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Julien Bras
Julien Bras

Posted on • Originally published at Medium on

VmList: The App To Manage Them All (Instances!)

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I am working in a company that is dealing with too many instances systems. We still have some in-house servers with Xen Dom-U running, we have still a fairly large amount on instances running on a VmWare Vsphere cluster, and we are moving to AWS EC2 instances and images since a few month.

This is a great move but it take time to migrate everything at the same place, then employees are lost when they need to interact with a specific instance. Where it is located, how I can connect to it, who is the owner of the application, and so on….

We have decided to write a very simple tool that aim to list all instances of the company, on all backends we have.

VmList screenshot showing instances from AWS mainly

Currently the tool do the job really well, and if you want to get a look and implement it you can just clone the following repository:


Do more

Once the tool deployed we found a new way to improve our employee experience. In order to allow more control over your developer team, we wanted to allow developers to create their own instances for a short term period. We don’t want to allow them to start instances via AWS Console because we want a proper tagging system applied.

We have implemented this feature into the VmList application, so that developers can fire up an instance from a specific set of AMI (Amazon Images) that we set in the backend of the tool.

VmList with the start instance feature

To manage the ‘short term’ period, VmList is setup to fire the instance with a specific tag, that is triggered by a Lambda function dedicated to that (it terminate all this kind of instances after a few days without usage)

Finally the tool is allowing much more flexibility to our developers, with a better vision, and with a very good management of our costs.

Do you have also this kind of need ? Or does the AWS Console answer all you want ?

Thanks for reading !

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