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Cloud Security 15 Min Read

50 Best AWS CloudWatch Tutorials

AWS is one of the largest and most popular cloud computing platforms. Amazon first began offering IT infrastructure services to businesses back in 2006. Today, AWS powers millions of customers spanning more than 190 countries around the world and offers more than 175 fully featured services.

One of those services is AWS CloudWatch, a resource monitoring platform that allows developers to see how their AWS environment is performing. It collects monitoring and operational data using logs, metrics, and events and visualizes that data in automated dashboards, giving you a unified view of what AWS resources are doing.

The combination of performance metrics and security monitoring from Threat Stack can provide a complete understanding of your cloud environment. Threat Stack is a leading intrusion detection platform that’s built in AWS and designed to serve AWS, providing customers with unprecedented visibility and advanced security capabilities.

For those new to AWS (and/or CloudWatch), it’s often overwhelming. Fortunately, many developers and cloud professionals have created tutorials covering everything from a basic overview of CloudWatch, its features, and how to use it to comprehensive how-tos on performing specific tasks and advanced functions.

We’ve rounded up 50 AWS CloudWatch tutorials below, ranging from broad, beginner topics to specific tutorials for advanced users. Scroll through the list to see the many possibilities for your resource monitoring. Find the right tutorial(s) you’re looking for and get started.

Note: This list isn’t ranked or rated in any way. Instead, the resources are listed alphabetically by the organization or presenter.

Building Dashboards with CloudWatch

Organization: 1Strategy

Twitter: @1Strategy_cloud

The primary use for CloudWatch is to keep an eye on infrastructure and applications to make sure everything is running correctly. But what happens when you need a custom dashboard?

In this detailed written tutorial, 1Strategy takes you through building your own dashboard step by step. If your setup is a bit too complicated for a third-party solution, creating a custom dashboard is often the best option.

You’ll learn:

  • How to create a new dashboard in AWS
  • Adding specific metrics and applications to your dashboard
  • How to adjust the reporting options such as time, requests and more

Creating A CloudWatch Dashboard

Organization: A Cloud Xpert

If you’re relatively skilled at using CloudWatch and want to skip to the TL;DR version, this incredibly succinct list of steps will likely help. Possibly the shortest tutorial on our list, it covers six steps with no videos or screenshots, so it’s ideal for those who are experienced with CloudWatch and already know their way around but want a quick guide on how to set up a custom dashboard.

Amazon AWS – CloudWatch Custom Metrics , Monitoring

Organization: ASM Educational Center

Twitter: @ASM_Educational

The ASM Educational Center has put together both a written and a video tutorial showing exactly how to build custom metrics and monitoring in AWS CloudWatch. The instructions are particularly handy for those who are looking to monitor EC2 capacity, along with other common metrics used in developing programs.

Specifically, this guide includes:

  • 19 individual steps from start to finish
  • Customizing monitoring intervals
  • Creating directories to store everything
  • Ensuring everything is working properly

Tutorial: Log the State of an Auto Scaling Group Using CloudWatch Events

Organization: AWS

Twitter: @awscloud

The most in-depth and effective tutorials for CloudWatch come from Amazon itself. This tutorial from AWS covers how to lock the state of an auto scaling group using events.

In this written guide you’ll find:

  • How to create an AWS Lambda function
  • Creating and testing rules
  • Various links to other needed resources

Tutorial: Schedule AWS Lambda Functions Using CloudWatch Events

Organization: AWS

Twitter: @awscloud

While Amazon would prefer you use their product, EventBridge, as the preferred way to manage events, they’ve also included a tutorial on how to schedule AWS Lambda functions using CloudWatch.

Like the other AWS instructions, you’ll see exactly which actions to take to:

  • Create Lambda functions
  • Create the event and choose the schedule
  • And ensure everything is working correctly

Tutorial: Set AWS Systems Manager Automation as a CloudWatch Events Target

Organization: AWS

Twitter: @awscloud

In this brief instructive guide, you’ll see how to create a rule to set up AWS Systems Manager automation as a CloudWatch events target. Again, there is a specific tool called EventBridge designed for managing events in AWS. However, there may be instances to do so directly in CloudWatch.

