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AWS Observability (without the Pain)

AWS Observability (without the Pain)

Good observability is a must-have for modern AWS applications. CloudWatch gives you the tools but leaves you with a lot of work to do. To accelerate this, we created a serverless plugin to quickly build best practice alarms and dashboards.


Luciano Mammino

June 24, 2021


  1. AWS Observability without the pain Eóin Shanaghy - Luciano Mammino

    AWS Summer School - June 24th 2021
  2. Hi! I’m Eoin 🙂 CTO aiasaservicebook.com @eoins eoins ✉ Get

    in touch
  3. 👋 Hello, I am Luciano Senior architect nodejsdesignpatterns.com Let’s connect:

    🌎 loige.co 🐦 @loige 🎥 loige 🧳 lucianomammino
  4. We are business focused technologists that deliver. Accelerated Serverless |

    AI as a Service | Platform Modernisation We are hiring! Let’s have a chat 🙂
  5. fth.link/o11y-no-pain

  6. Observability in the cloud a measure of how well internal

    states of a system can be inferred from knowledge of its external outputs 🪵 🔍 📈 🚨 Structured Logs Tracing Metrics Alarms “
  7. AWS native o11y = CloudWatch Cloudwatch gives you: ➔ Logs

    with Insights ➔ Metrics ➔ Dashboards ➔ Alarms ➔ Canaries ➔ Distributed tracing (with X-Ray)
  8. Outside AWS Established New entrants Roll your own (only for

    the brave)
  9. CloudWatch out of the box 😍 A toolkit you can

    use to build observability 🤩 Metrics are automatically generated for all services! 😟 Lots of dashboards, but by service and not by application! 😢 Zero alarms out of the box!
  10. ✅ Third-party services offer a better UX ❌ Data needs

    to be exported from AWS ❌ Uncertainty about future direction of new providers in this space ❌ You might be stuck in dual-mode Using third-parties
  11. Getting the best out of Cloudwatch Cloudwatch can be your

    friend if you... 📚 Research and understand available metrics 📐 Decide thresholds 📊 Write IaC for application dashboards ⏰ Write IaC for service metric alarms ⏪ Update every time your application changes 📋 Copy and paste for each stack in your application (a.k.a. A LOT OF WORK!)
  12. Best practices 😇 AWS Well Architected Framework 🏛 5 Pillars

    ⚙ Operational excellence pillar covers observability 🧐 Serverless lens applies these pillars 👍 Good guidance on metrics to observe 👎 More reading and research + you still have to pick thresholds
  13. CloudFormation for CloudWatch Alarms 😬 "Type": "AWS::CloudWatch::Alarm", "Properties": { "ActionsEnabled":

    true, "AlarmActions": [ "arn:aws:sns:eu-west-1:665863320777:FTSLICAlarms" ], "AlarmName": "LambdaThrottles_serverless-test-project-dev-hello", "AlarmDescription": "Throttles % for serverless-test-project-dev-hello ..", "EvaluationPeriods": 1, "ComparisonOperator": "GreaterThanThreshold", "Threshold": 0, "TreatMissingData": "notBreaching", "Metrics": [ { "Id": "throttles_pc", "Expression": "(throttles / throttles + invocations) * 100", "Label": "% Throttles", "ReturnData": true }, { "Id": "throttles", "MetricStat": { "Metric": { "Namespace": "AWS/Lambda", "MetricName": "Throttles", "Dimensions": [ { "Name": "FunctionName", "Value": "serverless-test-project-dev-hello" } ] }, "Period": 60, "Stat": "Sum" }, "ReturnData": false }, { "Id": "invocations", "MetricStat": { "Metric": { "Namespace": "AWS/Lambda", "MetricName": "Invocations",
  14. Can we automate this? Magically generated alarms and dashboards for

    each application!
  15. fth.link/slic-watch Introducing SLIC Watch

  16. How SLIC Watch works 🛠 Your app serverless.yml sls deploy

    CloudFormation stack very-big.json SLIC Watch 👀 🛠 CloudFormation stack ++ even-bigger.json Deploy ☁ 📊📈
  17. Before SLIC Watch

  18. After SLIC Watch

  19. After SLIC Watch

  20. After SLIC Watch

  21. After SLIC Watch

  22. After SLIC Watch Check out SLIC Slack

  23. Configuration 🎀 SLIC Watch comes with sane defaults 📝 You

    can configure what you don’t like 🔌 Or disable specific dashboards or alarms
  24. How to get started 📣 Create an SNS Topic as

    the alarm destination 📦 ❯ npm install serverless-slic-watch-plugin --save-dev ✍ Update serverless.yml ⚙ Configure (optional) 🚢 ❯ sls deploy plugins: - serverless-slic-watch-plugin 💡 Check out the complete example project in the repo!
  25. Wrapping up 🎁 ★ CloudWatch is very valuable if you

    configure it right! ★ Automation takes away the pain ★ SLIC Watch gives you this automation ★ You still have control and flexibility 🔬Try it out! 🗣 Give feedback! 🌈 Let’s make it better!
  26. Thank you! fth.link/o11y-no-pain Cover picture by Javier Balseiro on Unsplash