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Amazon Route 53
Developer Guide (API Version 2013-04-01)

Types of Amazon Route 53 Health Checks

You can create three types of Amazon Route 53 health checks:

Health checks that monitor an endpoint

You can configure a health check that monitors an endpoint that you specify either by IP address or by domain name. At regular intervals that you specify, Amazon Route 53 submits automated requests over the internet to your application, server, or other resource to verify that it's reachable, available and functional. Optionally, you can configure the health check to make requests similar to those that your users make, such as requesting a web page from a specific URL.

Health checks that monitor CloudWatch alarms

You can create CloudWatch alarms that monitor the status of CloudWatch metrics, such as the number of throttled read events for a Amazon DynamoDB database or the number of Elastic Load Balancing hosts that are considered healthy. After you create an alarm, you can create a health check that monitors the same data stream that CloudWatch monitors for the alarm.

To improve resiliency and availability, Amazon Route 53 doesn't wait for the CloudWatch alarm to go into the ALARM state. The status of a health check changes from healthy to unhealthy based on the data stream and on the criteria in the CloudWatch alarm. The status of a health check can change from healthy to unhealthy even before the state of the corresponding alarm has changed to ALARM in CloudWatch.

Health checks that monitor other health checks

You can create a health check that monitors whether Amazon Route 53 considers other health checks healthy or unhealthy. One situation where this might be useful is when you have multiple resources that perform the same function, such as multiple web servers, and your chief concern is whether some minimum number of your resources are healthy. You can create a health check for each resource without configuring notification for those health checks. Then you can create a health check that monitors the status of the other health checks and that notifies you only when the number of available web resources drops below a specified threshold.