Create a Live Streaming CloudWatch Dashboard using AWS Elemental MediaStore Access Logs

Organization: AWS

Twitter: @awscloud

Live streaming video is fast becoming an important part of any business strategy. And with any video project, especially live, it involves a massive amount of data as well as many potential hiccups. In order for everything to run smoothly, detailed monitoring is necessary.

This tutorial from the AWS Media blog covers everything you need to know to put together your own live streaming dashboard.

Inside, you’ll see:

  • How to put together this dashboard in about 30 minutes
  • A list of all prerequisites you’ll need
  • Copy and paste code snippets to help you move even faster

Introduction to Top-Down Monitoring of Live Video Workflows

Organization: AWS

Twitter: @awscloud

Once you create a live video monitoring dashboard, you’ll want the team to understand exactly how to keep an eye on your live video workflows. This follow-up guide, also from the AWS Media blog, shows exactly how to monitor live video feeds top-down.

Topics covered include:

  • Ideas for various workflows, including simple and the more complex
  • Troubleshooting examples for your operations team
  • Plenty of links to additional useful resources

 

Monitoring Performance with CloudWatch Dashboards

Organization: AWS Online Tech Talks

Twitter: @awscloud

This virtual workshop highlights and shows how to configure a CloudWatch dashboard in order to see the health and performance of all your AWS resources. The workshop is more than one hour in length, providing a detailed how-to.

You’ll learn:

  • Performance efficiency design principles
  • How to configure Amazon CloudWatch Dashboards to monitor performance
  • How to use tradeoffs to improve performance

Observability with Containers: Deep Dive with Amazon CloudWatch and AWS X-Ray

Organization: AWS Online Tech Talks

Twitter: @awscloud

CloudWatch is capable of more than simple monitoring. When paired with the right tools, you’ll actually be able to observe and analyze applications. It’s done by using AWS X-Ray in conjunction with CloudWatch. This is a 40-minute video deep-dive into exactly how to accomplish more than simple monitoring.

Some things you’ll learn include:

  • Better leveraging of Container Insights
  • Using X-Ray to analyze applications
  • How to quickly identify and isolate unexpected changes in metrics

Introduction to Amazon CloudWatch Logs

Organization: AWS Training and Certification

Twitter: @awscloud

This video tutorial qualifies as a fundamental learning activity when it comes to Amazon CloudWatch. It’s only 10 minutes long, making it great for anyone who works near AWS but possibly not in development environments.

The quick course specifically covers Amazon CloudWatch logs, “a service that helps you monitor, store, and access your log files from Amazon elastic compute cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, AWS CloudTrail, Amazon Route 53, and other sources.”

Install And Use The Amazon CloudWatch Agent

Organization: Bitnami

Twitter: @bitnami

Haven’t used the Amazon CloudWatch Agent yet? This detailed documentation from Bitnami walks to you through a full installation and setup. While there’s no video, there are plenty of screenshots to walk you through the entire process, step-by-step.

In this installation guide, you’ll see:

  • Which commands to run at the console
  • How to create roles
  • Copy and paste code snippets

How create a CloudWatch alarm

Organization: CleanCloud

Twitter: @_cleancloud

Alarms are simple programs that monitor usage on a single metric that you’re tracking in your CloudWatch dashboard. Creating one of these alert systems is easy once you know how to do it properly. This tutorial, from CleanCloud, shows exactly how to create your own alarms.

This written tutorial shows:

  • How to choose which metric to track
  • Setting up your usage parameters
  • How to add more than one notification

Centralized Log Management with AWS CloudWatch

Organization: Cloud Academy

Twitter: @cloudacademy

This is part one of Cloud Academy’s three-part AWS CloudWatch tutorial series. For new members of your team, administrators, or if you’re simply making a switch to AWS, this is a fantastic introduction to CloudWatch. That said, it’s as detailed as it is introductory.

Topics covered include:

  • Explanation of basic terminology
  • Detailed explanations of EC2 and logs
  • How to send logs from EC2 Linux instances

Not Just Another AWS CloudWatch Tutorial

Organization: Cloud Nine Apps

Twitter: @CloudNineAppsCo

Much of the information in this tutorial is similar to the other introductory guides, but it’s concise and easy to understand to get you up and running quickly. If you have this guide open in one tab and CloudWatch in another, you’ll quickly have a good understanding of exactly what you’re looking at and what the program is capable of doing.

