How to monitor EC2 instances with CloudWatch?

Cloud Performance

Monitoring your EC2 instances is absolutely necessary for smooth and stable cloud operations. And the good thing is that there are a number of different options available to you here, including the default one that Amazon has created.

Click this link to see some of the best monitoring services.

Although a number of third-party ones are available, most users will start with Amazon CloudWatch, and consider it the best ever monitoring service for their cloud presence. And they will not be wrong. CloudWatch tracks and monitors all the cloud resources and applications you have on AWS.

And it does it really, really well.

Here’s a brief rundown of what you are getting when you implement the CloudWatch monitoring service for your EC2 instances.

CloudWatch monitoring for EC2

Since CloudWatch is a native service, it works without installing any software or requiring you to configure its various options. You can be up and running instantly, all from a single panel, and view all kinds of graphs and statistics. CloudWatch also allows you to create reusable dashboards that you can use to monitor your AWS resources in one location.

Several powerful options are provided by this Amazon solution, including the following feature sets:

Easy management

Ease of use is what defines most AWS services, and CloudWatch is no different. It easily integrates with the various components of the Amazon cloud, and offers robust management facilities that allow you to start monitoring your cloud infrastructure in minutes.

Dynamic instance tracking

CloudWatch tracks EC2 instances dynamically. They are added to the monitoring inventory, as soon as they are created. And upon deletion, the service automatically removes them from the inventory.

Real-time usage

You can set up present alarms to trigger notifications moments after the fact, while CloudWatch also keeps tabs on event as they happen and provides all the necessary details for you to take action on.

Robust monitoring

Amazon CloudWatch is able to monitor all the key details of your instance, including its operating system, networking, CPU and disk utilizations, as well as the applications that you have running there. Web servers, databases, application servers, you name it!

Everything is accurately monitored, and actions triggered based on certain thresholds that you specify.


Creating and maintain logs is vital for cloud monitoring. These let you monitor and troubleshoot your systems and applications that are running on them. CloudWatch Logs are what you need to stay on top of your logs, and the service can also maintain and manage custom log files easily.

Custom metrics

Amazon also lets you customize what you want to monitor. These custom metrics can be the ones that are generated by your own applications. Submitting them to Amazon CloudWatch is easy enough with a simple API request. All the same CloudWatch functionality will be available to you at up to one-minute frequency for your own custom metric data including alarms, statistics, and graphs.

Limitations, it has a few

Although expansive and powerful, CloudWatch is not without its flaws. The most glaring of which is its web-based user interface, which is a serious drawback for power users and those that are running large cloud infrastructures on the AWS platform.

Since graphs are generated on-demand each time they are viewed, the UI quickly becomes slow and cumbersome, taking a long time to displays the data and results that you are looking for. All of this becomes frustrating when you have many metrics, or are viewing data across a large time range.

Still, if you are ready to go ahead and use CloudWatch on your Amazon cloud, then it is important to understand its key concepts and terminologies to make the most of this monitoring service. A detailed breakdown is available here for you to go through.