Amazon CloudWatch
User Guide

What is Amazon CloudWatch?

Amazon CloudWatch monitors your Amazon Web Services (AWS) resources and the applications you run on AWS in real time. You can use CloudWatch to collect and track metrics, which are variables you can measure for your resources and applications. CloudWatch alarms send notifications or automatically make changes to the resources you are monitoring based on rules that you define. For example, you can monitor the CPU usage and disk reads and writes of your Amazon EC2 instances and then use this data to determine whether you should launch additional instances to handle increased load. You can also use this data to stop under-used instances to save money. In addition to monitoring the built-in metrics that come with AWS, you can monitor your own custom metrics. With CloudWatch, you gain system-wide visibility into resource utilization, application performance, and operational health.

Accessing CloudWatch

You can access CloudWatch using any of the following methods:

The following services are used along with Amazon CloudWatch:

  • Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) coordinates and manages the delivery or sending of messages to subscribing endpoints or clients. You use Amazon SNS with CloudWatch to send messages when an alarm threshold has been reached. For more information, see Set Up Amazon SNS Notifications.

  • Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling enables you to automatically launch or terminate Amazon EC2 instances based on user-defined policies, health status checks, and schedules. You can use a CloudWatch alarm with Auto Scaling to scale your EC2 instances based on demand. For more information, see Dynamic Scaling in the Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling User Guide.

  • AWS CloudTrail enables you to monitor the calls made to the Amazon CloudWatch API for your account, including calls made by the AWS Management Console, AWS CLI, and other services. When CloudTrail logging is turned on, CloudWatch writes log files to the Amazon S3 bucket that you specified when you configured CloudTrail. For more information, see Logging Amazon CloudWatch API Calls in AWS CloudTrail.

  • AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a web service that helps you securely control access to AWS resources for your users. Use IAM to control who can use your AWS resources (authentication) and what resources they can use in which ways (authorization). For more information, see Authentication and Access Control for Amazon CloudWatch.