Amazon CloudWatch adds Support for High-Resolution Custom Metrics and Alarms

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Amazon announced this week that they have added support for new high-resolution metrics and alarms to their CloudWatch service, which can be used to monitor AWS cloud resources and applications.

Amazon CloudWatch now enables AWS applications to publish metrics to the service with intervals as frequent as once a second; this is a significant improvement over the previous lowest resolution, which allowed for metrics to be reported in one-minute intervals. Additionally, users can now configure CloudWatch Alarms to evaluate as frequently as once every 10 seconds.

With these improvements, CloudWatch users can now catch and even be alerted to potential issues that may have previously been undetectable. For example, if an application received a brief spike in usage and started to run low on available resources, like RAM or storage space, an admin would be able to view the application’s CloudWatch logs to determine the exact time and duration of the spike and subsequent resource issue.

In the event of a one-off usage spike, this sort of thing may have not even shown up on previous CloudWatch reports, given that the highest resolution prior to this update was an update once every minute.

While these new high-resolution metrics are great for pin-pointing potential resource issues, there are constraints to how long they are available for viewing once published. Fortunately, there are also lower-resolution metrics (with reporting intervals of 60 seconds, 5 minutes, and 1 hour) that are available for longer periods of time once published.

The schedule of Amazon CloudWatch’s metrics is as follows:

  • 1 second metrics – available for 3 hours
  • 60 second metrics – available for 15 days
  • 5 minute metrics – available for 63 days
  • 1 hour metrics – available for 445 days

CloudWatch users can store 10 metrics per month for free, and while pricing for high-resolution metrics is the same as that for standard-resolution metrics, users will have to pay $0.30 per alarm per month to utilize high-resolution alarms.

The addition of high-resolution metrics to Amazon CloudWatch is definitely something that will be beneficial to AWS and CloudWatch users, especially when it comes to short-term resource issues that may have otherwise gone unnoticed in the past.