Zenoss: Manage Amazon Cloud Like BYOD
First, users brought their own devices to work (BYOD). Now they're bringing their own cloud (BYOC) applications to work. Zenoss, which develops monitoring and management solutions with open source roots, thinks it can help channel partners and customers to manage that trend. The solution, Zenoss claims, is ZenPack tool for Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The AWS ZenPack is a Free (with-a-capital-F) which means it's both free to use and open source. It's a module for monitoring instances of virtual servers in Amazon's EC2 cloud. It works as a plugin for the base Zenoss platform, which comes in a free and open-source community edition, as well as a value-added commercial version.
The latest release of the AWS ZenPack introduces several new features, including:
- Consumption of custom CloudWatch metrics via real-time APIs (so Zenoss monitoring graphs, event management, and notifications can encompass unique DevOps-style metrics from custom applications)
- Monitoring of Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) resources over a secure VPN connection
- Monitoring of multiple AWS accounts
- Automated discovery of regions, zones, VPCs, subnets, volumes, and instances
In pitching the new release, Zenoss CTO Alan Conley put an interesting spin on the tool and its significance, emphasizing its usefulness for managing the cloud's equivalent of BYOD. "If you don’t think AWS resources are being added to your IT infrastructure, check again, he said. "Cloud services such as Amazon Web Services are becoming the BYOD of corporate IT infrastructure. Large and small companies alike are leveraging AWS for rapid deployment of new capabilities and long-term capacity augmentation."
He makes a good point that can be useful for thinking about how exactly cloud services like AWS fit into modern enterprise computing environments. With more and more small teams and individuals turning to the public cloud for their number-crunching and storage needs, the likelihood that they are introducing cloud resources onto the network — regardless of what official policy may say about the role of the cloud — is growing.
IT admins could react despotically by trying, probably vainly, to ban the cloud from their networks. But the more enlightened ones, as Conley suggests, will treat services like AWS in the same way that many enterprises are handling the BYOD trend, which allows employees to use personal devices within the enterprise. Let employees take advantage of the cloud as they see fit, while also taking reasonable measures to supervise what they are doing in the cloud via solutions like Zenoss's ZenPack, and everyone wins.