Introduction to CloudWatch

Lab Steps

Logging in to the Amazon Web Services Console
Explore CloudWatch
Monitoring EC2 Instances
Install the EC2 Monitoring Scripts
Create your first CloudWatch alarm
Create an Alarm using the EC2 console
Sharing CloudWatch Metrics with others

The hands-on lab is part of these learning paths

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Ready for the real environment experience?

Time Limit1h 15m
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In this Lab, you will explore CloudWatch, a monitoring service provided by AWS. CloudWatch makes it possible to monitor nearly anything inside or outside AWS. Common usage is to monitor EC2 instances for CPU and memory utilization, ephemeral or EBS volume disk usage and throughput, as well as network statistics. CloudWatch also enables you to configure alarms, so that when thresholds are violated for specific metrics a notification and/or action is automatically triggered.


Although this is a beginner level Lab, you should be familiar with:

  • Using the AWS Console
  • EC2 basics
  • Conceptual understanding of the type of metrics typically monitored (such as CPU, storage, and network resources)

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this Lab, you will be able to:

  • Explain key CloudWatch concepts and default EC2 metrics
  • Create and test an alarm
  • Add actions to an alarm
  • Install monitoring tools as EC2 User Data to send custom metrics to CloudWatch
  • Navigate about in CloudWatch and explore many other possibilities for monitoring AWS resources

Lab Environment

Before completing the Lab instructions, the environment will look as follows:




After completing the Lab instructions, the environment should look similar to:




Do you have questions about this Lab? Contact our cloud experts by sending an email to


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

About the Author


Greg has been a consistent high performer for pioneering technologies in the wireless web industries with an illustrious career that is a testament to his breadth of knowledge. Dabbling with MS Azure, at Cloud Academy, Greg really thrives on evangelizing the benefits of Amazon Web Services. A dedicated and passionate professional who learns new and emerging technologies quickly, Greg always ensures the highest quality and caliber of everything he produces.