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What are some basics for monitoring microservices?

Our enterprise uses Amazon CloudWatch to monitor performance, and we're looking into microservices. How can we use CloudWatch to track performance of microservices apps?

The shift to a microservices architecture in software design emphasizes the notion of scalability. Instead of a...

traditional monolithic application design, a microservices architecture breaks a complex application into smaller functional modules that can be deployed independently. A microservices architecture can speed up application design and deployment, but it's not without issues. Monitoring microservices-based software can be a challenge for IT teams. Amazon CloudWatch can be a good fit for this.

IT administrators struggle when it comes to monitoring microservices performance and spinning up -- or spinning down -- instances and duplicate components in real time. The best way to approach microservices is by monitoring component statuses or events and then responding to those events according to established rule sets -- all without direct human intervention. Amazon CloudWatch monitors AWS resources and applications, allowing users to collect important metrics, gather logs and generate alarms or events. Alarms or events created in CloudWatch can automatically trigger response actions; they could also terminate an instance, run an Auto Scaling policy or run an AWS Lambda function. The ability to establish and respond automatically to conditions fits with microservices-type application deployments in public cloud.

Amazon CloudWatch is not a standalone tool for monitoring microservices; it works in concert with other AWS services such as Auto Scaling. So, IT teams need to direct the tool to monitor a specific task before configuring it to respond to microservices-based applications.

Amazon CloudWatch provides a free tier with basic monitoring and limited data ingestion, storage and metrics each month. But enterprises can incur fees for additional dashboards, faster monitoring intervals, more metrics as well as alarms and extra logs. Developers and IT architects should collaborate on software design and monitoring microservices and other application components -- establish requirements that are appropriate for the app deployment and ensure that any premium CloudWatch services are included in the application's operating budget.

Next Steps

Upgrade apps with microservices architecture

Microservices deployments help boost availability

Track events with CloudWatch monitoring service

This was last published in April 2016

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How does your enterprise track microservices performance?
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Interesting. If it's fully automatic wouldn't series of quick spikes lead to over-scaling? What if amount of the concurrent requests is not very high but they started coming simultaneously?
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