The written guide contains:

  • Bullet-pointed list of key capabilities
  • Detailed overview of “logs”
  • Explanation of trackable metrics and events

Use AWS CloudWatch to Increase Customer Satisfaction

Organization: Cloud Technology Experts

This instructional guide focuses on how to leverage CloudWatch to increase customer satisfaction rather than how to do something specific within the program itself. While many of the technical aspects are still the same, this article will show exactly how it translates into better business performance.

The guide covers:

  • A thorough overview of AWS CloudWatch and its functions
  • Specific use cases for that of an e-commerce store and others
  • A good idea of metrics to track and how to set up a notification when something goes wrong
  1. How to create a customized CloudWatch Dashboard with CloudFormation

Organization: Cloudonaut

AWS has many data tools, and most of these programs work in together in some way. This guide, from Cloudonaut, illustrates an example of the interconnectedness of AWS. While CloudWatch is a tool to monitor metrics and events, CloudFormation is a tool that helps you model and set up your AWS resources. Using both together creates a new level of monitoring capability.

In this resource, you’ll learn:

  • How to create a template in CloudFormation
  • Specific code to create update or even delete a dashboard
  • Generate the JSON code which describes the dashboard

How to Setup and Push Server/Application Logs to AWS CloudWatch

Organization: DevopsCube

Twitter: @devopscube

There are several key components to CloudWatch, including metrics, events, logs, and notifications. Many of the tutorials on our list cover an overview of every one of these elements within AWS. This tutorial from DevOps Cube takes a more granular approach, covering how to set up and push logs to CloudWatch.

This tutorial will teach you how to:

  • Create a custom role
  • Install logs EC2 agent
  • Configure log sources
  • Validate the logs

Publish Custom Metrics to AWS CloudWatch

Organization: DZone

Twitter: @DZoneInc

Another deep dive into a specific portion of CloudWatch is this guide from DZone. However, this tutorial focuses on how to create custom metrics for predictive scaling. The author used AWS Go SDK in this example, which is ideal for someone who fully understands AWS and wants a more customized metric experience.

The article includes:

  • Screenshots of metric creation
  • Code from the author’s process
  • Tons of relatable writing with tips to avoid common issues

Spring Boot: Metrics with Micrometer and AWS CloudWatch

Organization: DZone

Twitter: @DZoneInc

Java Spring Boot is used by developers to make application and microservice development faster. Making Spring Boot work with CloudWatch is a great idea if you’re using both programs already. What’s handy about this guide, from DZone, is that it comes in two versions: a very short tutorial showing exactly how to make it work and a longer version to explain why you would want to do it.

You’ll learn:

  • How to find the registry for Micrometer.io and CloudWatch
  • Setting up your configuration
  • Creating multiple sample metrics

Amazon CloudWatch: A Complete Guide

Organization: Edureka!

Twitter: @edurekaIN

This guide is part of a massive 56-blog course, covering all things AWS. It’s actually called the AWS Architect Certification Training, created by Edureka!. Going through the whole thing isn’t a bad idea. But if you’re only looking for CloudWatch, this single excerpt will do the trick — especially for an introduction to the monitoring tool.

Monitoring AWS services using the CloudWatch metricset

Organization: Elastic.co

Twitter: @elastic

If you’re using or plan on using any of the features from Elastic’s Metricbeat, this tutorial will be useful for you. Rather than adding a new metricset for each service in the AWS module, you can use the CloudWatch metricset to collect monitoring metrics from any service that publishes them.

In this guide, you’ll find information on:

  • Creating an IAM policy
  • Setting AWS credentials and configuring a metricset
  • Customizing Metricbeat

AWS CloudWatch (3 Parts)

Organization: Epsagon

Twitter: @epsagon

This is another micro-view, specifically looking at logs and insights in CloudWatch. There are some introductory pieces about how the tool works overall, but this tutorial specifically looks at logs and how to search through log data, analyze it, and even visualize it for valuable insights.

