Ylastic goes to NPR

There is a very cool new initiative from the wonderful folks at NPR called Project Argo - an effort to strengthen and foster local journalism. The Argo network consists of twelve of the largest NPR member stations around the United States bringing topical, locally focused news and analysis to an internet audience around the world. Argo is now live and running on AWS, and managed with Ylastic.

Project Argo

My formative years were spent in San Diego listening to KPBS which is one of the members in the Argo network. It is so coooool to see Ylastic being of use to them. Congratulations to Marc Lavallee and the other Argonauts !

- prabhakar

Ylastic Dashboard Redux

So, last night SQS had an issue where some of the API calls were not working. How does something like that show up in your Ylastic dashboard?

The dashboard page displays icons for each of the AWS regions - green good, red bad. If you look at the screenshot below, you see a flashing red icon in the US East region in North Virginia.

Dash3

Just click the red icon to display a visualization of your EC2/RDS instances in the US East region. At the top, there is a list of services in that region. Again, you will see SQS flashing red. Hmm, something wrong with the service? Hover over it to display the current issue with that service. 

Dash2

If you were monitoring instances, and an alert was triggered, the specific EC2/RDS instances will also be flashing red. Manage your cloud, the easy way !

Recent additions to Ylastic

A bunch of additions/enhancements to Ylastic in the past week. So what have we been up to?

  • Complete support for Tags and integration with Ylastic aliases.
  • Create/View/Edit Tags for instances, AMIs, volumes and snapshots.
  • Convert any old Ylastic aliases to a tag by clicking a button.
  • Filtering on instances, volumes, images and snapshots pages will also search tags.
  • Ylastic aliases now piggy back off a tag in the backend.
  • Programmatically set the ‘Name’ tag for a resource, and the UI will pick it up as the alias.
  • View tags for any of the resources on mobile Ylastic - iPhone, Android or Blackberry.
  • Complete support for RDS Read Replicas.
  • Cloudwatch charts for Binary Log Disk Usage and Replica Lag.
  • You can also view these new charts on mobile Ylastic.
  • New monitors for keeping an eye on the binlog disk usage and the lag between the replica and the master.
  • The dbs page displays icons differentiating a normal DB and a replica.
  • Edit the instance type attribute for any EBS instance.
  • Specify multiple block device mappings on launch.
  • Override default block device mappings on launch.
  • Connect local instance storage drives for EBS instances on launch.
  • Updated AWS usage cost charts to include t1.micro instances.

Been a busy week, and more cool stuff in the pipeline :-)

EC2 Block Device Mapping FunEC2 block devices are really useful and we use them quite a bit over here at Ylastic. We have been improving support for specifying these mappings when you launch an EBS backed instance. Today’s Ylastic release makes it very easy to do a bunch of things.
Over-ride default block device mappings. For instance, if the AMI was created with a mapping like /dev/sda1=snap-xyz::True, you can modify it to change its default size or the delete on termination and specify it like this - /dev/sda1=snap-xyz:20:False.
Connect instance local storage when you launch an EBS backed instance. The instance local storage drives are available but by default EC2 will not connect them to the EBS instance. So when you launch the instance, specify how you would like to connect them. For Linux, you can specify a mapping like /dev/sdb=ephemeral0, and if you are using windows, just specify it as /dev/xvdg=ephemeral0. Keep in mind that the new t1.micro instances are EBS storage only, and you will not be able to connect local instance storage to them.
Specify multiple block device mappings at launch. As simple as can be. Just comma separate the device mappings and we will pass it on to EC2 when the instance is launched.
Here’s a screenshot of the stock Windows Server EBS version (ami-c3e40daa) launched from Ylastic and connecting the first ephemeral disk to device xvdg, which shows up as drive d: in Windows File Explorer.

Enjoy :-)

EC2 Block Device Mapping Fun

EC2 block devices are really useful and we use them quite a bit over here at Ylastic. We have been improving support for specifying these mappings when you launch an EBS backed instance. Today’s Ylastic release makes it very easy to do a bunch of things.

  • Over-ride default block device mappings. For instance, if the AMI was created with a mapping like /dev/sda1=snap-xyz::True, you can modify it to change its default size or the delete on termination and specify it like this - /dev/sda1=snap-xyz:20:False.
  • Connect instance local storage when you launch an EBS backed instance. The instance local storage drives are available but by default EC2 will not connect them to the EBS instance. So when you launch the instance, specify how you would like to connect them. For Linux, you can specify a mapping like /dev/sdb=ephemeral0, and if you are using windows, just specify it as /dev/xvdg=ephemeral0. Keep in mind that the new t1.micro instances are EBS storage only, and you will not be able to connect local instance storage to them.
  • Specify multiple block device mappings at launch. As simple as can be. Just comma separate the device mappings and we will pass it on to EC2 when the instance is launched.

Here’s a screenshot of the stock Windows Server EBS version (ami-c3e40daa) launched from Ylastic and connecting the first ephemeral disk to device xvdg, which shows up as drive d: in Windows File Explorer.

