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Amazon Web Service or AWS has an immense cloud ecosystem now counting at over 200 services and products. Started with first generation services like EC2, S3, and RDS, now you can have satellite control centers, build virtual reality, and compose music using Artificial Intelligence.
As the variety of services expanded, the necessity to monitor all those services efficiently became critical. Running a service without a proper monitoring system is no different from running while blind-folded. This article discusses the best AWS monitoring management tool that can help you effectively monitor your AWS resources and ensure smooth operations.
But, before we dive into the topic, check MetricFire. MetricFire offers powerful monitoring solutions using Hosted Grafana and Hosted Graphite. You can start monitoring cloud resources intuitively with minimal configuration.
What is AWS monitoring?
When we plan and design a monitoring stack, the first important step is understanding the target system. In our case, it is AWS. As mentioned, AWS is a vast place that has diverse services and products. When you use AWS, it is likely that you use multiple services. Depending on a service you use, there can be different elements you mainly want to monitor. For example, if you run a server on EC2, you will want to look at traffic, memory and CPU usage, disk space utilization, and more.
If you use S3, you will want to check the storage size your objects take. If you use RDS, metrics such as network throughput, connections, and I/O for read and write would be of your interest. As there are many services you can use in AWS, so are the number of metrics types you want to check.
Thus, in AWS monitoring, having a single point to look at is an essential factor to achieve efficiency and productivity in metrics monitoring, and this can be accomplished by choosing the right monitoring tool. Let’s find out what tools we can use to achieve this.
AWS monitoring management tools
When people are looking for a way to monitor their AWS resources, they often start exploring AWS CloudWatch which is the cloud platform’s main monitoring service. CloudWatch provides many convenient features that allow users to search through logs and view visualized metrics. However, it might not be the best option for everyone depending on your monitoring goal and preference. In this section, we will learn the major features of CloudWatch and what can be a good alternative.
CloudWatch collects monitoring and operational logs, metrics, and events from the AWS resources you are using. It is user-friendly and suitable for not only developers and engineers but also for IT managers. There are three major benefits that CloudWatch provides to users.
- Single monitoring platform across applications: although you have distributed AWS resources, you can use CloudWatch as a single place to monitor all your resources.
- Improved operational efficiency and resource optimization: you can set alerts not to lose sight of abnormal usage of your resources, take actions to reduce redundant use of your resources, and save your AWS bills.
- Operational visibility: you can have real-time granular data and search historical data as well. CloudWatch gives you automatic dashboards that visualize monitoring metrics and data that can be stored for 15 months.
In addition to these, CloudWatch offers more monitoring features. However, the monitoring service is fundamentally a managed service by AWS. When you use a managed service, you will basically have to follow their rules and can face limitations. One good solution to this is integrating CloudWatch into hosted Graphite.
MetricFire’s Hosted Graphite
Alternatively, you can consider our Hosted Graphite. Graphite is an open-source monitoring tool that runs reliably on both on-premise hardware or cloud infrastructure. People use Graphite to track the performance of their websites, applications, networks, IoT devices, and other infrastructure devices. We will cover hosted Graphite in more detail in the later section, but you can gain certain benefits.
- Lower cost custom metrics: unlike AWS CloudWatch, you can have flexibility in metrics customization since it is built under the open-source project. When you need help, you can get support from our engineers to help customization. All these features come at a lower cost.
- Lower cost long-term storage: Hosted Graphite offers longer-term (up to 2 years) and 3x redundant data storage to ensure any loss prevention and seamless scaling of your data.
- Lower cost overall: as you have more services to monitor in AWS, your bill can be built up fast. MetricFire provides more flexible and affordable pricing plans to meet your various needs.
In addition to these major features, you can further benefit from the following functionalities.
- Hosted Graphite backs up your user data and dashboard every hour.
- You are in good hands with MetricFire's technical experts.
- MetricFire offers an extensive range of options for users of all sizes with plans and customization to meet your needs.
- MetricFire’s on-call team is ready 24/7, 365 days. Our team keeps watching your hosted Graphite from around the world using an automated monitoring system.
- We have been ingesting billions of data points per day since 2012. Our mature metric processing and storage capabilities are trusted by thousands of engineers.
- You can directly send metrics from your application without additional dependencies or aggregation services.
Furthermore, Hosted Graphite can collect monitoring metrics from diverse sources including AWS, other cloud platforms, and your on-premise infrastructure as well. It can then be your central monitoring resource that encompasses all your IT assets.
What is Hosted Graphite?
There are certainly advantages when you use an open-source project. The biggest attraction would be the fact that you can use all the features it offers without having to buy a license. However, it becomes your responsibility to manage many aspects of the software from installation and configuration to maintenance and operation. When your team has to deal with these, it can reduce productivity and prevent the team from performing what matters the most.
Hosted Graphite by MetricFire aims at providing all of the Graphite’s features as well as enhanced functionalities developed by MetricFire. Plus, users don’t have to worry about maintaining the infrastructure. You can start using Graphite with minimal configuration and effort.
Visualize metrics with Grafana as a Service
Using Hosted Graphite, you can generate time-series metrics and monitor them. Although Graphite comes with a dashboard, if you want to expand visualization capabilities, you may want to check Grafana. Grafana is also an open-source analytics and interactive visualization web application. You can customize charts, graphs, and alerts. On top of its visualization features, you can design its back end. With its extensive features, you can create customized dashboards and run queries to generate the metrics you want. Grafana can be easily integrated with Graphite and they can work together seamlessly.
Grafana comes with an advanced Graphite query editor that allows you to quickly browse through the metric space. It also lets you add functions, change function parameters, and much more. The editor can handle all types of graphite queries. It can even accept complex nested queries through the use of query references. Selecting metrics and functions doesn't require much effort in Grafana. You can simply select your metrics name and a function you want to edit on the UI. You can also systematically assign query variables and set up annotations. Grafana provides many more options to control your metrics and visualization. Also, there are ample examples of good dashboard design and you can use a pre-built design by importing a template file.
However, like Graphite, due to the nature of open source, installing and maintaining it can become a burden to your team. MetricFire offers Grafana as a Service to lessen the unnecessary burden and help you to focus on the monitoring task itself.
In this article, we have learned about the best AWS monitoring management tools. AWS has a great amount of services and products and they will further grow in the future. If you have digital assets in the cloud platform, having an effective monitoring stack will be a key to smooth operation. Although AWS has CloudWatch, you may want to have more flexibility in terms of cost, types of metrics, visualization, data retention period, customization, and support. MetricFire’s hosted Graphite and Grafana can be a great option for you. Combined together, you can access diverse metrics and intuitive dashboards.