AWS – EC2 Monitoring

AWS EC2 Monitoring and Management

An important part of APM for Cloud solutions, especially when you’re running applications in Amazon Web Services, is a complete EC2 Monitoring solution. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a central part of Amazon’s cloud computing platform, providing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Different virtual private server specifications may be customized by the user and billed by the hour, minute, or second, providing a highly-elastic infrastructure framework. Monitoring EC2 instances is both difficult (since it is not technically controlled by the user) and easy (since there are several Amazon API’s designed to help get some information).

The Instana agent will automatically detect that it is running on an EC2 instance and install the AWS EC2 Monitoring Sensor.

AWS EC2 Performance and Configuration Metrics

EC2 monitoring of cloud-based application performance and availability isn’t as straight-forward as monitoring an on-premise (or hosted) server since EC2 instances tend to be temporary. Furthermore, the platforms installed on any EC2 instance should be the center of application monitoring activity. For that reason, Instana’s EC2 monitoring focuses on EC2 configuration data for each instance. Since each virtual machine is essentially a blank slate that customers can instantiate, start, and stop.

Instana’s EC2 Monitoring includes the following configuration data:

  • Availability zone
  • AMI ID
  • Type
  • Security Groups

All captured metadata is indexed by Instana and is available to Instna’s Dynamic Focus search engine, allowing queries such as: entity.ec2.type:m4.xlarge AND entity.selfType:mongodb

This metadata is useful for users to see the exact state of all entities involved in any way with EC2, like focusing in on all Mongodb instances running on an m4.xlarge type like the example above.

Tracking EC2 Configuration Changes

Instana will track any and all of these changes on the timeline, an example of which is captured in the screenshot below:
EC2 Monitoring - Status Screen

AWS EC2 Tags and Instana

Please note that tags are currently inaccessible to the host itself, notably because it is missing in the AWS metadata API. We really would love to have Amazon implement that feature. If you agree, please make your voice heard in this AWS Forums thread.

Getting Started Monitoring AWS EC2 / Installation

Ready to start? You’ll need an Instana Account or trial first. Already got one? Great. The best place to begin is Instana’s Getting Started Guide.

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