SIOS Technology Corp. this week launched SIOS AppKeeper, a tool that automatically reboots instances of EC2 virtual machines anytime they fail.
Michael Bilancieri, senior vice president of products and marketing for SIOS, said SIOS AppKeeper is an extension of the work SIOS has historically done to enable servers and clusters to failover. However, many organizations don’t require that level of availability, so SIOS developed AppKeeper to provide a way to automate the process of restarting virtual machines in the cloud, said Bilancieri.
SIOS AppKeeper also provides a dashboard through which DevOps teams can centrally manage the stream of alerts that are generated when there is an EC2 issue, he said. SIOS AppKeeper is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application so there is no software to be installed. Instead, organizations log into their AWS account and select which instances and services to monitor and the level of protection they want SIOS AppKeeper to provide.
Pricing for SIOS AppKeeper starts at $40 per EC2 instance. Monitoring and alert capabilities are provided by default. Restart services, reboot instances and reboot instances only if a restart of services fails are all options. Organizations can opt to access SIOS AppKeeper either via the graphical user interface provided or via an application programming interface (API), Bilanieri said.
Previously, SIOS AppKeeper was only available in Japan. Based on data from those customers, the average customer with only three AWS EC2 instances experienced downtime at least once a month. With SIOS AppKeeper, customers were able to reduce downtime by 90%, Bilancieri noted.
SIOS will consider adding support for other public clouds based on customer demand, he said.
Cloud service providers, in keeping with the “pets versus cattle” ethos, tend to view virtual machines as being disposable. However, whenever there is an issue someone on the IT team still needs to take the time to restart a virtual machine, Bilancieri said.
Despite the drive to ruthlessly automate in the management of IT in the age of DevOps, there are still many tasks being performed manually. As the number of workloads in cloud computing environments continue to increase, those tasks conspire to slow IT operations. There are, of course, many ways to automate IT processes in the cloud. SIOS is making a case for a simpler approach to managing EC2 instances that doesn’t require IT teams to set up an entire IT automation framework.
Many IT teams will opt to create their own scripts to manage EC2 instances. However, it’s all too often the case that those scripts are poorly documented and don’t scale especially well over time. In addition, each time the IT professional who wrote a script that the organization depends on leaves the organization, there is no one left to update and maintain the script and new members of the IT team wind up writing yet another script to perform the same function.
There will always be some type of script floating around the IT environment. However, in the age of DevOps, the time to start reducing the number of those scripts that need to be supported might be at hand.