Here’s what you’ll see:

  • A generic way to feed logs
  • A description of query language
  • How to visualize your log data

Configure an open data stream to send metric data to AWS CloudWatch

Organization: ExtraHop

Twitter: @ExtraHop

ExtraHop is a system that provides tools for monitoring metrics, similar to AWS. If you’re using ExtraHop, one of the features is the open data stream or ODS. This feature allows you to configure a connection to a third-party monitoring tool, like CloudWatch. If you currently use both ExtraHop and AWS, this is a valuable tutorial for connecting them both.

What you’ll learn:

  • The prerequisites you need to make the connection
  • How to configure ODS target
  • Creating a trigger and testing the connection

How to Build a Robust Scheduled Task (Cron) Service in AWS Using CloudWatch, Lambda, DynamoDB and ECS

Organization: Fin Analytics

AWS offers several tools to monitor and store data in the cloud. One useful capability allows you to create scheduled task services, or cron tasks. Essentially, you can set up and use different tasks and run them at predefined frequencies. While there are third-party tools that allow you to do this quickly, the folks at Fin Analytics needed something a bit more comprehensive, so they built a custom scheduled task force and created this report to show others how they did it.

What you’ll learn:

  • A glimpse at their task-making process
  • Specifics on how all these tools work together in AWS
  • A detailed look at the code they use to create the tasks

AWS Monitoring Tutorials for Dynatrace SaaS/Managed

Organization: GitHub

Twitter: @github

GitHub is a popular place for developers to find useful tips, code, and (of course) tutorials. This guide is in written form but also has a link to the video tutorial for visual learners. If you’re using Dynatrace or plan to in the future, it’s a really valuable way to set up your AWS resource monitoring.

What is AWS? Amazon Cloud Services Tutorial

Organization: Guru99

Twitter: @guru99com

With well over 100 services, AWS is massive. While this tutorial isn’t specifically about CloudWatch, it does provide a valuable overview of all of AWS. If you’re considering switching from another cloud platform or just getting started with AWS, this will help you understand many of the services available.

Here’s what’s inside:

  • Description of cloud computing and AWS
  • Some of the most important services available
  • Applications and use cases for both AWS and the different services

Publish Custom Metrics to AWS CloudWatch

Organization: HackerNoon

Twitter: @hackernoon

The ability to create custom metrics and put them into a visual form in a central dashboard is powerful. Tutorials that focus on creating these metrics are among the most sought-after tutorials related to AWS CloudWatch. HackerNoon is a place for experienced programmers to find quick tutorials, and this is one of them, showcasing how to create various custom metrics in CloudWatch.

Examples of custom metrics you can create using this guide:

  • Memory used
  • Buffers
  • Memory available

Building an Amazon CloudWatch Dashboard Outside of the AWS Management Console

Organization: Idk.dev

Twitter: @AllocateDev

This is a tutorial, published by Idk.dev, is written by Steve McCurry, a Senior Product Manager for CloudWatch. It’s relatively short, showing you how to build a dashboard outside of the AWS Management Console. This is done by creating what McCurry calls a “snapshot” and embedding it in a third-party location.

Topics covered in the guide:

  • Creating the instances and metrics you track
  • Setting up the server
  • Setting up the client

How to configure AWS CloudWatch to stream application logs

Organization: Infinity

Twitter: @infinitypp

Application logs list events that occur in a software application; things like errors, warnings and other different events are tracked with logs. This tutorial covers how to use CloudWatch to monitor application logs as an alternative to ELK to stream logs in near real-time. Notifications can even be set in the instance of an error or warning within the app.

What you’ll learn in this tutorial:

  • How to create a config file to monitor log files
  • Copy and paste code that you can edit to your specific application
  • How to customize and filter out unnecessary notifications

AWS CloudWatch Tutorial: A Complete Guide 2020

Organization: Innovative Technology Solutions

If you simply want to track one or more of the predefined metrics available in CloudWatch, this resource will help. There isn’t a video, but there are detailed screenshots for each screen that you would see during the process of setting up your own dashboard. If you’re new to the tool, yet experienced in using AWS resources, this tutorial will have you up and running quickly.

