Netflix Open Sources a Slack Bot for Tracking GitHub Repositories

Not many organizations have the technology expertise that Netflix has, and it may come as a surprise to some people to learn that the company regularly open sources key, tested and hardened tools that it has used for years. We’ve reported on Netflix open sourcing a series of interesting “Monkey” cloud tools as part of its “simian army,” which it has deployed as a series of satellite utilities orbiting its central cloud platform.

Now, Netflix has announced the release of HubCommander, an open source Slack bot that can track and manage GitHub repositories.

According to Netflix:

“Netflix uses GitHub, a source code management and collaboration site, extensively for both open source and internal projects. The security model for GitHub does not permit users to perform repository management without granting administrative permissions. Management of many users on GitHub can be a challenge without tooling. We needed to provide enhanced security capabilities while maintaining developer agility. As such, we created HubCommander to provide these capabilities in a method optimized for Netflix.”

“Our approach leverages ChatOps, which utilizes chat applications for performing operational tasks. ChatOps is increasingly popular amongst developers, since chat tools are ubiquitous, provide a single context for what actions occurred when and by whom, and also provides an effective means to provide self-serviceability to developers.”

“All Netflix owned GitHub repositories reside within multiple GitHub organizations. Organizations contain the git repositories and the users that maintain them. Users can be added into teams, and teams are given access to individual repositories. In this model, a GitHub user would get invited to an organization from an administrator. Once invited, the user becomes a member of the organization, and is placed into one or more teams.”

“At Netflix, we have several organizations that serve specific purposes. We have our primary OSS organization “Netflix”, our “Spinnaker” organization that is dedicated to our OSS continuous delivery platform, and a skunkworks organization, “Netflix-Skunkworks”, for projects that are in rough development that may or may not become fully-fledged OSS projects, to name a few.”

 This latest tool is actually one of a slew of useful utilities that have been open sourced by Netflix. The company previously released Chaos Monkey, a utility that  improves the resiliency of Software as a Service by randomly choosing to turn off servers and containers at optimized times.

Note that you can peruse Netflix’s overall open source software resource center on GitHub.  The company is steadily releasing proven tools that can be quite useful for administrators. Netflix has also said that it has more tools to be open sourced soon.

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Sam Dean


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