As DevOps continues to grow from popular trend to near-necessity for the enterprise, innovative technologies that can be used to help facilitate DevOps integration are sprouting up. Imagine simply asking a virtual assistant, "who made the last check-in?" and getting a near-instantaneous response, rather than digging through logs tracking down another team member who might know. Welcome to the world of ChatOps and VoiceOps.
We recently discussed the advent of ChatOps, where human conversation and automation are integrated in an extension of a chat platform, often in the form of bots, to help increase collaboration and ease the management of operations. VoiceOps takes this a step further, with voice-activated virtual assistants integrated into operations software.
One recent entry into the field to solve this communications issue has been XMatters--an intelligent communications platform that connects insights across an enterprise's system.
"[The need for ChatOps] comes into play as developers and operations personnel deal with open platforms and APIs that bring lots of disparate information from multiple sources into a common console," said Abbas Haider Ali, xMatters' CTO, in a chat with SearchCloudApplications. "The previous approach to this problem was dashboards, but they are inefficient, difficult to code and are not as friendly as chat."
Integration of existing chat and/or voicebots is gaining traction with certain companies, like Dynatrace, which offers a virtual assistant called Davis. Dynatrace provides application performance monitoring software, and Davis allows users to take advantage of its capabilities by either speaking to it directly through Alexa or typing out questions in Slack.
Similarly, Tintri, an IT company that specializes in software for managing virtual machines, is also using Slack and Alexa to automate some of their functionality. Using Tintri's API, companies can manage their virtual machines by, say, chatting on Slack with "Tintribot" to spin up test virtual machines, or speaking directly to Alexa to provision VMs and acquire real-time production information. Even Salesforce.com is getting in on ChatOps and VoiceOps, using Slack and Alexa in the same ways to interface with their corporate search tool, Concierge.
Again, the information these tools offer is similar to what users could otherwise find on dashboards, or even from other team members. But ChatOps and VoiceOps are all about getting immediate, precise, and hassle-free answers to questions about crucial data like performance, activity, or capacity levels. And beyond being convenient for IT, services like Davis also benefit executives and staff from other departments not well versed in tech vernacular or even dashboards.