What is CloudWatch in AWS? – AWS CloudWatch Tutorial

Organization: IntelliPaat

Twitter: @Intellipaat

This resource from IntelliPaat is a free introductory course that has helped thousands of AWS users. There’s a single 15-minute video that talks about what CloudWatch is as well as a brief overview and simple tutorial. The course also comes in a written format for those who prefer to read.

In the course:

  • How AWS CloudWatch works
  • Overview of CloudWatch alarms
  • Advantages of CloudWatch

Monitoring memory usage in AWS CloudWatch for Windows instance

Organization: IntelliPaat

Twitter: @Intellipaat

This is actually a tutorial submitted to the IntelliPaat forum by a community member. It focuses on how to monitor memory usage for a Windows instance. Because memory usage isn’t monitored by CloudWatch by default, this is a helpful way to gain some additional performance data if memory usage is a priority for you.

Amazon CloudWatch

Organization: JournalDev

Twitter: @JournalDev

JournalDev has a full line of AWS tutorials geared towards anyone interested in cloud computing. While the first few modules are heavily geared towards beginners with no experience with the cloud, the last half of the course gives a comprehensive look at multiple different facets of AWS — including CloudWatch.

Subjects covered:

  • Amazon CloudFront
  • CloudWatch
  • AWS Lambda

Monitoring Machine Learning Models Built in Amazon SageMaker

Organization: Loggly

Twitter: @loggly

SageMaker is a machine learning platform from Amazon. As AI and ML become a large part of application development, monitoring becomes more necessary as well. This tutorial includes an overview of why you’d want to monitor ML models and an explanation of SageMaker, as well as a “how to” for monitoring in CloudWatch.

Introducing AWS CloudWatch: Custom Metrics Integration

Organization: Metricly

Twitter: @Metricly

Custom metrics allow for businesses to track more than cloud data resources. For instance, a business may use CloudWatch to track things like purchase size or even how frequently customers purchase. This tutorial from Cloud Compass discusses how to track these custom metrics with their Metricly plugin.

What is AWS Cloudwatch – AWS CloudWatch Tutorial

Organization: MindMajix

Twitter: @Mindmajix

Using alerts and notifications in your cloud data storage solution allows for the fastest response time when something goes wrong. This guide focuses primarily on CloudWatch alarms and dashboards but also provides some useful background information on the need for cloud-based monitoring.

What you’ll learn:

  • An overview of how CloudWatch works and its benefits
  • Creating dashboards for monitoring
  • Configuring alarms

AWS CloudWatch tutorial for beginners

Presented by: Online Tutorials

This is a YouTube video from the Online Tutorials channel. At an hour and nine minutes long, there’s no stone left unturned when it comes to AWS CloudWatch. It’s a very detailed screen share presentation, so you’ll see everything the instructor is doing. There’s a basic overview of the service, a detailed explanation of every screen of the interface, and a demonstration of how to create events, rules, and logs in CloudWatch.

AWS Security Logging Fundamentals – VPC Flow Logs

Organization: Panther

Twitter: @panther__labs

Flow logs allow security engineers to get a look at traffic flowing through their infrastructure, giving you a bird’s-eye view of what’s happening in the virtual spaces you monitor. Amazon VPC flow logs gather information about traffic moving in and out of network interfaces within your VPC. This tutorial covers the basics of VPC flow logs and also walks you through the basic setup.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Use cases for flow logs
  • Detailed description of metadata
  • Setting up an enabling your VPC flow logs

AWS CloudWatch Metrics, Logs, Alarms, and Dashboards

Organization: Pulumi

Twitter: @PulumiCorp

This is not the most detailed tutorial on our list, but it does cover quite a bit of ground. If you already have experience with other AWS tools, this will likely be all you need to configure CloudWatch for your particular use case. And while it does mention a lot in a short amount of space, there are multiple links for further reading.

In the guide:

  • Configuring logging
  • Collecting and monitoring metrics
  • Creating alarms and dashboards

How to create an AWS CloudWatch monitoring service

Organization: Pulumi

Twitter: @PulumiCorp

If you’re using Pulumi in conjunction with AWS, this resource is for you. This copy and paste code snippet will get you up and running much faster. It’s not much more than the sample code along with a quick copy button.

According to the post, “The @pulumi/aws library enables fine-grained control over the AWS CloudWatch resource meaning it can be coded, deployed, and managed entirely in code.”

