Enabling Metrics for the AWS SDK for Java - AWS SDK for Java

Enabling Metrics for the AWS SDK for Java

The AWS SDK for Java can generate metrics for visualization and monitoring with CloudWatch that measure:

  • your application’s performance when accessing AWS

  • the performance of your JVMs when used with AWS

  • runtime environment details such as heap memory, number of threads, and opened file descriptors


The AWS SDK Metrics for Enterprise Support is another option for gathering metrics about your application. SDK Metrics is an AWS service that publishes data to Amazon CloudWatch and enables you to share metric data with AWS Support for easier troubleshooting. See Enabling AWS SDK Metrics for Enterprise Support to learn how to enable the SDK Metrics service for your application.

How to Enable AWS SDK for Java Metric Generation

AWS SDK for Java metrics are disabled by default. To enable it for your local development environment, include a system property that points to your AWS security credential file when starting up the JVM. For example:


You need to specify the path to your credential file so that the SDK can upload the gathered datapoints to CloudWatch for later analysis.


If you are accessing AWS from an Amazon EC2 instance using the Amazon EC2 instance metadata service, you don’t need to specify a credential file. In this case, you need only specify:


All metrics captured by the SDK for Java are under the namespace AWSSDK/Java, and are uploaded to the CloudWatch default region (us-east-1). To change the region, specify it by using the cloudwatchRegion attribute in the system property. For example, to set the CloudWatch region to us-west-2, use:


Once you enable the feature, every time there is a service request to AWS from the AWS SDK for Java, metric data points will be generated, queued for statistical summary, and uploaded asynchronously to CloudWatch about once every minute. Once metrics have been uploaded, you can visualize them using the AWS Management Console and set alarms on potential problems such as memory leakage, file descriptor leakage, and so on.

Available Metric Types

The default set of metrics is divided into three major categories:

AWS Request Metrics

Covers areas such as the latency of the HTTP request/response, number of requests, exceptions, and retries.

AWS Service Metrics

Include AWS service-specific data, such as the throughput and byte count for S3 uploads and downloads.

Machine Metrics

Cover the runtime environment, including heap memory, number of threads, and open file descriptors.

If you want to exclude Machine Metrics, add excludeMachineMetrics to the system property:


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