A First Look at VisualOps

A couple of months ago I gave VisualOps a try with a very specific goal in mind: create a diagram for an AWS environment I’ve been working on. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite able to achieve that goal. Recently they implemented my biggest requests so I hope to give it another shot soon.

First let me outline what I had trouble with:

  • For some reason it wasn’t obvious to me how to delete objects. Once someone from their team (see below) pointed out how it’s done I felt kinda dumb.
  • It’s meant for features available on public AWS. If you work in AWS GovCloud, which has different endpoints for the various APIs, you won’t be able to do end-to-end coordination.
  • The serialized format they use isn’t CloudFormation. For some reason I assumed it would be.

Now what I liked:

  • The rest of the interface was intuitive to work with and doesn’t require installation of anything.
  • They’re able to interrogate your account and reverse-engineer what you have there.
  • Changes you make in the interface can be published so that they affect your live environment.

Lastly, the biggest thing I appreciated was their focus on acquiring happy customers. They definitely understand the importance of that for a young company. Someone emailed me immediately after I sent a help request, and afterward he plugged me into their Trello board so that I could see what features they have in the works (I had made a few suggestions – a couple were already up there and a couple he added after our discussion.)

Overall I’m very excited about this product, especially because I hate making architecture diagrams and I really hate keeping them in sync!