Monitoring Applications With Custom CloudWatch Metrics Using AWS Systems Manager

Organization: Rapyder

Twitter: @TheRapyder

This tutorial from Rapyder is easy-to-understand and contains dozens of images and snippets to show you how to monitor applications with custom CloudWatch metrics using the AWS Systems Manager. It walks you through how to install and configure the SSM agent in order to send your custom metric data to the monitoring dashboard in CloudWatch.

What you get:

  • Download link for the SSM Agent
  • Each individual step outlined and shown in screenshots
  • Specific code to use in your own setup

Tracking API Gateway metrics in Serverless applications

Organization: Serverless

Twitter: @goserverless

Building custom web APIs is a highly sought-after capability that promotes integration and increases the value of multiple tools used in conjunction with one another. However, monitoring these API connections is often troublesome. For developers using serverless technologies for their web API, there is a way to track this in AWS CloudWatch.

This tutorial shows:

  • Potential problems with monitoring your API connections
  • How serverless is fixing these issues
  • Successfully monitor API connections

Complete Tutorial on AWS IoT Core Python boto3 Lambda Function Cloud Watch

Presented by: Soumil Nitin Shah

This is a light-hearted tutorial that’s valuable for those developing IoT device programs. There’s also a detailed AWS article that the presenter covers in this video. It’s only about 20 minutes long, which is short for a complete tutorial, so it’s a bit fast-paced but covers a lot of information.

Targeting a specific SQS queue in AWS CloudWatch and AutoScaling

Organization: Stack Overflow

Twitter: @StackOverflow

This is a community forum post on Stack Overflow. It made the list due to the highly specified content as well as multiple useful answers and links to other tutorials. It’s a resource of resources from fellow developers offering insights and information on how to set autoscaling and alarms on a specific queue but not others.

AWS Lambda with Python: A Complete Getting Started Guide

Organization: Stackify

Twitter: @Stackify

Python is a commonly used coding language, and AWS Lambda is one of the most popular serverless computing platforms. It’s not unusual how to use AWS Lambda in conjunction with CloudWatch. All of this means that those who program in Python use Lambda and CloudWatch will likely want to see how it can all work together.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn:

  • The benefits of Lambda’s serverless solution
  • How to create a simple Lambda function using Python
  • How to bind them all together

Sending CloudWatch Custom Metrics From Lambda With Code Examples

Organization: Stackify

Twitter: @Stackify

Speaking of Lambda, here is another tutorial that shows you how everything works together (when done properly). Lambda is commonly used to send custom metrics to CloudWatch for monitoring. This written guide will help you figure things out quickly, too.

What you’ll learn:

  • Create an IAM policy and user
  • Install AWS SDK for using Python
  • All code necessary to get the job done

Centralized Logging with Django, Docker, and CloudWatch

Organization: TestDriven.io

Twitter: @testdrivenio

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to configure a containerized Django app running an EC2 instance and get it all to send the logs to Amazon CloudWatch. Docker is the containerization tool for your Django project. With an EC2 instance, you’ll be able to monitor the resources within AWS.

In this guide:

  • Create IAM role and attach it to the instance
  • Set up the log group
  • Configure an update the Django and Docker

Amazon CloudWatch

Organization: Tutorials Dojo

Twitter: @tutorialsdojo

This is one of the most comprehensive written guides on our list. It is more of an entry-level resource covering basic concepts, making it an excellent tutorial for those who are just getting started with CloudWatch or want to learn how to get the most out of CloudWatch for monitoring their AWS resources and applications.

What you’ll learn from Tutorials Dojo:

  • Concepts, key terms, and explanations for all things CloudWatch
  • Actual screenshots from the interface (with explanations)
  • Information about the CloudWatch product itself, including pricing tiers

Monitoring and TroubleShooting using CloudWatch

Organization: TutorialsPoint

Twitter: @tutorialspoint

Most of the tutorials on this list show you how to set up monitoring and your dashboard in CloudWatch. This troubleshooting guide is one entry into dozens of different AWS tutorials available from Tutorials Point. There are multiple steps covered, including how to best monitor and troubleshoot if you have issues with the interface.