As more and more businesses adopt microservices and leverage cloud infrastructures, keeping track of services and resources becomes increasingly important. Comprehensive monitoring is needed to ensure optimal performance, avoid downtime and ensure all have a great user experience. But leaving monitoring to the cloud provider may not give you the insights you need.
This post explores options for Amazon Web Services (AWS) monitoring, the range of tools you can use and the best practices available to help your business effectively monitor resources and achieve optimal performance.
What Is AWS Monitoring?
AWS monitoring refers to tracking and analyzing the performance and health of the different resources and services hosted on the AWS cloud. AWS resources can include EC2 instances, databases, storage systems, networking services and more.
The goal of monitoring is to ensure that these resources are functioning optimally and to quickly identify and fix issues that may impact the performance or availability of applications running on the cloud platform.
Monitoring involves the collection of metrics such as CPU utilization, network traffic and disk usage. You can then set alarms to notify you when performance metrics exceed predefined thresholds. This way, you can quickly identify and fix issues that may impact the performance of your AWS resources.
AWS monitoring can also involve tracing requests made to applications running on AWS. By tracing requests and identifying bottlenecks, you can optimize applications for better performance and reduce the risk of downtime.
AWS Monitoring Tools
Now let’s look at what AWS uses for monitoring. Below is a list of six tools that monitor AWS resources.
Netreo is a full-stack monitoring and observability tool that collects and analyzes metrics data from various AWS resources. These resources include EC2 instances, S3 buckets, RDS instances, API gateways, Lambda and ELB functions. Netreo uses AWS CloudWatch APIs to collect metrics data and then correlates and analyzes the data to provide insights into the health and performance of AWS resources. The monitoring solution uses a range of metrics, including CPU utilization, memory usage and network traffic.
In addition to real-time monitoring, Netreo also provides a historical analysis of metrics data, allowing IT teams to identify trends and patterns in the performance of their AWS resources. Historical data helps IT teams predict future performance issues and proactively prevent downtime and performance degradation.
Netreo’s key features include:
- Robust monitoring: Enables IT teams to monitor their IT infrastructure, including AWS resources, in real time. This means that any issues or changes are detected quickly, helping teams resolve them before they escalate.
- Intelligent alerts: The system learns from previous incidents to refine its alerts and provide IT teams with more accurate, actionable alerts that require their attention. Intelligent alerts increase the accuracy of alerts, reducing the number of false positives and eliminating alert fatigue.
- AI-driven automation: Enables IT teams to automate routine tasks, freeing up time to focus on more strategic work.
- Automated resource scaling: Netreo maximizes cost efficiencies and ensures usage needs are met by leveraging historical data and real-time metrics to automatically scales cloud resource up and down.
- Intuitive dashboard: Provides a single source of truth on infrastructure data for IT teams as they monitor AWS resources. Flexible and customizable, dashboards enable personalized views of infrastructure, visualizations key metrics and added security for roles and teams.
Retrace provides monitoring capabilities for applications running on AWS infrastructure by using traces and logs. Collecting trace data and log information from various sources, including AWS CloudWatch logs, Windows event logs and Linux syslog, Retrace consolidates this data into a centralized view.
Retrace monitors the health and performance of applications by analyzing trace data, which provides a detailed record of each transaction that occurs within an application. The full lifecycle APM solution uses this information to identify bottlenecks, errors and other issues that could impact the performance and availability of the application.
Key features include:
- Trace-based monitoring: Retrace uses distributed tracing to monitor application performance and provides detailed insights into the application’s behavior.
- Log management: Retrace aggregates log data from various sources, such as AWS CloudWatch logs, Windows event logs and Linux syslog to provide a unified view of log data for improved troubleshooting.
- Code-level insights: Retrace provides code-level insights into application performance, helping teams identify and address performance bottlenecks and other issues.
Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring and observability service provided by AWS that collects and processes log and metric data from various AWS services and resources. CloudWatch’s primary function is monitoring the performance and health of AWS resources and applications in real time.
AWS CloudWatch collects logs and metrics from various AWS resources, such as EC2 instances, RDS instances, ELB and Lambda functions. It then stores the collected data for further analysis and processing.
Key features of CloudWatch include:
- Monitoring: CloudWatch provides real-time monitoring of various AWS resources and applications so you can detect and troubleshoot issues quickly.
- Metrics: CloudWatch collects metrics for various AWS resources and applications, such as CPU usage, network usage and memory usage.
