hands-on lab

Introduction to CloudWatch

Up to 1h 30m
Get guided in a real environmentPractice with a step-by-step scenario in a real, provisioned environment.
Learn and validateUse validations to check your solutions every step of the way.
See resultsTrack your knowledge and monitor your progress.


Amazon CloudWatch is a serverless offering from AWS that you can use to observe and monitor your resources and applications in the public AWS cloud. Amazon CloudWatch can help you understand the performance, usage, and health of your cloud resources. It can be easily used with virtually every other AWS service and is customizable to your needs.

Learning how to use Amazon CloudWatch will benefit anybody looking to use AWS for hosting their services and applications.

In this hands-on lab, you will explore the features Amazon CloudWatch has to offer, use the AWS management consol to alarm on a metric, and set up and action to respond to an alarm's threshold being breached.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this beginner-level lab, you will be able to:

  • Explain key CloudWatch concepts and default EC2 metrics
  • Create and test an alarm
  • Add actions to an alarm
  • Navigate the Amazon CloudWatch console

Intended Audience

  • Candidates for the following AWS certifications:
    • AWS Certified Cloud Practioner
    • AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate
  • Anyone working with resources in the AWS public cloud


Familiarity with the following will be beneficial but is not required:

  • Amazon CloudWatch
  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
  • Conceptual understanding of monitoring cloud resources

The following courses can be used to fulfill the requirements:


January 22nd, 2024 - Updated the screenshots and instructions to reflect the latest user-interface changes

October 25th, 2023 - Updated instructions to reflect the latest UI

June 2nd, 2022 - Updated the instructions and screenshots to reflect the new launch instance wizard

March 1st, 2022 - Added information regarding detailed monitoring

January 14th, 2022 - Updated the instructions and screenshots to reflect the latest UI

September 6th, 2021 - Explained more about the default alarm configuration for status check alarms on EC2 instances

August 30th, 2021 - Clarified that any metric can be viewed in step two

February 7th, 2021 - Made some improvements to increase the reliability of the lab

October 7th, 2019 - Updated instructions to create the CloudWatch alarms

August 19th, 2019 - Updated some Lab Steps to reflect new AWS visuals

May 30th, 2019 - Clarified the possibility that the alarm triggers before the SNS topic is subscribed to resulting in not receiving the first alarm email. Added a workaround to retrigger the alarm in that case.

April 24th, 2019 - Fixed an issue that caused the HighCPUInstance not to consume 100% CPU

November 27th, 2018 - Added a validation Lab Step to check the work you perform in the Lab

September 14th, 2018 - Updated the Lab to reduce the amount of waiting (detailed CloudWatch monitoring, higher frequency metric script) and modified instructions to reliably receive an email notification for the second alarm.

July 9th, 2018 - Updated CloudWatch monitoring commands to work with Amazon Linux and Amazon Linux 2. The instructions now use Amazon Linux 2.

May 16th, 2018 - Updated several CloudWatch console images and details related to sharing CloudWatch metric graphs

Environment before

Environment after

About the author

Learning paths

Stefano studies Computer Science and is passionate about technology. He loves working with Cloud services and learning all the best practices for them. Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services are the cloud providers he prefers. He is a Google Cloud Certified Associate Cloud Engineer. Node.js is the programming language he always uses to code. When he's not involved in studying or working, Stefano loves riding his motorbike and exploring new places.

Covered topics

Lab steps

Logging In to the Amazon Web Services Console
Exploring Amazon CloudWatch
Monitoring Amazon EC2 Instances
Viewing Amazon EC2 Metrics in Amazon CloudWatch
Creating an Amazon CloudWatch Alarm
Creating an Alarm using the Amazon EC2 console
Sharing Amazon CloudWatch Metrics with Others