With the latest update from ElasticBox, we have introduced two unique capabilities to improve the user experience and surface insights gathered from application operations to make informed business decisions. This update includes:
Live Viewer: Brings the application visualization experience to applications which have been deployed into production (Instances tab within the portal). Building on our previous visualization enhancements back in November 2015, users can see all of the relevant components of an application and their inter-dependencies in a single topology view. This allows users to quickly understand which components are online or those that need attention in relation to the fully-deployed application.
Icon Picker: Empowers users to provide their own unique application stacks and boxes through branding of various icons that can be assigned to each component. This will allow organizations to select their own icon for a script box (1st party or 3rd party) as well as an application box to provide a custom service catalog of applications that are consistent with a given set of policies, licensing and branding.
As customers continue to evolve their deployment processes and integrate responsibilities between application teams and IT infrastructure administrators, real-time information about a running application is critical. Essentially, the Live Viewer gives a bird’s-eye-view of the application, the deployed instances and the bindings between them. Oftentimes, as multi-tiered applications become more complex, the infrastructure and component relationships are hard to manage on a per-node basis. These visualizations will help application owners have a better understanding of what is or is-not running in production and help reduce troubleshooting when end-users report issues.
While we continue to make further investments in our visual application experiences, we plan to deliver even more detailed data on the infrastructure configuration. This would include valuable information such as: networking protocols from various providers, rich virtual machine metadata (compute memory, CPU, disk, hardware profile, etc.) and even pulling through infrastructure status that may be coming from 3rd party technology solutions.
With these enhancements, developers and IT admins can easily collaborate on the architecture of the applications as well as the foundational resources that support various components.
When building a set of application boxes for the service catalog, both developers and IT admins now have the ability to pick their own icons. The focus here is to bring consistency and branding to the script and application boxes. As your applications become more complex and the scale of components in the catalog grows, this improves discoverability and can standardize your set of offerings in one of two key scenarios:
- Enterprises with many teams and users that are providing a robust set of applications and services in the self-service catalog
- Service providers that want to differentiate their service offering for end-customers through branding (for both 1st party and 3rd party technologies
Beyond the branding benefits, as the application teams are architecting their apps, the selection and creation of icons are now effortless as we provide a broad set of icon configurations out of the box. By taking advantage of these benefits, an organization will be able to easily convey the nature of the various script and application boxes directly within the graphical visualizations (in the Live Viewer and the “Boxes” visualization topology).
To start taking advantage of this feature, users can access the Icon Picker by simply clicking the “Choose Icon” button when creating or editing a box. Previously, a user needed to upload a file of their choice, but now there is a prompt to quickly select an icon from our extensive library of popular technologies and abstract concepts. Should the pre-defined set of icon configurations not be sufficient, a proprietary image can be uploaded and the colors will be analyzed to provide a unique set of options for a newly created icon. All uploaded images will be stored for reuse across any set of applications and for users who choose to share the custom options.
In summary, the Live Viewer and Icon Picker in this release provide increased flexibility and ease of use for our enterprise customers who are managing complex apps in real-time and building a branded service catalog of application boxes.