Amazon Web Services or AWS has developed a name as the single most dominant cloud service provider in the world. Right now, AWS makes up an astonishing 41.5% of application workloads in the public cloud. If AWS holds its market share then this will only continue as more enterprises incorporate cloud services into their network environments and seek out the best AWS monitoring services.
The prevalence of AWS-maintained cloud services has made it important for organizations to have tools for monitoring AWS products. Companies across the world have recognized that checking up on the performance of cloud services is no less important than managing legacy infrastructure. In this article, we’re going to look at the best AWS monitoring services.
Here are the best AWS monitoring services:
- SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor (FREE TRIAL)
- Paessler PRTG Network Monitor (FREE TRIAL)
- StackPath Server Density
- Nagios XI
- ManageEngine Applications Manager
First up on this list we have SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor, which is an application that was designed for monitoring physical and virtual servers. SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor also has a number of features dedicated to monitor AWS. You can automatically discover E cloud instances and EBS volumes before you start monitoring them. Whenever a new instance is launched SolarWinds will pick up on it automatically.
SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor functions by polling cloud service APIs and pulling metrics from them for you to measure. This can be done through the use of the CloudWatch API or you can monitor cloud instances as if they were nodes on your network. Generally, monitoring instances as if they were nodes is more convenient because you have the opportunity to stop or reboot instances.
There is also a configurable alerts system to keep you up-to-date on changes to your AWS cloud. Alerts can be configured to notify when key thresholds have been exceeded and point to specific performance issues like AWS throttling. You can look at an overview all active alerts in the Alert Manager view, and add new alerts when you need to monitor a new metric.
If you’re looking for an AWS monitoring service with a simple design and a fast-paced alerts system then SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor is a tool you should definitely consider. You will be able to keep on top of your AWS instances without any hiccups. SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor can be purchased for $2,995 (£2,295). You can also download a 30-day free trial.
Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is a tool that has incorporated its own slant on AWS monitoring. Touting “all-in-one monitoring for your Amazon Cloud infrastructure“, it is free for users who need less than 100 sensors to monitor with, which makes it ideal for SMBs. PRTG Network Monitor can use Amazon Web Service CloudWatch data to provide you with performance information on your Amazon Cloud service. The PRTG Network Monitor model is based on transparency targeted towards AWS and has its own CloudWatch sensors available out of the box. The CloudWatch sensors supported by PRTG Network Monitor include:
- Amazon CloudWatch Alarm Sensor
- Amazon CloudWatch EBS Sensor
- Amazon CloudWatch E Sensor
- Amazon CloudWatch ElastiCache Sensor
- Amazon CloudWatch ELB Sensor
- Amazon CloudWatch RDS Sensor
- Amazon CloudWatch SNS Sensor
- Amazon CloudWatch SQS Sensor
Each of these sensors has its own unique metrics that it uses to monitor the performance of your cloud service.
For instance, if you were using the AWS Elastic Cloud Computing (E) service then you would use the Amazon CloudWatch E Sensor. This sensor would tell you the CPU utilization, disk I/O, network load, status, and read and write speed. All of this information is provided as numerical values in a table below as a range of larger dials for easy reading.
PRTG Network Monitor is a tool that is most suited for those looking for a general network monitoring solution with AWS monitoring capabilities. The paid versions of PRTG Network Monitor start from a price of $1,600 (£1,226) for 500 sensors. The largest version of PRTG is PRTG XL1 which costs $14,500 (£11,112) and provides you with unlimited sensors. You can also download a 30-day free trial of PRTG Network Monitor.
3. StackPath Server Density
Next up we have StackPath’s Server Density, an infrastructure monitoring tool that has been designed specifically for monitoring cloud services, websites, and servers. You can use Server Density on Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and FreeBSD. StackPath’s platform is also more than capable of monitoring AWS cloud services.
The Server Density platform supports Amazon CloudWatch and also offers a range of additional plugins relevant to AWS users. These include the AWS ELB Server Density Plugin and the AWS RDS Server Density plugin. The AWS RDS Server Density plugin is used to monitor AWS RDS instances. The AWS RDS plugin takes the two-minute average from CloudWatch and sends it straight into Server Density for you to monitor.
Server Density has a scalable pricing structure that is based on the number of servers you want to monitor. This starts from a price of $10 (£7.66) per month for one server, and $20 (£15.33) for two servers. If you need more servers, then there are a number of pricing options up to $250 (£191.61) per month for 25 servers. Any more servers than this and you’ll need to contact the sales team for a quote. You can download a 14-day free trial for evaluation.
