Why can't I retrieve data points for CloudWatch metrics in the CloudWatch console?

Last updated: 2020-08-27

Why can't I retrieve data points for Amazon CloudWatch metrics in the CloudWatch console?

Resolution

There are several reasons that a data point retrieved from the default or custom metric might be missing or incorrect. To troubleshoot missing data points:

  • Confirm that the metric namespace, metric name, and key-value pairs for the dimension used to retrieve the metric are correct.
  • If the data points to a metric are pushed with a specific unit, confirm that the unit for retrieving the metric is the same. Optionally, the unit can be left blank.
  • If the metric is a high-resolution metric (pushed at a sub-1 minute interval), confirm that the data points to the metric are pushed with the --storage resolution parameter set to 1. Without this configuration, CloudWatch doesn't store the sub-minute data points and aggregates them into one-minute data points. In these cases, data points for a sub-minute period aren't retrievable.
  • Remember that the frequency of pushing the data points to the metric determines the highest granularity of the metric. For example, setting the period as one minute for a metric where the data point is pushed every five minutes doesn't retrieve the data point every minute. The value of the data point still represents the five-minute duration.
  • If the data to an event-driven metric is pushed by an AWS service, check the source service's documentation. Confirm when the service pushes data points to the metric and whether it's expected for the metric to have missing data points.
  • For custom metrics, check the source (the unified CloudWatch agent or the custom script that pushed the metric) logs. Confirm if the source is operating as expected for the specific duration. For more information, see Troubleshooting the CloudWatch agent.
  • Check the metric retention periods while retrieving the data points from CloudWatch. If the data points to a metric are pushed at a sub-minute interval, these data points can be retrieved only as-is for three hours. After three hours, the sub-minute data points are aggregated into one-minute data points that can be retrieved for 15 days. After 15 days from the data ingestion time, these one-minute data points are aggregated into five-minute data points that can be retrieved for 63 days. After 63 days from the data ingestion time, these five-minute data points are aggregated into one-hour data points that are stored for 455 days. After 455 days (15 months), older data is deleted from CloudWatch and is no longer retrievable.

For example, consider a scenario where a single value was pushed to the metric every minute as follows:

Timestamp Value
1:00 3
1:01 4
1:02 2
1:03 1
1:04 5

For 15 days, these one-minute values are retrievable. After 15 days, these values are aggregated into one data point for a five-minute period. The value displayed depends on the statistic. For example, for the previous example values:

Statistic selected for 1:00-1:05 data point (5-minute period) Value
Sum 15
Average 3
Minimum 1
Sample count 5
Maximum 5

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