CloudBot: Intro, How to make use of it

Developers today are facing peer pressure to deliver new functionality in a constrained time frame to create new solutions on the cloud. They have a pressure to perform, from getting an idea to shaping it into an effective solution, to developing it, testing it, etc.

Errors or Failures of the product/app can occur due to defects in code, application and service usage, dependencies not meeting their SLA requirements, security vulnerabilities, and a lot more issues.

When a failure occurs, there’s a pressure on operations team to quickly resolve the issue. The first steps taken are to gather information on what happened before the issue occurred. Often, the information must be gathered from various discrete sources, while using different tools and processes.

In today’s cloud environment, the issues may be caused by any of the following:

  • Infrastructure: Cloud hardware, OS, virtual systems and images not available
  • Resource limitations: Lack of storage, CPU, memory
  • Network communication: errors and timeouts, incorrect hostnames, or IP address unreachable
  • Malicious intent: DDoS attacks, viruses, hacked systems
  • Application code: errors, crashes, exceptions
  • Dependencies on other systems: monitoring, databases, messaging and queuing failures

Under time pressure to resolve the issue, this can lead to miscommunication and rapid escalations involving management and many teams.

cloudbot techglows

So, to solve this IBM was working on ChatOps which is a new way of integrating developer tools and processes into a collaborative chat environment, such as Slack. Development teams are using ChatOps to communicate more effectively and manage their entire workflow easily within the same environment. This is a powerful way to provide a wide set of tools at each developer’s disposal with minimal setup and effort. The cognitive aspect provides a more natural, conversational chat experience.

Based on ChatOps, IBM had built Cloudbot which is a Hubot-based bot that integrates services and tools that can be seamlessly used in your team’s collaborative chat client.

What’s the use of CloudBot?

One of the biggest benefits of using Cloudbot is the ability to effectively integrate the development workflow and development tools with your team’s communication platform. This provides transparency of development workflow, improving the collaboration and effectiveness of developers all in one place. Additionally, Cloudbot simplifies operations and deployment management, improving operations response times and problem incident diagnostics. This is how companies can make use of CloudBot to build a better development team.

The key features of Cloudbot are to:

  • Understand natural language
  • Extract entities from natural language?
  • Continuously learn from interactions with users
  • ???Share learned data with developers and other deployed bots

One of the Cognitive Feature of CloudBot is to learn from user’s action and improve it.

CloudBot is written in CoffeeScript on Node.js and it can be deployed to any environment that supports Node.js. Read this documentation to setup a CloudBot for your business.

The CloudBot project is maintained by IBM. It is an open source project, you can contribute to this open source project if you’re interested in building, improving the development process. The CloutBot open source project is present on GitHub.