Top 5 AWS Monitoring and Optimization Tools in 2020

As organizations move their infrastructure and application workloads to the cloud, AWS has emerged as a leading cloud services provider. Businesses rely on a wide of AWS offerings including databases, servers, load balancer, content delivery network, message queues, and more. However, getting visibility into the health and performance of AWS resources can be challenging. Traditional infrastructure monitoring solutions aren’t equipped to monitor distributed environments. Organizations need modern solutions to support AWS monitoring to ensure higher security and performance with proper resource allocation. With the help of a capable AWS monitoring tool, DevOps teams can collect performance data in the form of logs, events, metrics, and traces. By collecting and correlating all this information, teams can get a unified view of different AWS resources, applications, and services. In this article, we’ll discuss the top 5 tools for AWS monitoring.

Top 5 AWS Monitoring Tools

  1. AppOptics
  2. Papertrail
  3. Zabbix
  4. Prometheus
  5. Nagios

1. AppOptics

screenshot of solarwinds appoptics showing aws performance

SolarWinds® AppOptics is a leading application performance monitoring (APM) solution offering end-to-end monitoring with several AWS metrics, traces, and logs. The solution offers 150 out-of-the-box integrations and plugins and covers 30 AWS services. You can get a simple view of availability and performance of various critical AWS services using pre-configured dashboards. With these dashboards, you can visualize basic CPU usage, memory and disk utilization, and network I/O, and drill down further using different time-series metrics. The dashboards also offer a single pane of glass to monitor and correlate APM, infrastructure, and AWS platform metrics.

Unlike other infrastructure monitoring solutions, AppOptics is easier to implement and use. AppOptics code-level diagnostics, along with distributed tracing and exception tracking features, help you get to the root cause of issues faster. You can also benefit from AWS logging with AppOptics as it integrates seamlessly with log management solutions like Papertrail and Loggly®. The integration allows single-click access to logs associated with every transaction. AppOptics also allows configuring threshold-based alerts for proactive monitoring. A high degree of automation with the simplicity of SaaS makes AppOptics a highly popular solution for AWS monitoring. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial of AppOptics for evaluation.

2. Papertrail

screenshot of solarwinds papertrail showing all events

Papertrail is a popular cloud-based log management solution for search and analysis of AWS logs. DevOps teams find the AWS logging solution extremely helpful in troubleshooting application performance issues, as logs hold crucial information regarding every event, which doesn’t surface with traces and metrics alone. As discussed above, the solution also integrates easily with AppOptics.

Papertrail helps collect and analyze AWS logs along with other application and infrastructure logs in one location for unified search and analytics. You can configure some Amazon services to send logs to Papertrail directly, instead of routing them via CloudWatch. It automatically parses these logs and allows you to view events in real-time using an intuitive event viewer. The solution supports live tail and simple search and allows you to get quick results for search queries. DevOps teams can save important searches to avoid typing complex queries during the troubleshooting process. With live velocity analytics, Papertrail allows identification of surges or drops in log volumes. It’s a crucial feature, as the variation in log volumes often signals performance or security issues. Moreover, Papertrail integrates with common notification services (e.g., Slack, Pagerduty, etc.) for alerts. Getting started with Papertrail is easy; you can get a free trial of Papertrail here.

3. Zabbix

screenshot of zabbix's global view dashboard

Zabbix is a free, open-source tool offering real-time metrics-based monitoring of servers, virtual machines, cloud infrastructure, network devices, and more. Being open source, it’s a highly flexible option for configuring a monitoring setup based on your organization’s requirements. You can use different widgets to create monitoring dashboards, network maps, graphs, and drill-down reports. With widgets, you can also automatically discover your AWS S3 buckets and instances running over AWS services such as EC2, RDS, EMR, etc. It also provides several templates for AWS monitoring. You can learn more about the tool and its capabilities here.

4. Prometheus

screenshot of prometheus's dashboard

Prometheus is another popular open-source monitoring solution offering easy visibility into cloud-based infrastructure with metrics. The platform gathers time-series data under different key/value pairs and metric names. Prometheus offers auto-discovery, which allows you to monitor your EC2 instances without spending too much time in the initial setup. You can also use the CloudWatch exporter to collect metrics from ELB and other AWS services. It integrates with Grafana for visualization. With its notification manager, you can configure intelligent alerts. While the solution offers a high level of flexibility for monitoring cloud-native applications, it can pose configuration challenges, where you might have to rely on community support. Learn more about the solution here.

5. Nagios

nagios's current network status report

Nagios is well known for its IT infrastructure monitoring capabilities. This open-source tool can also help in monitoring AWS resources. You can use Amazon S3 and EC2 wizards to simplify initial setup and collect a wide range of metrics, including CPU Utilization, CPU Credit Usage/Balance, Network In/Out, Bucket Size, All/Get/Put Requests, 4XX and 5XX Errors, and more. With these metrics, you can quickly detect network outages or issues within your cloud computing environment. With proactive monitoring, you can maximize the availability of various servers, applications, and services. You can find more information about the tool here.

Conclusion

A wide range of AWS monitoring tools is available, and in this article, we’ve highlighted some of the best options. These tools can help you in monitoring multiple AWS instances by capturing various performance metrics. However, for end-to-end monitoring and troubleshooting of application issues in a live environment, you’ll also need access to logs and traces. In this respect, we recommend AppOptics as the best solution for AWS monitoring. The solution is easy to implement, offers a high level of automation, and comes with several preconfigured dashboards, which make monitoring a breeze. Start a free trial of AppOptics today.