AWS Management Tools

CloudFormation

Let’s say you’ve created a unique system in AWS using many different services and settings. Together, they work excellently, and you’d like to replicate the setup for a new project. Unfortunately, setting it up can take days, and you don’t precisely recall every step you took. Some resources must be provisioned before others for the system to work. We love recipes when we cook because they tell us what ingredients to buy and when to do what for that perfect meal. In tech, we also love recipes. We love recipes that cook themselves and present us with the finished dish. That’s what Amazon CloudFormation does for your IT infrastructure hosted on the cloud. You create templates, like recipes, for your resources to be set up in a specific way. You can run it over and over to provision and deploy fully configured infrastructure. A fantastic feature of AWS CloudFormation is that it is free. You only pay for the resources you use when you run the service, like the EC2 instances or S3 bucket storage. With CloudFormation, you can provision anything ranging from a simple EC2 instance to a multi-region application quickly and efficiently, using a text file written in JSON or YAML. You can update or manage the templates at any point using the AWS Management Console, command line, or Software Development Kit, commonly known as SDK. You can change the recipe whenever you think it needs it, even making different versions for different uses. Version control is always available, so you can revert to previous settings if required. AWS CloudFormation brings to life what is known as Infrastructure as Code, where you can deploy IT infrastructure based on a text file filled with code that specifies the resources and configurations you need for each service you want to deploy. With CloudFormation, you can bring order and predictability back into resource deployment, no longer leaving things up to human error or chance.

CloudTrail

Like any IT infrastructure, your AWS IT infrastructure needs to be monitored and audited to ensure that the resources remain compliant with any government, industry, or company policies. In addition to compliance, the AWS CloudTrail service helps to track user activity and API usage. This provides operational and risk auditing of your AWS infrastructure. With CloudTrail, you can log and monitor account activities, provide an event history of account activities, simplify compliance audits, and discover and troubleshoot security and operational issues. CloudTrail provides visibility into user and resource activities and tracks and automatically responds to security threats within an AWS infrastructure. For example, you can use CloudTrail to respond to security vulnerabilities automatically. You can create a workflow to add a specific policy to an S3 bucket when CloudTrail finds an API call that makes the bucket public. You track many account activities, including actions taken through the AWS Management Console, AWS SDKs, and command-line tools. You can review logs using CloudTrail event history. Have the reports delivered to S3 buckets or send notifications to CloudWatch logs and events for more granular monitoring of AWS resources. You can view, filter, and download account activities for the most recent 90 days for free. You can also set up a trail that delivers a copy of management events in every region free of charge. However, the data is sent to S3, so that you will be charged for storage usage. AWS CloudTrail is valuable in streamlining events security analysis and troubleshooting for your AWS cloud IT infrastructure.

CloudWatch

Once you have your infrastructure where it needs to be, you must monitor it actively, collect metrics, and react to any events. Unfortunately, you can’t be up 24/7 monitoring, and neither can your team. Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring and management system built for developers, system administrators, site-reliability engineers, and IT managers. It is Natively integrated with over 70 AWS services. CloudWatch helps you gain system-wide visibility into resource usage, application performance, and functional health. It collects monitoring and operating data as logs, metrics, and events to provide insight into your application’s performance. You can organize and track metrics in real-time or have it send off notifications when an event occurs. You can set up CloudWatch alarms to make modifications using predefined triggers automatically, so you don’t have to fix common issues manually. CloudWatch employs a pay-as-you-go model, so you only pay for what you use with no up-front commitment. Keep tabs on your applications hosted on AWS Cloud with Amazon CloudWatch so you and your colleagues can get a good night’s sleep instead of worrying about monitoring your infrastructure.

AWS Management Tools Summary

In this tutorial, we went over three primary management tools in AWS. AWS CloudFormation, AWS CloudTrail, and Amazon CloudWatch. Let’s quickly review them to ensure we have the fundamental concepts. AWS CloudFormation allows you to create a recipe for spinning up identical setups for a collection of resources and services for your IT infrastructure. It’s free to use, and you only pay for the resources you utilize by building a project on CloudFormation. It uses infrastructure as code, and you can deploy IT services based on a text file filled with code that specifies configurations for all of your applications and resources. Once that’s created, CloudFormation does the configurations and deployment for you. You can continue developing your resources without worrying about human error and configurations. AWS CloudTrail can log and monitor account activities, provide event history, simplify compliance audits, troubleshoot security and operational issues, and provide visibility into user and resource activities while tracking and automatically responding to security threats within your AWS Cloud. Amazon CloudWatch helps you achieve system-wide visibility into resource usage, application performance, and operational health. It collects monitoring and operational data as logs, metrics, and events while providing insight into your application performance. You can even set up CloudWatch alarms to automatically make changes using predefined triggers to solve common issues automatically. It’s integrated with nearly 70 AWS services helping your team keep comprehensive monitoring data 24 seven. Now you might be thinking CloudTrail, CloudWatch, what’s the difference? AWS cloudTrail audits logs. Amazon CloudWatch monitors and can react to changes. If you need access logs because someone did something they shouldn’t have, you can use CloudTrail. If you need to know how much CPU an EC2 instance uses, you can use CloudWatch. Imagine a detective trailing a trail of footprints for CloudTrail. CloudWatch is watching or monitoring to ensure your resources function as they should. AWS’s management tools help you build and manage your AWS cloud infrastructure.