4. Nagios XI
Nagios XI is a network monitoring tool that also offers support for monitoring AWS monitoring. Nagios XI can monitor key AWS components like E. However the main focus of this tool is on measuring the availability of AWS. The moment a service goes down, you’ll know about it. This approach is quite basic, but it does provide you with enough information to know if your service is in jeopardy.
What makes Nagios XI great for AWS monitoring is its use of additional plugins. There are a variety of different free plugins that can be downloaded specifically for monitoring AWS. One of the most significant is AWS Cloudwatch Metrics. AWS Cloudwatch Metrics is a plugin that has been designed to pull information straight from AWS Cloudwatch.
Once this information has been pulled by the plugin, it can then be used for monitoring and can even produce alerts to notify you when something changes. Nagios XI’s alerts system notifies you when metrics exceed specific thresholds. This means that you’re not under pressure to catch everything, as the system will notify you automatically when you need to take action.
Nagios XI is available on CentOS and Redhat Enterprise Linux. It can be purchased as a license. The cheapest license is the Standard Edition which costs $1,995 (£1,529) and includes configuration wizards and reporting. The next version is the Enterprise edition which costs $3,495 (£2,678) and also provides web-based server console access and audit logging. You can download the free trial of Nagios XI.
5. ManageEngine Applications Manager
Cloud monitoring is an area that ManageEngine Applications Manager is equipped for inside and out. With ManageEngine Applications Manager you can monitor the health of your cloud services including AWS. The program closely monitors Amazon E and RDS instances to assess the performance and utilization metrics of your service. This performance data can then be converted into a graph for closer inspection.
When monitoring E instances you can view data such as instance ID, region name, state, platform, public DNS name, availability, and health. The health section is color-coded so that you can tell from a glance if a service is going down. Similarly, ManageEngine Applications Manager’s RDS monitoring allows you to view the CPU utilization, database connections, latency, and traffic of RDS instances.
All of this information is displayed in a clear format without any complex displays. However, if you want to integrate ManageEngine Application Manager with another tool then you can make use of the REST API to pull custom metrics from other monitoring solutions.
ManageEngine Applications Manager is worth consideration based on its low maintenance approach to AWS monitoring. The Professional Edition of ManageEngine Applications Manager starts from a price of $945 (£724) for 25 monitors to 250 monitors for $7,195 (£5,514). The Enterprise Edition starts at a price of $9,595 (£7,353) for 250 monitors to $83,995 (£64,375) for 5000 monitors. There is also a free trial which you can download for Windows and Linux.
Dynatrace is a network monitoring solution that allows you to thoroughly examine the performance of your AWS resources. If your service is experiencing poor performance then Dynatrace will be able to tell you. You can view the performance data and health status of your AWS resource. It is interesting to note that Dynatrace is actually affiliated with AWS as an AWS APN Advanced Technology Partner.
Machine learning is a feature that separates Dynatrace from other run-of-the-mill network monitoring products. Dynatrace uses machine learning to monitor AWS services and detect abnormal behavior. Whether you’re using E, EBS, ELB, S3, or RDS, Dynatrace has you covered and can point to the root cause of most performance issues. This is invaluable when troubleshooting the service (particularly when transparency over AWS is so hard to come by!).
There is also considerable support for larger organizations who want to concentrate on optimizing resource usage. Dynatrace has its own Smartscape visualization system which shows you how much of your resource is being dedicated to each service. This allows you to see if there are ways you could optimize how your resources are being used.
As an AWS monitoring product, Dynatrace is top notch. Its use of machine learning and its close partnership with Amazon make it one of the most natural solutions for monitoring AWS resources. Dynatrace is available as an on-premises installation, SaaS package, or a license. However, you’ll need to contact the company directly in order to receive a price quote. You can download a 15-day free trial of Dynatrace.
AppDynamics is a network monitoring provider that delivers a full-stack performance monitoring experience for AWS. With AppDynamics you can monitor AWS like Amazon E, Amazon ECS, Amazon EKS, AWS Lambda, and AWS Fargate. This product also has the ability to automatically discover resources connected to your network.
The main reason to use AppDynamics is its user interface. The user interface provides you with a real-time perspective of your cloud resources which allows you to look specifically at resource utilization. This is important for AWS monitoring because it ensures you’re always making the best use of your resources.
