Amazon CloudWatch vs AWS CloudTrail

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Amazon CloudWatch

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AWS CloudTrail

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Amazon CloudWatch vs AWS CloudTrail: What are the differences?

What is Amazon CloudWatch? Monitor AWS resources and custom metrics generated by your applications and services. With Amazon CloudWatch, you gain system-wide visibility into resource utilization, application performance, and operational health. Programmatically retrieve your monitoring data, view graphs, and set alarms to help you troubleshoot, spot trends, and take automated action based on the state of your cloud environment.

What is AWS CloudTrail? Record AWS API calls for your account and have log files delivered to you. With CloudTrail, you can get a history of AWS API calls for your account, including API calls made via the AWS Management Console, AWS SDKs, command line tools, and higher-level AWS services (such as AWS CloudFormation). The AWS API call history produced by CloudTrail enables security analysis, resource change tracking, and compliance auditing. The recorded information includes the identity of the API caller, the time of the API call, the source IP address of the API caller, the request parameters, and the response elements returned by the AWS service.

Amazon CloudWatch belongs to "Cloud Monitoring" category of the tech stack, while AWS CloudTrail can be primarily classified under "Log Management".

Some of the features offered by Amazon CloudWatch are:

  • Basic Monitoring for Amazon EC2 instances: ten pre-selected metrics at five-minute frequency, free of charge.
  • Detailed Monitoring for Amazon EC2 instances: seven pre-selected metrics at one-minute frequency, for an additional charge.
  • Amazon EBS volumes: eight pre-selected metrics at five-minute frequency, free of charge.

On the other hand, AWS CloudTrail provides the following key features:

  • Increased Visibility- CloudTrail provides increased visibility into your user activity by recording AWS API calls. You can answer questions such as, what actions did a given user take over a given time period? For a given resource, which user has taken actions on it over a given time period? What is the source IP address of a given activity? Which activities failed due to inadequate permissions?
  • Durable and Inexpensive Log File Storage- CloudTrail uses Amazon S3 for log file storage and delivery, so log files are stored durably and inexpensively. You can use Amazon S3 lifecycle configuration rules to further reduce storage costs. For example, you can define rules to automatically delete old log files or archive them to Amazon Glacier for additional savings.
  • Easy Administration- CloudTrail is a fully managed service

"Monitor aws resources" is the primary reason why developers consider Amazon CloudWatch over the competitors, whereas "Very easy setup" was stated as the key factor in picking AWS CloudTrail.

Airbnb, 9GAG, and Asana are some of the popular companies that use Amazon CloudWatch, whereas AWS CloudTrail is used by Netflix, Slack, and Seat Pagine Gialle. Amazon CloudWatch has a broader approval, being mentioned in 721 company stacks & 334 developers stacks; compared to AWS CloudTrail, which is listed in 38 company stacks and 11 developer stacks.

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Pros of Amazon CloudWatch
Pros of AWS CloudTrail
  • 76
    Monitor aws resources
  • 46
    Zero setup
  • 30
    Detailed Monitoring
  • 23
    Backed by Amazon
  • 19
    Auto Scaling groups
  • 11
    SNS and autoscaling integrations
  • 5
    Burstable instances metrics (t2 cpu credit balance)
  • 3
    HIPAA/PCI/SOC Compliance-friendly
  • 1
    Native tool for AWS so understand AWS out of the box
  • 7
    Very easy setup
  • 3
    Good integrations with 3rd party tools
  • 2
    Very powerful
  • 2
    Backup to S3

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Cons of Amazon CloudWatch
Cons of AWS CloudTrail
  • 1
    Poor Search Capabilities
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    What is Amazon CloudWatch?

    It helps you gain system-wide visibility into resource utilization, application performance, and operational health. It retrieve your monitoring data, view graphs to help take automated action based on the state of your cloud environment.

    What is AWS CloudTrail?

    With CloudTrail, you can get a history of AWS API calls for your account, including API calls made via the AWS Management Console, AWS SDKs, command line tools, and higher-level AWS services (such as AWS CloudFormation). The AWS API call history produced by CloudTrail enables security analysis, resource change tracking, and compliance auditing. The recorded information includes the identity of the API caller, the time of the API call, the source IP address of the API caller, the request parameters, and the response elements returned by the AWS service.

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    What companies use Amazon CloudWatch?
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    What tools integrate with Amazon CloudWatch?
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    Blog Posts

    Jul 9 2019 at 7:22PM

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    What are some alternatives to Amazon CloudWatch and AWS CloudTrail?
    Datadog
    Datadog is the leading service for cloud-scale monitoring. It is used by IT, operations, and development teams who build and operate applications that run on dynamic or hybrid cloud infrastructure. Start monitoring in minutes with Datadog!
    Splunk
    It provides the leading platform for Operational Intelligence. Customers use it to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine data.
    New Relic
    The world’s best software and DevOps teams rely on New Relic to move faster, make better decisions and create best-in-class digital experiences. If you run software, you need to run New Relic. More than 50% of the Fortune 100 do too.
    Prometheus
    Prometheus is a systems and service monitoring system. It collects metrics from configured targets at given intervals, evaluates rule expressions, displays the results, and can trigger alerts if some condition is observed to be true.
    Amazon Kinesis
    Amazon Kinesis can collect and process hundreds of gigabytes of data per second from hundreds of thousands of sources, allowing you to easily write applications that process information in real-time, from sources such as web site click-streams, marketing and financial information, manufacturing instrumentation and social media, and operational logs and metering data.
    See all alternatives