Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Slack Technologies have formed an alliance through which they are moving to transform the way development teams collaborate.
Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Slack will migrate voice and video calls to the Amazon Chime real-time communications service.
In addition, AWS and Slack are integrating Amazon AppFlow integration with Slack, which enables data to be transferred securely between Slack and AWS services such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Redshift. The two companies are also promising to make it possible to transfer data bi-directionally between multiple Slack channels and AWS services in a single flow.
AWS and Slack have also integrated the AWS Key Management Service with Slack Enterprise Key Management (EKM) to distribute and control cryptographic keys. That capability builds on an instance of EKM for Slack’s Workflow Builder automation tool that was released last month.
Finally, the two companies are committing to make the AWS Chatbot service accessible from directly within Slack.
Slack, which already makes extensive use of the AWS cloud, has emerged as a de facto collaboration tool within many organizations that have embraced best DevOps practices. Eron Kelly, head of product marketing for AWS, said this alliance will make it easier for development teams to employ a wide range of communications tools at scale.
Many DevOps teams already rely on Slack Calls to launch video and voice calls whenever a subject being discussed using text messages requires a deeper level of interaction. As reliance on Slack Calls increases, the software development kit (SDK) for the AWS Chime service that Slack will invoke will ensure the quality of the video and voice calls, said Kelly.
In many ways, DevOps processes revolve around a mix of asynchronous and synchronous communications. The challenge has been to find a way to enable DevOps teams to use those tools in a way that enhances rather than detracts from productivity. Managing multiple Slack communications channels can easily become overwhelming, especially if developers are working on multiple projects at the same time.
Ideally, DevOps teams will eventually become more adept at determining, for example, what messages, such as status updates, are best delivered asynchronously versus urgent requests that need to be made via a communications medium such as Slack.
In the meantime, the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly increased reliance on communications services delivered via the cloud. With most members of DevOps teams working from home, tools such as Slack have become a virtual substitute for walking over to the next cube in an office to resolve an issue. Once development teams return to the office, it will be interesting to see to what degree tools such as Slack have become the default means of communication, even with fellow employees who may be only a few feet away. In fact, such tools may play a critical role in helping organizations adhere to social distancing policies even after employees return to the office.
As philosopher Marshall McLuhan once observed, the medium is the message. Today, however, those messages increasingly are being delivered within a stream of real-time communications that is becoming more challenging to manage.