Netflix recently open-sourced one of its management tools designed to work with machines through Amazon’s cloud. Security Monkey is the latest open-source tool in a line of software known as the “Simian Army,” that was developed to help run Netflix’s massive online service. For companies using Amazon’s cloud computing services, Security Monkey can monitor configuration changes across several Amazon accounts and ensure that those changes avoid common security problems.
Amazon already offers similar security tools for account holders, but Security Monkey has some unique features. CloudTrail, one of Amazon’s security tools, can provide a detailed log of commands, but Netflix’s Security Monkey is more useful in forensic and investigative purposes because it can show how security configurations have changed over time.
Amazon’s Trusted Advisor tool does not have Security Monkey’s ability to create custom security checks. Also, Security Monkey is available for free while Amazon’s Trusted Advisor is a paid tool.
Netflix created not just Security Monkey, but its entire Simian Army to manage and run the many machines on Amazon’s cloud computing service. “This tool could potentially help any company that runs its operations atop Amazon and other cloud services — and such companies are only becoming more prevalent,” reports Wired.
In addition to Security Monkey, Netflix has released the open-sourced version of several other Simian Army tools, including Chaos Monkey, Janitor Monkey, and Conformity Monkey.
Netflix says the other members of the Simian Army will eventually be released open-sourced as well. Doctor Monkey, which monitors how much work virtual machines are doing, and Chaos Gorilla, which tests how well a service responds to outages, may make their way to an open-sourced existence in the future. Also, Netflix plans to integrate Security Monkey with CloudTrail.
Details of the Simian Army are available on the Netflix Tech Blog.