AWS News Blog

AWS CloudTrail Update – Turn on in All Regions & Use Multiple Trails

My colleague Sivakanth Mundru wrote the guest post below in order to share news of some important new features for AWS CloudTrail.


As many of you know AWS CloudTrail provides visibility into API activity in your AWS account and enables you to answer important questions such as which user made an API call or which resources were acted upon in an API call. Today, we are happy to deliver two features that are many of you asked for:

  1. The ability to turn on CloudTrail across all AWS regions.
  2. Support for multiple trails.

Turn on CloudTrail in All Regions
Until now, you had to turn on CloudTrail for each desired region. Many of you provided feedback to us that this is time consuming, and asked for the ability to turn on CloudTrail in all regions with few clicks.

Starting immediately, you can simply specify that a trail will apply to all regions and CloudTrail will automatically create the same trail in each region, record and process log files in each region, and deliver log files from all regions to the S3 bucket or (optionally) the CloudWatch Logs log group you specified.

To be a bit more specific, “all” refers to the regions within a single AWS partition. The US East (N. Virginia), US West (N. California), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), Europe (Frankfurt), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), and South America (São Paulo) regions are all in the aws partition; the China (Beijing) region is in the aws-cn partition (read Amazon Resource Names (ARNs) and AWS Service Namespaces to learn more). The features described in this post apply to the aws partition.

Future Proof for New Regions
In addition to turning on CloudTrail for all existing regions, when AWS launches a new region  CloudTrail will create the trail in the new region and turn it on. As a result, you will receive log files containing API activity for your AWS account in the new region without taking any action.

Here’s how you turn on CloudTrail in all regions via the AWS Management Console:

Support for Multiple Trails
CloudTrail log files enable you to troubleshoot operational or security issues in your AWS account and help you demonstrate compliance with your internal policies or external standards. Different stakeholders have different needs. With support for multiple trails, different stakeholders in the company can create and manage their own trails for their own needs. For example:

  • A security administrator can create a trail that applies to all regions and encrypt the log files with one KMS key.
  • A developer can create a trail that applies to one region, for example Asia Pacific (Sydney), and configure CloudWatch alarms to receive notifications of specific API activity.
  • An IT auditor can create a trail that applies to one region, say Europe (Frankfurt), and configure log file integrity validation to positively assert that log files are not changed since CloudTrail delivered the log files to an S3 bucket.

Here’s what this would look like:

You can create up to 5 trails per region (a trail that applies to all regions exists in each region and counted as 1 trail per region).

As part of today’s launch we are announcing support for resource level permissions so that you can prescribe granular access control policies on which users can or cannot take particular actions on a given trail. For more details and sample policies, see the CloudTrail documentation.

Viewing and Managing Trails Across Regions
We are also announcing an important enhancement to the CloudTrail Console!

You can now view and manage trails across all regions in a partition, no matter which region you are in. You will see all the trails for your account in every region.  You can click on the trail name and CloudTrail will navigate to the trail configuration page automatically:

As you can see, the trail named Allregionstrail applies to all regions. This means that the Allregionstrail exists in every region and log files for all regions are recorded and delivered to one S3 bucket and an optional CloudWatch Logs log group. Other trails are specific to a region and log files for those specific regions are recorded and delivered as per the trail configuration. You can click on a trail name to view, edit or delete a trail.

All new and existing AWS customers can create one trail per region and record API activity for services supported by CloudTrail as a part of the free tier. The free tier does not have an expiration.

A trail that applies to all regions exists in each region and counted as 1 trail per region.

You pay $2.00 per 100,000 events recorded in each additional trail. There is no charge for creating additional trails.

Sivakanth Mundru, Senior Product Manager

Jeff Barr

Jeff Barr

Jeff Barr is Chief Evangelist for AWS. He started this blog in 2004 and has been writing posts just about non-stop ever since.