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VictorOps: A glimpse at the future of mobile based DevOps management

A mobile app that is not a game shows how mobile will change everything.

When I was out in Boulder this summer I interviewed a company that I thought was one of the most promising of the dozen or so companies I met with. VictorOps is going to change the way teams manage servers and cloud infrastructure. What really gets me excited about VictorOps is that it is one of the few companies I have seen that is actually leveraging the mobile platform instead of just porting a desktop app to a phone. I have seen the future of mobile DevOps management, and that future is VictorOps.

You didn't really think that mobile apps would be forever dominated by games, utilities and picture and noise apps, did you? Sooner or later, someone would figure out how to put real business functionality in the hands of mobile users. I am not talking about porting Microsoft Office over, either. VictorOps is a team DevOps management app that was built for, with and by mobile developers. To me it is a no-brainer.

VictorOps was co-founded by Todd Vernon. I know Todd from the Boulder area and from his last company Lijit. He is a CEO who really understands the problems techies face. On top of this, I know several people who have worked for and with Todd. They all say great things. But enough about Todd, what about VictorOps?

The idea behind VictorOps is "haven't we outgrown the pager"? How many of you have worked for companies where 24-hour ops management meant someone went home with a beeper in case the you-know-what hit the fan? Those of you who work for large companies with round-the-clock NOCs may not be able to appreciate this. Those of you who work at startups or smaller companies know very well what I am talking about. Someone has to be on call in case something goes wrong.

Often times when something goes wrong, it may not be the guy on call who can fix it. The guy with the beeper has to find the right guy for the problem. It may not be a big team, but it is a team effort none the less. This is where VictorOps comes in.

Instead of giving everyone a pager or beeper, let's use the mobile phones they already have.  VictorOps takes the output from a nagios server and other monitoring tools and delivers alerts, monitoring and management in a well-designed, mobile-optimized interface. In addition to a single person "on duty," passing information and tasks to other members of the team is done easily through the interface. On top of this, VictorOps keeps a record of what you have done in the past. For instance, if running a particular script is what was done the last time an issue occurred, you can chose to run that script again.  

The best part of VictorOps to me, though, was the mobile app's interface. This isn't a spreadsheet or some desktop application. It really is optimized for the mobile interface. It's not bare bones, but is designed in a logical way that flows really well. For a small group managing infrastructure, it is a godsend.

VictorOps is a Foundry Group investment and has recently raised a round that included an investment by Costanoa Venture Capital. It announced its official beta today, though many Boulder-area companies have been using it for months. One of the companies, SpotXchange, has used VictorOps for a while. Allen Dove, CTO of SpotXchange, had this to say,

"We have looked for a solution to unify our global situational ops response efforts. VictorOps crushed our expectations. It doesn't presume to do a better job of monitoring, rather a better job of unifying ops personnel and information in real-time. More importantly, the VictorOps team has clearly lived the thankless job of 24/7 large-scale ops in their past. They get it. And they want to make it easier for us. VictorOps is what I would have built to if I wasn't too busy running ops!"

If you are interested in checking out VictorOps you can sign up for the beta now at their website.

In the meantime, I hope we see more apps like this that get real business done on mobile devices instead of more angry birds, sports games and theme changers.

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