However, you aren’t limited to AppDynamic’s core AWS monitoring experience. You also have a variety of extensions designed specifically to support AWS resource monitoring. For instance you can use an AWS SQS Monitoring Extension, AWS ElasticCache Monitoring Extension, and AWS S3 Monitoring Extension. The AWS ElasticCache extension is used to take data straight from Amazon CloudWatch and display it within AppDynamic’s Metric Browser.
If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art AWS monitoring experience then look no further than AppDynamics. In order to view the price for AppDynamics Application Performance Management you’ll need to contact the sales team (though the price is reported to be considerably higher than many other products on this list). That being said, there is also a free trial which you can download.
Zenoss is an open source network and cloud monitoring tool that offers an AWS-specific service. Zenoss has its own Amazon Web Services ZenPack designed for AWS monitoring. This Zenpack offers an extensive range of ways to monitor how AWS resources perform. You can monitor Amazon E, Amazon VPC, and Amazon S3 services. You can also monitor the estimated costs of your AWS resources.
Zenoss is recommended to those who want an open source AWS monitoring experience. There are two versions available of Zenoss for AWS monitoring; Zenoss Cloud Professional and Zenoss Cloud Enterprise. You’ll need to contact the sales team in order to receive a price quote. You can request a demo of Zenoss for free.
Splunk is another well-respected name within the network monitoring space that includes a range of AWS monitoring capabilities. With Splunk you can view information on AWS instance changes, audit activity, security group violations, and unauthorized users. All of this information can be read through clear dashboard displays that stand with the very best on the market.
When it comes to the raw data, Splunk delivers an experience that provides you with everything you need to know. You are provided with utilization metrics, usage data, traffic volumes, and latency data so that you can tell how your AWS cloud resource is performing. These metrics can be displayed in a variety of visualizations driven by account, region and time.
One of the most useful features offered by Splunk is a visual display of your AWS resources. There is a Topology view that shows you a map of your AWS cloud resources. You also have the option to view additional information and resources by region, account, VPC, and time. For instance, you can go back to an earlier point in time to see how your resources were structured in the past.
There are multiple versions of Splunk available for purchase. The least expensive is Splunk Light which starts at $75 (£57.50) and offers monitoring for up to five users and 20gb of data per day. Splunk Enterprise offers unlimited users and unlimited data for $150 (£114) . There is also Splunk Cloud but you’ll have to contact the company directly in order to find out the price. There is also a free trial for Splunk.
Opsview has its own fully-featured AWS monitoring capabilities. This tool allows you to view the performance of AWS instances through a high-quality display. In particular you can view the current availability of your AWS service. Dashboards are completely customizable so that you can choose exactly how to monitor your cloud resources.
The Opsview platform has notifications to keep you up-to-speed. Notifications can be sent via Slack, Amazon SNS, Twilio Voice, or Twilio Text. This helps you to stay up-to-date with changes affecting your resource performance. These notifications work on a range of filters that you can easily apply to AWS metrics. If you need more information you can generate reports based on historical AWS data.
There is a free version of Opsview which covers up to 25 hosts on Linux and Windows. The first paid version is the SMB plan which costs $2 (£1.53) a host per month for up to 300 hosts. The next plan is the Enterprise Plan which costs $4.50 (£3.45) per host per month which offers up to 20,000 hosts. You can download Opsview for free.
Finally we have Zabbix, an open source network monitoring solution with over 300,000 installations worldwide. Zabbix has a range of cloud monitoring capabilities and can monitor AWS services with ease. This tool has a traditional widget-based monitoring experience as well as the ability to convert metrics into graphs for further analysis.
Zabbix has a full-featured alerts system. You can customize alert messages to different recipients and even escalate automatically if the first point of contact doesn’t respond. This means that if something changes in your AWS environment then the alert will be passed to the next available staff member. You can also customize message content so that the recipient has all the information needed to do further troubleshooting.
Organizations in need of a free tool for AWS monitoring would be well advised to download Zabbix. It has the core design to function well within an SME or large organization environment. Zabbix is available on CentOs, Oracle Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu. You can download Zabbix for free.
The Best AWS Monitoring Services
That concludes our look at the best Amazon Web Services monitoring tools. In the interests of keeping your monitoring simple, we recommend you choose a tool like Paessler PRTG Network Monitor or SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor. PRTG Network Monitor has enough sensors tailor-made for AWS for you to have all the information you need to monitor your cloud service.
Likewise, SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor is capable of taking information from your AWS resources and combining it with an excellent alerts system. On-demand alert generation will ensure that you can always add new alerts to keep tabs on your AWS performance.