Getting Started


Course Introduction
Course Conclusion
Getting Started
1h 34m

Please note: this course has been outdated and replaced with two new courses: An Overview of Amazon CloudWatch and Building CloudWatch Dashboards

CloudWatch is a monitoring service for cloud resources in the applications you run on Amazon Web Services. CloudWatch can collect metrics, set and manage alarms, and automatically react to changes in your AWS resources. Amazon Web Services Cloudwatch can monitor AWS resources such as Amazon EC2 instances, DynamoDB tables, and Amazon RDS DB instances. You can also create custom metrics generated by your applications and services and any log files your applications generate. You’ll see how we can use Amazon CloudWatch to gain system-wide visibility into resource utilization, application performance and operationally you’ll use these insights to keep applications running smoothly. This course includes a high-level overview of how to monitor EC2, monitor other Amazon resources, monitor custom metrics, monitor and store logs, set alarms, graph and view statistics, and how to monitor and react to resource changes.

Intended Audience

  • Systems Admins
  • Operational Support
  • Solution Architects working on AWS Certification
  • Anyone concerned about monitoring data or AWS recurring billing


  • AWS Console Login
  • General knowledge of how to launch an Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance on either Linux or Windows
  • View CloudWatch Documentation at
  • An operational EC2 (Windows/Linux)

Learning Objectives

  • Monitor EC2 and other AWS resources
  • Build custom metrics
  • Monitor and store log information from Linux instances
  • Set alarms for metrics to take action on an instance or auto-scaling group
  • Create a dashboard to monitor EC2 instances
  • React to load to trigger auto scaling horizontally within AWS.

This Course Includes

  • Over 90 minutes of high-definition video
  • Console demos

What You'll Learn

  • Course Intro: What to expect from this course
  • Getting Started: How to launch an EC2 instance
  • Building a Dashboard: How to take the metrics from the instance and create a dashboard
  • Monitoring EC2 Instances: How and why you should be monitoring the environment in Amazon Web Services
  • Sending Log Files to Cloudwatch: A lesson on the importance of sending log files to Cloudwatch
  • Alarms: How to specify alarms
  • Course Conclusion: Course summary

My name is Michael Bryant and I'll be your instructor for CloudWatch Lesson Two, Getting Started. Anytime you deploy an instance database or storage asset within Amazon Web Services, basic monitoring is running by default. Basic monitoring is already enabled automatically for all Amazon EC2 instances and you can easily access these metrics by either the Amazon EC2 tab or via CloudWatch in the Amazon Management Console. More advanced users can use the Amazon CloudWatch API from internal session.

In this demonstration, we're going to quickly launch an EC2 instance. Note that we will be using a T2 micro-instance which is part of the free tier. We've now logged in to the Amazon Web Services console. We'll select EC2 and we'll launch an instance. We'll launch a T2 micro, running Amazon's Linux AMI. If you're new here, you will not have a key pair, and you should create and download the key pair. Go ahead and launch the instance, and we'll come back when it's running.

Welcome back. Our instance is now running. We've launched a T2 micro running the Amazon Linux AMI in the northern California region, also known as us-west-1. You'll notice that under the monitoring tab CloudWatch is automatically running. However, this is basic monitoring. You will see that we're provided information in basic monitoring, including CPU utilization, disk reads, disk operations, disk writes, disk write operations, network in, network out, network packets in, network packets out, status check of any failed, status check of any failed instance, status check failed system, CPU credit usage and CPU credit bounds.

While this is a lot of metrics, you may have noticed, this doesn't provide us information about the size of the disk or the remaining space. This is a serious issue for many people and many organizations. You have to be able to monitor your disks. You may also notice that we don't know how much memory the system is utilizing of the available on our instance. We'll address all these issues further in this course.

In this lesson, we launched an EC2 instance, monitored it with CloudWatch basic monitoring and observed a lack of disk and memory metrics and a lack of system logging.

About the Author

Network engineer and program analyst.