Administrator’s Guide to AWS Monitoring Tools

Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a portfolio of paid monitoring tools to cover a growing list of over one hundred cloud services. AWS offers so many tools in fact that keeping track of them is practically a full-time occupation. 

In this guide, we familiarize our readers with some of the tools in the AWS monitoring portfolio by offering technical explanations, examples, step-by-step instructions, screenshots, diagrams, and best practices.

The AWS monitoring tools covered in this guide range from log management to distributed tracing and hosted versions of open-source tools. These tools have gone through a transformation over the recent years.

For example, the AWS Trusted Advisor has remained functionally little-changed over the last few years since its launch but has expanded to include additional system checks. On the other hand, the AWS Systems Manager was created by consolidating the AWS SSM (an older agent used to configure EC2s) with existing management tools such as the inventory and compliance management services. Meanwhile, AWS launched hosted services of a few popular open source tools such as Prometheus.

Hybrid Cloud Context for AWS Monitoring Tools

Enterprise IT organizations typically operate hybrid cloud platforms beyond AWS, including Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and private clouds based on VMware, Nutanix, Linux KVM, and Microsoft Hyper-V. In our experience supporting such environments, tool consolidation, analytics, and automation become a matter of operational survival.

A typical OpsRamp customer who has adopted AWS monitoring tools such as CloudWatch Insights, CloudTrail, and X-Ray feeds the resulting events into OpsRamp’s centralized platform powered by analytics, machine learning, and automation. Data and events from other public and private cloud platforms are shared alongside AWS to provide a single pane of glass for the operations and engineering teams managing a hybrid cloud environment.

The chapters in this guide are:

Chapter 1: AWS X-Ray

Explore AWS distributed tracing included with AWS Lambda and trace application transactions written in various programming languages. 

Chapter 2: CloudWatch Insights

Understand how to use CloudWatch Insights to ingest, index, and query data from system logs and learn its limitations and best practices. 

Chapter 3: RDS Monitoring

Explore the metrics, events, audit logs available to monitor AWS Relational Data Service (RDS) along with its enhanced monitoring functionality. 

Chapter 4: AWS Grafana

Learn the features and benefits of Grafana and compare the self-hosted version with the service offered by AWS.

Chapter 5: AWS Trusted Advisor Checks

Learn the best practices for using AWS Trusted Advisor checks, and understand the most popular checks along with their limitations.

Chapter 6: CloudWatch Metric Math

Become familiar with the CloudWatch metric math functionality and syntax and follow with step by step instructions for configuring it.

Chapter 7: CloudWatch Synthetics

Learn how to use CloudWatch Synthetics canaries to check API endpoints and broken links, and understand how to integrate it with AWS X-Ray and CloudWatch.

Chapter 8: CloudTrail vs. CloudWatch

Learn the difference between CloudTrail and. CloudWatch by following explanations, instructions, and examples.

Chapter 9: AWS Systems Manager

Learn about the modules that make up AWS Systems Manager by following examples and instructions, and understand its limitations

Chapter 10: AWS Prometheus: Benefits & Tutorials

Learn about the benefits and limitations of the AWS-hosted version of Prometheus and how it helps administrators with high availability and scaling.