Every now and then, a particularly hard storm hits an undisclosed datacenter in Virginia where a huge chunk of The Cloud faces off with actual clouds to see which one can keep electricity running through it the longest. Sometimes the data center loses, causing DevOps teams and assorted other developers to get calls and tweets from literally everyone telling them their site is down.
Usually this sort of apocalypse is indicated with a tiny icon on a web dashboard, visible only to the people already panicking and frantically reading up on High Availability and Multi-AZ Deployments. A little red icon doesn’t quite convey the gravity of the sky falling, so I figured the best indicator of cloud infrastructure status would be the Buddhist king and judge of hell, Emma-O (aka Enma-O aka Yama). I happened to have a scan of an Emma-O wood sculpture from a previous project at the museum I work at (btw we’re hiring), so I scaled it up a bit and printed a copy in transparent blue-ish PLA.
A box I quickly whipped up in Tinkercad for the electronics sits under a lid connected to a replica of Emma-O, Emma-Ohnoes, to his throne with some glue. Housing an Arduino Yún with a sketch using Temboo, it checks on our custom system health check page to see if the AWSpocalypse has begun. If it has, Emma pulses a vengeful red light. Otherwise, he glows a serene blue.
If you enjoy using Muromachi-era Buddhist art to let the office know the site’s down, the 3D models for Emma-O, the also-3D-printed base, schematics, and Arduino sketch are freely available online. The Arduino sketch is designed so that any URL you want to set targetUrl to only needs to return anything other than 200 OK in the HTTP response header, so it can also be pointed to the URL of a site directly to see if it’s up or not.
Download Arduino sketch on Github
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