New AWS Chatbot uses Slack to flag system alerts to DevOps teams

AWS launches a chatbot dedicated to getting its system alerts to developers, through Slack and its own Chime app.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched a new chatbot service for DevOps teams that automatically sends security, billing, and system-stability alerts to Slack channels. 

The new AWS chatbot service aims to get these alerts to DevOps teams where they're communicating with each other, and these days that's likely to be a Slack. Those same DevOps teams are also likely relying on AWS to maintain their apps. 

For teams in that situation, AWS has launched the AWS Chatbot to send notifications to Slack channels, providing critical information about several AWS services. 

Under the current AWS Chatbot Beta, notifications can be provided from Amazon Cloud Watch, AWS Health, AWS Budgets, AWS Security Hub, Amazon GuardDuty, and AWS CloudFormation. 

"Bots help facilitate these interactions, delivering important notifications and relaying commands from users back to systems," wrote AWS's Ilya Bezdelev. "Many teams even prefer that operational events and notifications come through chat rooms where the entire team can see the notifications and discuss next steps."

The messages can also be routed to Amazon's own Chime collaboration service

The chatbot service could be useful for organizations that are heavily dependent on AWS and already use its Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) for sending notifications to DevOps and developer teams in emails. 

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AWS Chatbot simply redirects existing SNS topic notifications to Slack channels or Chime chat rooms. Admins will be able to add these SNS tips to the chat client from the AWS Chatbot console. Some services require extra configuration. 

The range of AWS monitoring services covered mean that teams can get chat room messages about billing and cost management, operating metrics for AWS services, security threat and compliance alerts, and the availability of resources that support key applications. 

Assuming DevOps teams are more engaged with Slack or other chat apps than, say, email, this could help teams respond to incidents faster. 

AWS claims users can easily set permissions for each chatroom and set up pre-defined permission templates.    

For now, the AWS Chatbot service is free but, of course, that may change in future once it's released generally. AWS promises it will be available in the "near future" to "retrieve diagnostic information your AWS resources for many AWS services". 

"Your teams will be able to analyze and respond to events faster by retrieving diagnostic information on command in a centralized place," it says. 

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