What do you like best?
Easy: the people.
I tested, built, deployed, configured, managed, and process-improved a critical VictorOps installation for a popular and growing Seattle-area website. I was there as a SQL DBA, but have a knack for the space after 20 years with folks like Microsoft Expedia, Zillow, Hewlett-Packard, BSU, Washington State, Allrecipes, and Wizards of the Coast. I've seen a lot of environments through a ton of seasons of growth and development and massive over-night site upgrades and painful outages. it may be the one time I will give myself permission to say, "Been there, done that."
VictorOps is the first time I worked so closely with a tool and the organization behind it. I was determined to put an end to the numbing deluge of alerts keeping folks on edge all hours of every day.
We had multiple monitoring systems, including, ouch, SCOM, and had to knit it all together. I wanted clean, actionable alerts that would reliably escalate. I wanted historical data that could be used for Root Cause Analysis. I wanted a solution that would be effective from anywhere and any device.
VictorOps delivered, and more.
We got things quieted just in time for the dust and noise of a major migration into the cloud. If you have done that work, you understand things can get a little hairy. To top things off, we also encountered a lovely DDOS that took us down for an entire Saturday.
VictorOps was essential to both, and we were just barely cracking into the really good features.
Did I mention the people? Send them an email and mention this review and say hello. You will know what I mean right away. VictorOps is good people building important solutions for our time.
What do you dislike?
Well, it can be tough to be critical of something for which I have such affection. I will say the thing that comes to mind a year later was the difficulty of managing the calendars. I know I could have reached out for help earlier, and believe that would have made it easier. Still, most of what I worked with was (to it's credit) very intuitive. It seems (again from old memory) that sometimes I had to click in and out of different things to remember how to set up overrides or configure for multiple teams. Just before I left we were looking at extending the deployment into the coroporate IT space. I remember it was getting a bit tricky.
The other thing was the transmogrifier. That needed some development into a more robust rules engine. I wanted to nest things, and couldn't. I wanted to create conditional flows that were easy to track, but couldn't. I understood at the end that more development was underway, so feel confident it must be looking great a year later.
I feel like there was one more thing. I'll write again if I think of it.
Recommendations to others considering the product
Start talking with the good people at VictorOps right away. Ask all your questions, and ask for help early rather than later. Test like crazy using all the scenarios you can imagine. Plan to set up full escalation exercises, so you can get it knitted in tightly with your incident management process. VictorOps can help reduce downtime and speed RCA turnaround. Mine that data, and include KEYWORDS in the note stream for later searches.
Also: integrate it tightly with Slack. We found a beautiful solution with the two of those working together. I am just dying to work on another big deployment of those again. We were really just getting started, and there was ALL KINDS of stuff possible.
Look at everything. Click everything and read every single howto and article and blog posting. Dig into all the features, deep. Describe your perfect requirements clearly, and then challenge VictorOps to deliver. I bet they will. :-)
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
My review is based on professional experience over a year ago. I assume VictorOps has released a bunch of great changes as they have surely grown and prospered.
My current interest is just in concept at this point. I am building a global organization that will operate an IT and business school for Bhutanese students who will operate a global service and support operation. That operation (staffing and naming underway now) will provide administrative and comm and other support services to small missions on the ground in places such as Uganda. Today, the Internet is a powerful resource, and I am convinced the resources will make their way to those individuals in need once their stories are captured and shared in a powerful way.
VictorOps? Well, I want a way to know when a mission, or an individual faces unmet need. I want to be able to sign up for alerts if someone gets sick in the middle of the night in Uganda and needs just $44 to get well. And I surely want to know if an orphanage there has sacks full or corn they cannot eat because they don't have the money to mill it.
I see VictorOps right there, perfectly. Not watching systems, but people. If I was going to work with an organization on such a project it would surely be VictorOps.