Overview: Cloud Messaging and Collaboration
The AWS Marketplace offers a large variety of commercial and open source offerings to augment cloud messaging and collaboration within the AWS ecosystem. Sumo Logic's AWS Marketscape looks at the pros and cons of the most common cloud collaboration tools and solutions from the Marketplace.
Compared with earlier generations of on-premise, monolithic solutions, today’s cloud-based applications are composed of many more ingredients, including compute resources, databases, Web servers, security systems, and APIs.
The growing trend towards composing applications with numerous microservices further complicates the picture: it’s now quite common for a cloud application to invoke hundreds of microservices, each of which utilizes its own backend database, application, and API interface. In a nutshell, the traditional three-tier software architecture has been transformed to an n-tier architecture.
With so many decoupled elements—hosted internally as well as in the cloud—it’s no surprise that there’s a higher risk of service interruption due to the now-prevalent n-tier architecture. Meanwhile, organizations have adopted DevOps processes to innovate more rapidly by eliminating the barriers in IT operations, developers, and security.
As enterprises remove silos and blur job roles, communication and collaboration become much more critical, both during the development and testing phase, and after the application is in production. When inevitable flaws arise, it’s essential that team members managing the applications are notified as quickly as possible so that they can resolve the problem. Amazon Web Services offers a few cloud collaboration tools, which can be supplemented with third party solutions to meet the needs of any enterprise.
AWS Cloud Collaboration Solutions and Tools
The Amazon Simple Notification Service (AWS SNS) provides APIs that implement a publish-and-subscribe messaging backbone. This enables and coordinates asynchronous communication over a variety of channels, including HTTP/S, SMS, and AWS Lambda, along with the Amazon Simple Queuing Service (AWS SQS). In addition, the Amazon Simple Email Service (AWS SES) offers a comprehensive yet straightforward email infrastructure capable of sending and receiving a huge number of messages.
Developers are free to link the two AWS technologies for diverse scenarios, such as using AWS SES as a delivery channel for AWS SNS notifications or configuring AWS SNS to receive notifications regarding delivery issues for emails transmitted via AWS SES.
AWS Cloud Messaging and Collaboration Pricing
Amazon’s free tier offers up to one million AWS SNS push notifications each month. Additional AWS SNS expenditures will be linked to how many notifications are published and delivered, combined with supplementary charges related to message topics and subscriptions.
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2) users are able to employ AWS SES for sending or receiving more than 60,000 free messages per month, although data transfer, attachment, and mail chunk fees will apply. Beyond the free tier, AWS SES pricing is $0.10 per 1,000 messages sent or received.
Limitations of AWS Cloud Messaging and Collaboration
Amazon’s messaging solutions are well-designed, highly scalable, and establish a useful communication foundation. However, they’re best viewed as infrastructure that offers a minimal set of user-facing features.
This does little to address the team collaboration requirements of today’s diverse, often geographically dispersed IT teams encompassing architects, developers, operations staff, and administrators.
Third Party Cloud Messaging and Collaboration Solutions
End user-oriented cloud-based collaboration platforms are revolutionizing how teams interact. These feature-rich solutions equip users with real-time interactive and workflow capabilities that are far more productive than ad-hoc communication methods such as email, text messages, phone calls, and meetings. They’re also at the heart of vibrant ecosystems of add-on products that further augment and extend their functionality.
At first glance, there’s no apparent linkage between collaboration platforms aimed at users and messaging infrastructure meant for software. However, the information flowing through AWS SNS and AWS SES is often of great interest to the types of teams most likely to be employing the new breed of collaboration technologies—particularly software developers and support organizations.
For example, system administrators might wish to use an AWS SNS subscription—which will be instantly visible in their collaboration platforms, such as Slack or Hipchat—to alert them when specific AWS events occur or thresholds are exceeded.
Since all these disparate technologies provide comprehensive APIs, linking them is a straightforward matter of invoking the right calls in the proper sequence. There are numerous do-it-yourself examples showcasing various connectivity scenarios available on the Web; commercial software developers are also beginning to bring relevant integration products to market.
Major Third Party Features
|Cross-platform support||One-to-one chat||Group/topic messaging|
|Video communication||Cloud-based file storage||Flexible pricing models|
|Highly customizable security||Deep search capabilities||File sharing|
|API support||Public chat rooms for collaboration||Private chat rooms for privacy|
Third Party Solutions
|HipChat||HipChat is a Web service for internal/private chat and instant messaging. As well as one-on-one and group/topic chat, it also features cloud-based file storage, video calling, searchable message-history and inline-image viewing.|
|Slack||Slack is a cloud-based real-time messaging, archiving, and search solution for modern teams. Using it helps to increase transparency and productivity by reducing extraneous email messages and meetings.|