Introducing the new Ylastic. Main focus was on usability, performance and simplifying all interactions with AWS. The redesign is also prep work needed for the features on our roadmap :)
Intuitive and unified look
An interface that simplifies your interactions with the various AWS cloud services and presents an integrated overview of your environment.
Seamless multi region management
Improved management of AWS resources across regions. On any page, view all the resources in your AWS account in all regions. Filter resources by a specific region or search across all regions.
Easy to use multi factor authentication
You can now use any MFA apps on your phone - Google Authenticator, Authy, etc. Scan the QR code from the settings page with your app and you are all set. MFA is currently turned off for all users, so you can login and set it up.
Intuitive cloudwatch charts
Enhanced charting to improve usability. You can view them on the metrics page or by clicking the sparkline for any AWS resource.
We started Ylastic a while ago, and it was one of the first management consoles for AWS. The only services in existence at that time were EC2, S3, SQS and SimpleDB had just been announced. Then AWS started growing by leaps and bounds, and they started adding new services and updating existing services at a breakneck pace. Ylastic added services and features as they were introduced. Eventually the Ylastic console became rather large with all of these updates and enhancements. It was fantastic to add all of these new things, as it really helped customers deal with AWS in an easier way.
We have taken some time to step back from the existing application, and think through how we can simplify it further and make it even more easier to use. We want to build an absolutely easy to use and intuitive management interface for AWS. We want to make things easier, so you dont need to jump through lots of hoops in order to perform a single operation on your AWS resources. So with all of that in mind, we have undertaken a complete overhaul of Ylastic, going through each and every page, and every piece of functionality we provide, and streamlining it, and making it as intuitive to use as we can. We are right in the midst of this rather large task. We are hoping to release the new ylastic within a few months. As we progress, we are going to post some of the changes we have been working on. So here is the first one - a complete rewrite of how we launch instances. The idea here is to let the user launch instances without getting completely lost in all the options. Working on refining this even more :)
Updated charts in Ylastic for viewing your Amazon S3 spending. It is now easier to see the costs broken down by Normal Storage, Reduced Redundant Storage, and other operations performed on your S3 account, as well as by region where your S3 resources are being stored.
Estimated charges for Auto Scaling Groups
You can now view the estimated costs for any active auto scaling group which has instances running. An estimate is displayed for the month and for a whole year. If you are managing multiple regions inside Ylastic, the auto scaling page will display your groups from all of those regions, and the estimated costs total will be a total across the regions :)
Ylastic now has an updated dashboard to give you a better overview of your AWS environment - the number of instances, databases, volumes, total volume size, scheduled tasks, monitors and also the estimated charges for that month. Click on any of the panels to go to the corresponding page for that resource in Ylastic. If you are a Ylastic Plus user, just click on the estimated charges panel to navigate to the spending analytics page. The resources are totaled up across ALL regions that you select to manage in Ylastic. You want to see the overview for another AWS account? As easy as selecting the account you want from a drop-down to refresh the dashboard with the overview for the newly selected account.
Manage your AWS cloud the easy way :)
We switched over to using the AWS programmatic billing API which uses spending data from S3 bucket. It has made things a lot easier for us in terms of processing and also ease of use. We no longer need the username and password for logging in to the AWS usage activity page. From the user perspective all you have to do is go to the AWS Billing Preferences Page and enable the programmatic Access checkbox, specify the S3 bucket name and also check the Detailed Billing Report checkbox.
Setup a scheduled task in Ylastic to process the spending data at an interval of your choice.
The data gets downloaded and processed. Navigate to the spending page and view the charts. if you want to view the analytics for a different AWS account, just select it from the drop-down at the top right. Here is the spending for EC2 for last year - 2013.
You can view your spending broken down by region. Hovering over any slice on the pie chart will display the exact dollar amount spent.
Here is the spending chart for all the services for last year - 2013.
You can view all of the spending analytics inside Ylastic. There is no separate console, no separate applications - a single place for managing your AWS resources :)
Updating Spending Analytics
The spending analytics in Ylastic are currently built by downloading and processing the raw CSV data from the AWS Usage activity page. Even though it works quite well, it is a rather tedious process. You can use IAM user credentials to download the data, but we want to reduce this to something even simpler. We are experimenting with the programmatic billing API access that AWS added which gives each AWS account the ability to request that billing csv files be dumped in the S3 bucket of your choice. This makes it a lot easier to both download and process the data and keeping up with the changes that AWS makes to the pricing. It also makes it a breeze to add new services. We are going to roll this out to replace the current implementation within a few weeks. Here are a few sample screenshots of a page built from this data.
AWS provides detailed documentation on how to enable each AWS account for programmatic billing access here. We will have more updates on the blog with all of the charts we will have soon.
Ylastic now supports management for DynamoDB. Manage all your tables in single or multiple regions on the same page. The read and write capacity units consumed in the last 20 minutes are displayed in spark line graphs right next to each dynamo table in the listing, giving you a quick overview of your DynamoDB environment.
Explore the items in your tables with the built-in viewer.
An audit trail is maintained to display the history of changes made to your DynamoDB environment from Ylastic, including the name of the user making the change as well as the IP address from which the change was made.
View Cloudwatch charts for each table by clicking either of the sparkline graphs. You can change time periods, dimensions, etc and refresh to view all of the cloudwatch data for the table.
We are in the process of hooking DynamoDb into our monitoring. Next release will have the ability to monitor and alert via email, voice, SMS :)
Selecting Snapshots for Backup
It can be a bit daunting when you have to backup snapshots or to use the AWS parlance - copy snapshots to other AWS regions, especially when you have a lot of them. We have been grappling with this issue and how to make it easier and simpler for our users to pick the snapshots they want to copy to other regions on a schedule for disaster recovery purposes. You can now select the snapshots to copy in the Ylastic scheduled task in four different ways:
- Select all snapshots in the source region - every single one of them.
- Select all snapshots whose tag value contains specified string value.
- Select all snapshots whose tag name contains a specified string value.
- Select all snapshots whose tag name contains a specified string, as well as the tag value contains a specified string.
This scheme lets you select snapshots for backup from a big net that captures everything to something really fine-grained that can only pick up a single select snapshot. Manage your backups in AWS the easy way!
Copying Snapshots between regions on a schedule
You can now schedule a task in ylastic to copy snapshots of your choice to one or multiple regions on a schedule of your choice.
Select a source region, and specify the strings to match for a tag name and tag value and the task will select all snapshots in the source region that meet those criteria. You can also specify exactly how many copies of a snapshot you want in each of the regions. All previous backups are removed leaving only the latest number of backups that you want in each region.
Here is a list of the backups being created with the above task.
All tags from the source snapshot are preserved and added to each of the new snapshots.
Backups the easy, easy way :)