Deploying in the cloud can cut the cost of on-premise gear and the number of employees needed to tend to it, but maintaining compute and storage resources on, say, Amazon Web Services can get tedious and pricey. Several startups have emerged to solve those problems. A new one sees a niche in helping busy or less savvy devops people discover when issues arise.
In the past couple of months, Finally.io has given beta users a tool for issuing alerts when errors pop up on AWS specifically, for EC2, its Elastic Block Store, DynamoDB and other services.
The program has helped some beta users by pointing out when performance was lagging when instances of AWS’ Relational Database Service started calling on disk instead of just copying data to memory, said Luke Gotszling, the company’s CEO and co-founder. That information can be valuable because AWS customers can then decide to add instances in order to improve performance.
Finally.io has just added support for New Relic. It plans to support for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) vendors in addition to AWS later this year, said Gotszling, who was the first employee at About.me (see disclosure) before it was acquired and later spun off by AOL.
About.me bought itself back from AOL earlier this year, and that gave Gotszling a chance to pursue other opportunities. He and co-founder Alex Bendig, another early About.me employee, had both dealt with the failure of cloud infrastructure and used monitoring tools for it, and they decided to go after solving problems existing services didn’t address. Hence the rise of Finally.io.
The service will need to stand out from other tools for monitoring servers and cloud deployments, such as Boundary, Cloudyn, Newvem, Scalr and Server Density.
What makes Finally.io stand out is that it doesn’t bother to tell you about the things that don’t really matter. As soon as a company puts it to work, it starts evaluating the historical performance of a deployment — for now, thanks to AWS’ Cloudwatch API — to get a sense of what’s normal and what’s not. As a result, Finally.io won’t surface problems that are rare for most people running cloud servers but are constant little occurrences for the a customer. And it goes the other way, too — one company in the cloud might make a big deal out of what is typically a little hiccup for nearly everyone else, and that might prompt an alert on Finally.io.
Alerts show up on a web dashboard and arrive via email, although texts could be an option going forward, Gotszling said.
He and Bendig are thinking about adding the ability to just press a button on the dashboard and have Finally.io go to work solving problems, like restarting a server that went down. But implementing that functionality could be tricky, as not every developer realizes the consequences of such serious actions. “We are a little afraid of that risk — ‘I know I told you to do it, but I didn’t know it was actually going to restart the server,'” Gotszling said.
And so for now IT makes suggestions about what to do, and a user can check a box next to a recommendation and have the text struck out. That way, it’s on cloud users themselves to take action.
The service is free for now, while it’s in public beta. Premium service will follow in the ensuing months, in relation to how large of an infrastructure footprint users want to manage, Gotszling said.
Disclosure: About.me is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of GigaOM/paidContent. Om Malik, founder of GigaOM, is also a venture partner at True.
This story was updated at 8:48 a.m. PT to correct the first name of Finally.io’s CEO, Luke Gotszling.