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Use Amazon CloudWatch to consolidate hybrid, multicloud, and on-premises metrics

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You can now consolidate metrics from your hybrid, multicloud, and on-premises data sources using Amazon CloudWatch and process them in a consistent, unified fashion. You can query, visualize, and alarm on any and all of the metrics, regardless of their source. In addition to giving you a unified view, this new feature will help you to identify trends and issues that span multiple parts and aspects of your infrastructure.

When I first heard about this new feature, I thought, “Wait, I can do that with PutMetricData, what’s the big deal?” Quite a bit, as it turns out. PutMetricData stores the metrics in CloudWatch, but this cool new feature fetches them on demand, directly from the source.

Instead of storing data, you select and configure connectors that pull data from Amazon Managed Service for Prometheus, generic Prometheus, Amazon OpenSearch Service, Amazon RDS for MySQL, Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL, CSV files stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Microsoft Azure Monitor. Each connector is a AWS Lambda function that is deployed from a AWS CloudFormation template. CloudWatch invokes the appropriate Lambda functions as needed and makes use of the returned metrics immediately — they are not buffered or kept around.

Creating and using connectors
To get started I open the CloudWatch Console, click All metrics, and activate the Multi source query tab, then I click Create and manage data sources:

And then I do it again:

Then I choose a data source type:

CloudWatch will then prompt me for the details that it needs to create and set up the connector for my data source. For example, if I select Amazon RDS – MySQL, I give my data source a name, choose the RDS database instance, and specify the connection info:

When I click Create data source, a Lambda function, a Lambda Permission, an IAM role, a Secrets Manager Secret, a Log Group, and a AWS CloudFormation Stack will be created in my account:

Then, when I am ready to reference the data source and make use of the metrics that it provides, I enter a SQL query that returns timestamps and values for the metric:

Inside the Lambda function
The code for the Custom – getting started template is short, simple, and easy to understand. It implements handlers for two events:

DescribeGetMetricData – This handler returns a string that includes the name of the connector, default values for the arguments to the other handler, and a text description in Markdown format that is displayed in the custom data source query builder in the CloudWatch console.

GetMetricData – This handler returns a metric name, 1-dimensional array of timestamps and metric values, all for a time range that is provided as arguments to the handler.

If you spend a few minutes examining this code you should be able to see how to write functions to connect to your own data sources.

Things to know
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind about this powerful new feature:

Regions – You can create and use data connectors in all commercial AWS Regions; a connector that is running in one region can connect to and retrieve data from services and endpoints in other regions and other AWS accounts.

Pricing – There is no extra charge for the connectors. You pay for the invocations of the Lambda functions and for any other AWS infrastructure that you create.


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.