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AWS CloudWatch is a great monitoring tool that is convenient to use to monitor your AWS services as well as on-premises applications and infrastructure. CloudWatch is a powerful tool because of the broad types of data monitoring capabilities that it has. CloudWatch has a granularity of up to 1 second, with data retention up to 15 months. However, the real power of AWS CloudWatch comes into play when you look at the default metrics available for AWS services. CloudWatch has built in metrics from more than 70 AWS services, making it the easiest tool to use to monitor AWS products.
However, when you look at how the service is priced, you'll see the pricing can grow upwards of tens of thousands of dollars a month for large systems monitoring.
This article will look into some examples of the CloudWatch pricing scheme, and show you ways to reduce your monitoring costs by sending your CloudWatch data to MetricFire.
Many CloudWatch customers also become interested in MetricFire when they are looking for a secondary platform that offers more flexibility. MetricFire allows for a broad set of plugins, such as those through Grafana labs, as well as unlimited dashboarding, querying and alerting. Connect AWS CloudWatch to MetricFire as a data source in the MetricFire free trial, and start exploring today.
The CloudWatch Pricing Structure
The pricing for AWS CloudWatch depends on what you're doing with CloudWatch. The pricing is calculated by taking into account the metrics, dashboards, alarms, logs, events and more. There is special pricing for custom metrics, and also each API request is charged at 0.01 USD.
Metrics are priced in the following way:
- First 10,000 metrics - 0.30 USD per metric
- Next 240,000 metrics - 0.10 USD per metric
- Next 750,000 metrics - 0.05 USD per metric
- Over 1,000,000 metrics - 0.02 USD per metric
As well, additional prices are calculated as follows:
- Dashboards are 3.00 USD per dashboard
- Alarms are 0.10 USD per alarm at a standard resolution of 60 seconds
- Logs are 0.50 USD per GB for the first 10 TB
- API requests are 0.01 USD per request
To take a look at how this breaks down, for just 5,000 metrics at AWS CloudWatch, the monthly cost will already be 1,500 USD. Adding on top of that 100 dashboards and 100 alarms the cost goes up to 1,810.00 USD a month, which is 21,720.00 USD a year, without even considering APIs, logs, storage, customizations, events or consultations.
In another example, if you wanted to monitor only 5 metrics, but you wanted to do it for a large system with 50,000 instances, AWS CloudWatch would count that at 250,000 metrics (5 metrics*50,000 instances). This would come to a total cost of 27,000 USD monthly. Then each API request at each instance costs 0.01 USD, which would total above 4,000 USD a month, pushing the monthly total over 30,000 USD.
As you can see, for large systems, the cost of monitoring with AWS CloudWatch can become very high. There are a lot of alternative tools out there for server, infrastructure, and application monitoring - though in most cases, users are not looking to fully leave AWS CloudWatch. They're looking for tools that can bring further functionality to the monitoring stack, while also keeping costs down.
MetricFire is a great alternative for bringing in stronger customization, and it's very easy to use alongside CloudWatch.
What is MetricFire?
MetricFire is an alternative or parallel service to CloudWatch that goes beyond CloudWatch in user-driven customizations, all at a reduced cost. MetricFire is a full-scale platform that offers infrastructure, system, and application monitoring using a suite of hosted open-source monitoring tools. The platform allows you to use either Hosted Prometheus or Graphite-as-a-Service and have your metrics displayed on aesthetically-pleasing Grafana dashboards. You can try out a free trial with MetricFire, and connect MetricFire and AWS CloudWatch today.
At MetricFire we offer a great monitoring solution built on the open source Prometheus, Graphite and Grafana for a fraction of the cost. For our Premium Annual plan, the cost comes out to 3,849 USD monthly for 2 Year Retention, 5s Resolution, 250 Alerts, 150,000 Metrics, 50 Team Users and 25 Light Users. With no extra billing per dashboard, extra plugin installs, or API requests. Our plans can be any price under 3,849 USD, all the way down to 85 USD per month. Check out our plans on our pricing page for more details.
Connecting AWS CloudWatch to MetricFire
You can actually connect your AWS CloudWatch account to MetricFire so you can reduce the amount of metrics you monitor with CloudWatch, while still getting the benefit of monitoring the essentials with CloudWatch.
MetricFire's hosted Graphite provides an Amazon AWS CloudWatch add-on available in the Add-Ons page of your account. This add-on syncs the metrics from the specified AWS services/regions into your account.
To connect to your CloudWatch account, you need to setup Identity and Access Management (IAM) access keys in your AWS Account, with the appropriate permissions to allow MetricFire's Hosted Graphite to connect and collect your metrics.
MetricFire is More Flexible
MetricFire allows for more flexibility as customers can download any premade dashboards from Grafana labs, and apply it directly in their MetricFire account, free of charge. Our enterprise customers also get the following flexibilities that aren't offered at CloudWatch:
- 2 year retention of data, or more
- Unlimited alerts
- Millions of metrics
- Unlimited team users
- Customizable Grafana dashboards
- Customizable data sources
- A huge selection of plugins from 3rd party sources, Prometheus.io, Grafana.io and more
- 24/7 customer service by engineers for engineers
MetricFire is known to be more flexible than AWS, allowing for customized metrics, dashboards, alerts and notifications. With MetricFire, users have as much flexibility as using their own installation of an open-source product, but with none of the hassle of the set up.
Our Hosted Grafana allows users to have the full capabilities of dashboarding with Grafana. Users can set up their own dashboards, or download dashboards from the Grafana community and apply them in our platform.
We have no vendor lock-in, meaning you have full accessibility to your data, and freedom to set up your own Prometheus or Graphite monitoring systems at any time. Check out our article for more information about CloudWatch alternatives.
To try out MetricFire, sign up for the free trial, and start sending your AWS CloudWatch data into our platform. You can also book a demo and talk to us directly about your company's monitoring needs.