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AWS Improves Container Monitoring, Part 1: Observability

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has made available in preview two new components of the CloudWatch service: Amazon CloudWatch Container Insights and Amazon CloudWatch Anomaly Detection. The aim of these components is to improve the observability of containerized applications.

Containerized applications pose new challenges to IT operations teams when it comes to monitoring. Monitoring and troubleshooting of old-school, monolithic applications was relatively straightforward. When something went wrong, a SysAdmin would remote desktop or SSH into the machine and then look at the logs.

Nowadays, applications built using microservices may have tens, hundreds, or even thousands of functions. Containers are often ephemeral, being spun up or spun down as the workload requires. They don’t persist like traditional physical or virtual machines. IT teams relying on traditional tools are ill-equipped for monitoring or troubleshooting containerized environments.

The new CloudWatch components integrate metrics, logs, and traces together to provide observability. Observability is not created by a checkbox in your code or your AWS console – it results from a combination of people, process, and technology that provides IT professionals insight into the state of their environment.

Because these new CloudWatch services are in the preview phase, AWS recommends limiting their use to test environments and not using them in production until after the general availability release.

Our Take

The move from monolithic to microservice architectures has made some things easier (development throughput, QA) in exchange for making other things more difficult (monitoring, troubleshooting).

CloudWatch Container Insights and CloudWatch Anomaly Detection provide a sorely needed monitoring layer to make life easier on the operations side of containerized applications.

See the other notes in this series for more detail about Container Insights and Anomaly Detection.


Want to Know More?

AWS Improves Container Monitoring, Part 2: Container Insights

AWS Improves Container Monitoring, Part 3: Anomaly Detection