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Working with CloudWatch Insights from AWS

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Working with CloudWatch Insights from AWS
December 3, 2020

Below is a blog post from our VP of Intelligence, Gabriel Alix, as he discusses his experience using AWS’s CloudWatch Insights.

With the ever-growing stream of data coming from your workloads, it’s no wonder that sending data into CloudWatch makes sense. But as you send more and more data, the ability to sift through it and make it useful can be cumbersome. To ease the lift, AWS released CloudWatch Insights. CloudWatch Insights provides a query language you can use to parse and visualize CloudWatch Logs.

CW Insights is meant to take a direct stab at Splunk and Elastic’s Kibana market. And for a subset of use cases, CloudWatch Insights will be more than enough to get the job done. It feels as if CW Insights was designed (at first) to be a way to create more complex dashboards and now, it’s being extended. Over time, we’ll see it come into its own. It’s a gateway to AWS’s business intelligence offering – QuickSight.

I find CW Insights most handy when I need to quickly find an error message or track down an issue. It is significantly more flexible than the default search CW has provided for years. Query language has enough features to allows you to create ephemeral variables, parse, and filter your searches.

CloudWatch Insights won’t solve all of your problems – some features, like saved queries and the ability to search across multiple Log groups, would be nice. But if you are trying to gain visibility into a problem and you need to use more than the basic search that CloudWatch Logs provides, than Insights will be useful to you. For more advanced capabilities, look at AWS QuickSight or Kibana.

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