- Logs: CloudWatch collects and stores logs from various AWS resources and applications, making troubleshooting and performing root cause analysis easier.
- Alarms: You can set alarms based on predefined metrics and thresholds, enabling proactive monitoring and alerting.
- Dashboards: CloudWatch provides customizable dashboards that you can use to visualize and analyze metrics and logs.
A distributed tracing service, AWS X-Ray helps you analyze and debug distributed applications in the cloud. It allows you to understand how requests and responses flow through their applications, plus identifies performance issues and errors you might otherwise find difficult to diagnose.
AWS X-Ray captures and records data from every request that passes through the application. This data includes metadata, such as the service name, operation name, time stamp and information about the request and response payloads. The tool then visualizes this data as a trace map, showing how requests and responses flow through the application and highlighting potential errors or bottlenecks.
Key features include:
- Integration with AWS services: AWS X-Ray integrates with other AWS services, such as AWS Lambda, Amazon EC2 and Amazon ECS, allowing you to trace requests across different services and identify issues that might impact performance.
- End-to-end tracing: End-to-end tracing of requests and responses allows you to see how requests flow through your applications and identify any issues that might arise.
- Performance profiling: AWS X-Ray allows you to profile the performance of your application and identify any issues that might be impacting performance.
- Visualization: AWS X-Ray visually represents requests flowing through the application, allowing you to identify bottlenecks and performance issues quickly.
- Service map: Automatically generates a service map that shows how services are connected and how requests flow between them.
AWS Config is a service that provides automated monitoring and governance of AWS resources. You can use AWS Config to assess, audit and evaluate the configuration of AWS resources, ensuring you comply with company policies, industry regulations and best practices.
AWS Config continuously monitors the configuration of AWS resources, such as EC2 instances, security groups and S3 buckets, and captures configuration details such as the resource type, attributes, relationships and metadata. The service then tracks changes to these resources over time, allowing users to assess policy compliance, detect drift from desired configurations and troubleshoot issues.
Key features include:
- Continuous monitoring: Provides continuous monitoring of AWS resources, capturing configuration details and changes over time.
- Compliance assessment: You can use AWS Config to assess the compliance of your AWS resources with industry regulations and company policies such as HIPAA, PCI and CIS.
- Configuration history: Tracks the configuration history of AWS resources, allowing you to review and compare changes over time.
Zabbix is an open-source solution that monitors and sends alerts about IT infrastructure components, including servers, networks, applications and services. Using a centralized monitoring server to collect data from agents installed on monitored systems, Zabbix allows users to visualize and analyze the health and performance of their entire IT environment from a single dashboard.
Zabbix works by deploying lightweight agents on the systems to be monitored, collecting metrics such as CPU usage, memory utilization, network traffic and application performance data. It then sends the data back to the central monitoring server for analysis and visualization.
Zabbix’s key features include:
- Real-time monitoring: Provides real-time monitoring of IT infrastructure components, allowing you to identify and troubleshoot issues as they occur.
- Customizable dashboards: Create custom dashboards to visualize and analyze the IT environment, providing a comprehensive view of system health and performance.
- Alerting and notifications: You can configure Zabbix to send alerts and notifications when it detects issues, ensuring that appropriate teams are informed and can take action.
Best Practices for AWS Monitoring
Below are some best practices for AWS monitoring:
- Clearly define what you want to monitor, why you want to monitor it, and how you will use the data you collect.
- Monitor performance metrics, such as latency, response times and error rates to ensure optimal application performance.
- Use log analysis tools to identify patterns, troubleshoot issues and optimize performance.
- Monitor all aspects of your AWS environment, including infrastructure, applications and user behavior.
- Configure automated alerts that notify you when metrics cross predefined thresholds or when critical events occur.
- Use a combination of monitoring tools, including AWS CloudWatch, third-party tools and custom scripts.
- Monitor across multiple dimensions, such as time, geography, user behavior and device type.
AWS monitoring is critical for ensuring optimal performance and avoiding downtime in the cloud. Monitoring tools can help you monitor the performance of your AWS resources. Follow best practices to ensure your AWS resources are running smoothly and to avoid costly downtime.
To get closer to true observability, use a combination of AWS native tools, Netreo and Retrace.
This post was written by Mercy Kibet. Mercy is a full-stack developer with a knack for learning and writing about new and intriguing tech stacks.