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AWS Tackles Container Visibility

Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) announced a new service to tackle the thorny problem of monitoring container applications in order to gauge utilization, find performance issues, spot failures and so on.

The thorniness comes from the nature of short-lived container instances that typically undergo continuous development -- as contrasted with EC2 (compute) and other longer-lasting infrastructure instances -- making it harder to analyze and inspect the inner workings of applications and microservices.

The solution is Amazon CloudWatch Container Insights, which leverages the CloudWatch service that collects monitoring and operational data in the form of logs, metrics and events across a gamut of cloud services.

The service was first announced as a preview at the July AWS Summit, working only on new container clusters and only supporting Amazon ECS and AWS Fargate, the latter of which lets users run containers without managing servers or clusters. Amazon CloudWatch Container Insights is now generally available, with new functionality such as the ability to monitor existing clusters.

AWS said the service will relieve developers from the burden of having to use disparate tools for manually collecting data and analyzing performance and other issues and the need to create and curate their own dashboards.

 Amazon Container Insights
[Click on image for larger view.] Amazon Container Insights (source: AWS)

"Immediate insights into compute utilization and failures for both new and existing cluster infrastructure and containerized applications can be easily obtained from container management services including Kubernetes, Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes, Amazon ECS, and AWS Fargate," said AWS tech evangelist Steve Roberts in a recent post.

"Once enabled Amazon CloudWatch discovers all of the running containers in a cluster and collects performance and operational data at every layer in the container stack. It also continuously monitors and updates as changes occur in the environment, simplifying the number of tools required to collect, monitor, act, and analyze container metrics and logs giving complete end to end visibility."

Once the service is enabled -- details are in the documentation -- and new clusters are launched, users will be able to display a new dashboard for Container Insights in the CloudWatch console. Along with performance and other data, it shows:

  • CPU utilization
  • Memory utilization
  • Network
  • Container instance count
  • Task count
  • Service count

"Beyond monitoring and troubleshooting I can also use the data and dashboards Container Insights provides me to support other use cases such as capacity requirements and planning, by helping me understand compute utilization by Pod/Task, Container, and Service for example," Roberts said.

Amazon CloudWatch Container Insights is available in all public AWS regions where Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes, Kubernetes, Amazon ECS, and AWS Fargate are available.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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