The 3-Step Process to start Monitoring Your AWS Cloud Environments

The 3-Step Process to Start Monitoring Your AWS Cloud Environments

The following recommendations will help you outline a path to setting up a proper monitoring program for your AWS instances or cloud environments.

Before we jump into our best practices for monitoring your AWS accounts, we highly recommend that you first read “So, You Want to Start Monitoring Your AWS Accounts?” to gain a perspective of how to first approach your cloud monitoring plan. As the popular saying goes, “A goal without a plan isn’t a goal, it’s a wish.” Or as our co-founder Mike Rothman frequently says, “Hope is not a strategy.”

Amazon Web Services has become the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) leader because it dramatically increases the velocity that development teams can operate. Yet AWS still requires internal resources to ensure their cloud environments are running smoothly and maintain sufficient security..

The cloud’s agility can quickly turn into a huge liability if not managed properly. This is why it is critical that a proper AWS monitoring tool and plan be put into practice to:

  • Reduce discovery time to detect and locate issues
  • Address these issues before they result in outages and failures
  • Ensure best practices for security and operations are enforced continuously

3-Steps to Implementing a Cloud Monitoring Plan

  • Go Wide: Collect and analyze data from all areas

AWS offers close to 200 distinct services and platforms that comprise your IaaS environment. It is vital to implement a monitoring plan that collects data from all areas of your AWS account, so that you have complete visibility. Maintaining a full view of all your AWS accounts allows you to analyze data, pinpointing potential issues and enabling a quicker correction of failures when they occur.

Basic monitoring questions to answer could include:

  • What resources are provisioned in your cloud?
  • How often are they being used?
  • Are they configured correctly?

Doing so will enable you to save time when navigating distinct areas within your AWS infrastructure to identify the root cause of issues.

By this time, you might feel a little overwhelmed, or have told yourself, “So far, they have only suggested we monitor every little detail across the entire environment. That seems like a lot.” And you would be right. We don’t believe you can “over monitoring” your cloud environments. Yet too many teams lack the resources to implement an extensive monitoring approach.

So how are we supposed to do this? The key is utilizing a cloud management platform allowing you to automate a majority of the ongoing monitoring, and allow your human resources to focus on troubleshooting and remediating significant issues..

  • Go Deep: Drill Down for Deeper Understanding

The problems that have the most harmful impact on IT environments usually occur when small issues are not addressed and then transform into major service-impacting outages. By going deep and drilling-down into your monitoring data ensures you have sufficient data to identify the root cause of issues and remediate efficiently. With a flexible and scalable monitoring platform in place, your cloud services can adjusted in real-time and you notified in a timely fashion, mitigating many cloud risks.  

  • Automate, Automate, Automate.

Automating common tasks is a tactic to improve efficiency across the IT spectrum, including your AWS cloud. With highly distributed teams possibly not even within the IT hierarchy having more control over provisioning resources and deploying applications, automation is becoming crucial as a means to automatically enforce corporate policies to ensure an consistent security posture exists across all of your cloud assets. Properly leveraging  automation is a great way of keeping up with configuration, security and compliance measures that play a key part in driving down costs and increasing productivity. [View our top 10 most commonly used guardrails for automating routine monitoring tasks.]

Keep in mind that AWS is constantly changing, as well as your applications and infrastructure deployed to the cloud. As you automate more and more of your monitoring environment, the last thing you want is have to update hundreds of distinct scripts and services to maintain complete visibility. This is where a commercial cloud management platform adds tremendous value, as the platform provider is on the hook to keep everything current and operational, so you can focus on more strategic tasks.

To learn about the AWS monitoring tools and automated ops available to help you, visit our guardrails library and see how we can help you monitor AWS security and performance.