incidents and other events from supported sources, such as operational alarms, security alerts, or budget deviations.”
AWS is pushing hard to improve UX: last month the company announced that users will no longer face the unpleasant surprise of being told they have hit their service limits at an inopportune moment, releasing a new tool for users to view and manage the resource quotas, which are intended to protect users from unintentional spend.
The move comes as its sprawling service begin to overwhelm even dedicated experts, with AWS consultants saying they spend considerable time in AWS-specific community Slack groups and reading AWS-specific newsletters to stay abreast. (EC2, for example, alone has 352 APIs). Automated services like this are likely to be welcomed as a result.
I used the AWS SDK commit logs to count the number of AWS APIs per month. The number of APIs has roughly doubled every 2 years for the past 4 years! pic.twitter.com/oq0EEXeUQw
— Scott Piper (@0xdabbad00) July 23, 2019
The beta release currently only provides notifications for the following AWS services: CloudWatch, AWS Health, AWS Budgets, AWS Security Hub, GuardDuty and AWS CloudFormation.
Ilya Bezdelev product manager of AWS’ Chatbot noted: “DevOps teams widely use chat rooms as communications hubs where team members interact—both with one another and with the systems that they operate.”
“Bots help facilitate these interactions, delivering important notifications and relaying commands from users back to systems. Many teams even prefer that operational events and notifications come through chat rooms where the entire team can see the notifications and discuss next steps.”
There is no additional charge to use the Chatbot. It can be used in any public AWS region. The AWS chatbot uses Amazon’s Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) to deliver the alerts. Amazon SNS is a web service that coordinates and manages all the delivery of messages to AWS clients and subscribing endpoints.
As the Chatbot uses SNS it is clearly meant for use solely within the AWS ecosystem and acts as an extra security notification feature in AWS. As the company notes: “If your team uses a team chat application supported by AWS Chatbot, you can configure AWS Chatbot to publish notifications to a team chat room or a dedicated chat room for AWS notifications where your entire team can see and quickly act on them.”
Christopher Ekeren, DevOps engineer at Revcontent commented in an AWS release: “Our engineering teams have leveraged AWS Chatbot to enhance our system monitoring capabilities through integration with Amazon SNS and Amazon CloudWatch alarms.”
“We avoided potential outages when AWS Chatbot alerted us of elevated error rates on a load balancer. We identified and resolved Amazon Redshift load aborts within minutes when AWS Chatbot notified our engineering teams of reduced network throughput on our cluster.”