Enjoy :-)

    Timeline Visualization of EC2 Auto Scaling Activities, Monitoring Alerts and AuditsTired of looking at all that time period based data as tables? So are we. Want something more visual, and easier to grok and navigate?
Introducing time line based visualization for EC2 auto scaling activities, your AWS monitoring alerts and audit history of all the changes made to your AWS environment.
A calendar like view that displays these events along with super simple navigation. 
Simply drag either of the panes to scroll across time periods. 
You can also click on any blue markers displayed in the bottom pane to navigate to that specific time.
Each event is displayed with a distinctive icon and a brief subject. 
Click any event to get more detail. 
And you can even toggle between this new timeline view and the usual tabular view with a simple click!

Ylastic - Making cloud management a pleasure, one resource at a time :-)

    Timeline Visualization of EC2 Auto Scaling Activities, Monitoring Alerts and Audits

    Tired of looking at all that time period based data as tables? So are we. Want something more visual, and easier to grok and navigate?

    Introducing time line based visualization for EC2 auto scaling activities, your AWS monitoring alerts and audit history of all the changes made to your AWS environment.

    • A calendar like view that displays these events along with super simple navigation. 
    • Simply drag either of the panes to scroll across time periods. 
    • You can also click on any blue markers displayed in the bottom pane to navigate to that specific time.
    • Each event is displayed with a distinctive icon and a brief subject. 
    • Click any event to get more detail. 
    • And you can even toggle between this new timeline view and the usual tabular view with a simple click!

    Ylastic - Making cloud management a pleasure, one resource at a time :-)

    Additional Monitors for EC2 Instances

    Ylastic now has additional monitors for keeping an eye on those EC2 instances.

    • HTTP
    • HTTPS
    • HTTPS Strict Check - the SSL certificate CN and the hostname must match
    • SSH
    • Ping
    • DNS resolution for the instance public address
    • Reverse DNS resolution for the instance elastic IP address
    Svc_monitors_page

    You can get the alerts for these monitors any way you want. Here is a sample email alert.

    Svc_email

    Here is an alert via twitter as viewed in Twhirl.

    Svc_twit
    These are in addition to the AWS resources you can already monitor with Ylastic.
    • EC2 Instances
    • RDS Databases
    • EBS Volumes
    • AWS Service Health
    • Usage Costs
    • Scaling activities
    • Load Balancers

     

      Checking Ping times to EC2 Instances from around the world

      Ping is a nice little network utility, and a great way to quickly check connectivity to your EC2 instances and get a feel for the latency by measuring the round trip times. This of course requires that the security group for your instances allow ICMP traffic. If you do have ICMP enabled, you can check ping times to your EC2 instance from 6 locations around the world - San Francisco, London, Sydney, Hong Kong, Moscow and New York, with a click from Ylastic. Here are the ping times to one of our c1.xlarge instances running in the US east region (N. Virginia).

      Ping_web

      You can even do this from your mobile - iPhone, Android or Blackberry6.

      Ping_iphone
      Simplify your cloud management ;-)

      Using the AWS Identity and Access Management Service

      AWS just released a brand new service named the Identity and Access management Service (IAM) intended to be the main way to manage all your users and their security credentials for AWS resources. You can setup groups and assign users to them. Each group or user can be assigned an Access Policy that determines the level of access granted to the AWS resources in your account. Each user has their own set of access keys, so you no longer have to share the same keys between users. Ylastic has integrated IAM and we are excited to release complete support for this new service. :-) Here is an overview of the IAM setup for our demo AWS account.

      Ylastic_iam_overview

      This overview displays all your groups and the users assigned to them. Users that do not have any access keys are displayed in red. Yep. This chart is automatically generated in Ylastic at the click of a button! The chart is color-coded to make it easy to quickly glean important info. Here are some of the groups and users mentioned in the chart.

      Ylastic_iam_groups

      You can assign and unassign users from groups easily.

      Ylastic_iam_add_to_group

      Policies written in the Access Policy Language are the primary way to grant access to resources. You can assign a policy to either a group that contains users or to individual users.  Here is a sample policy that gives access to only the RunInstances operation.

      Ylastic_iam_policy_document

      When a user that this access policy applies to makes an API call for any other operations, other than RunInstances, access is denied and an appropriate error message is returned.

      Iam_502
      Each user can have their own set of AWS access keys. You can easily enable and disable access keys for an user.
      Ylastic_iam_keys

      You can configure and manage all of these IAM resources from within Ylastic:

      • Groups
      • Group Policies
      • Users
      • User Policies
      • User Access Keys

      We are working on even more tools around IAM, including mobile access from your iPhone, Android or Blackberry. Simplify your cloud management!

      Integrate and Extend Ylastic Alerting with Web hooks

      Want to do more than just get alerts via email, twitter, jabber, SMS or voice when things happen to your AWS resources and thresholds set by you are breached? Would you like to run some custom scripting, hook up other apps or update your internal dashboard ? Introducing Web hooks for super simple integration and extension of Ylastic alerting. Give us an URL - http or https, and we will post to it when alerts are triggered.

      Ylastic_webhook_url

      Ylastic_webhook

      We will pass you all the relevant info, and you can wire up whatever you wish on your side.
      Ylastic_webhook_params

      Easy peasy, no hassle integration!

      AWS in your pocketYes. Really :-) Manage AWS from that Blackberry - Android - iPhone in your pocket!

      AWS in your pocket

      Yes. Really :-) Manage AWS from that Blackberry - Android - iPhone in your pocket!