Monitoring AWS resources is crucial for several reasons, such as performance optimization, cost management, security, and compliance. AWS itself offers a lot of handy monitoring tools to monitor different aspects of AWS services.

The Amazon Web Service (AWS) has a vast array of PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS offerings, spanning over 200 cloud services and tools that developers can choose from and couple into one single app to hasten and automate software development. But bringing these AWS resources together means that if a single AWS service configuration is degrading performance or increasing costs across the entire software environment, finding it—without the right monitoring tool—can present a needle in a haystack scenario. Essentially, while Amazon has built its services with high performance in mind, enterprises must monitor and optimize usage, performance, security, and scalability across all AWS service components to keep their apps running smoothly.

As much as monitoring AWS is important, choosing the right monitoring tool is even more critical. There are native monitoring tools and third-party tools, each offering different capabilities, integrations, and features. The ability to monitor metrics, logs, events, and traces across a wide range of AWS services is essential. An ideal tool should provide actionable insights, real-time alerts, and historical data analysis and possess the ability to scale with your AWS environment. In the following paragraphs, we'll highlight the top first-party and third-party monitoring tools while exploring their unique functionalities.

Why monitor AWS?

The primary goal of monitoring AWS environments is to ensure that your apps are functioning as they should. Other core benefits of AWS monitoring include:

1. Swift detection and resolution of issues

AWS monitoring lets you keep track of your app health and set up alerts to proactively detect and address problems before they escalate. This minimizes downtime and service disruptions.

2. Efficient resource optimization

Monitoring helps you track resource utilization, including CPU, memory, storage, network bandwidth, and network traffic metrics. Analyzing these metrics allows you to optimize resource allocation, scale resources based on demand, and identify underutilized or over-provisioned resources. This reduces costs, minimizes waste, and improves efficiency.

3. Ensures high availability

Availability is a central part of enterprise service level agreements (SLAs). By monitoring the health and performance of vital components, and services within your AWS environment, you can swiftly detect and resolve potential issues that could impact the system, thereby ensuring high availability and meeting up with SLA obligations.

4. Enhanced cost optimization

AWS monitoring involves tracking cost-related metrics, such as usage coverage, data transfer costs, and daily estimated costs.  Insights obtained from monitoring help identify cost trends, keep budgets in line, assess the impact of cloud spend on ROI, and facilitate implementing cost-saving measures.

5. Improved security and compliance

Keeping a tab on security-related metrics like access logs and configuration changes helps you detect security threats, enhance your security posture, and respond to real-time security incidents. Additionally, AWS monitoring helps ensure compliance with security best practices and industry regulations.

AWS Monitoring Tools

As mentioned earlier, there are two categories of AWS monitoring tools:

  • AWS native monitoring tools and
  • Third-party monitoring tools.

AWS Native Monitoring Tools

AWS has a range of first-party monitoring tools with varying use cases and capabilities. They include AWS CloudWatch, CloudTrail, Config, Inspector, and Security Hub. AWS native monitoring tools have a central benefit; since they are already part of the AWS ecosystem, setting them up to collect the required telemetry can be done in a few easy clicks. However, their general downside is that they cover your AWS environment only, leaving you to find other tools for the rest of your cloud environment. Below are the specific pros and cons of each tool.

1. AWS CloudWatch

AWS CloudWatch
AWS CloudWatch

AWS CloudWatch is a monitoring and observability service that collects and tracks metrics, logs, and events across your AWS resources. As a default AWS observability tool, most AWS services, such as S3, EC2, and Kinesis, automatically send metrics to CloudWatch.


  • CloudWatch Application Insights is built to automatically discover and monitor all underlying resources in your AWS account
  • CloudWatch Alarm allows you to define anomalous behavior (e.g. traffic spikes or latency) based on context-specific thresholds and set alarms that trigger prespecified actions, such as auto-scaling.


  • Only ideal for issue discovery: its overly complex user interface makes troubleshooting and root cause analysis near impossible
  • Expensive, unpredictable pricing: Users are charged separately for the number of metrics and events, the volume of logs collected and stored, and the number of queries.

2. AWS CloudTrail

AWS CloudTrail
AWS CloudTrail

AWS CloudTrail is a logging service that enables governance, auditing, and compliance monitoring of your AWS account. It does this by recording write API calls and user/service activities across the account as events which you can analyze to monitor and troubleshoot operational or security issues resulting from changes to Amazon resources.


  • CloudTrail Insights for tracking anomalous or unauthorized resource usage
  • Can be integrated with CloudWatch to create alarms and automate responses to anomalous events
  • Compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, and SOX


  • CloudTrail Insights takes about 36hrs to process CloudTrail Events, pinpoint anomalous activities, and create a trail
  • Must be integrated with other tools (e.g. Athena and CloudWatch) to perform querying and alerting functions
  • Event history is only retained for 90 days

3. AWS Config

AWS Config
AWS Config

AWS Config provides a detailed inventory of configuration changes to your AWS resources over time. It enables you to assess resource configurations for compliance with best practices, industry standards, and internal policies. CloudTrail tracks who made changes and when Config focuses on whether the changes are policy-compliant. Both can be used complementarily to improve security and compliance.


  • Maps resource relationships to isolate all affected components in a security incident
  • Default and customized alerting and remediation rules that trigger you when security issues arise, e.g. secret exposure
  • Configuration snapshots and governance dashboards for analyzing security incidents


  • Becomes pricier as more configuration changes are recorded
  • Operates as a regional service; must be set up individually in each required region
  • Limited to configuration-related security events

4. AWS Inspector

AWS Inspector
AWS Inspector

AWS Inspector is a vulnerability assessment service that deploys security testing techniques and best practices to assess the security of your Amazon workloads (e.g. EC2 instances, Lambda functions, etc.). It identifies configuration and encryption weaknesses—and other software vulnerabilities—and provides detailed findings and recommendations to address the vulnerabilities.


  • Automated security and compliance assessments
  • Vulnerability ranking
  • Customizable scanning rules


  • Covers AWS resources only
  • You pay per assessment and volume of resources scanned; can become exorbitant very quickly

5. AWS Security Hub

AWS Security Hub
AWS Security Hub

AWS Security Hub is a unified security service that aggregates, prioritizes, and analyzes security findings from various AWS services (such as GuardDuty, Inspector and Macie) as well as integrated third-party security tools. AWS Security Hub offers insights into security alerts, compliance status, and security benchmarks to help you identify and remediate security risks effectively.


  • Security scores for quick security posture assessment
  • Automated remediation actions
  • Aggregates insights across multiple AWS accounts and regions


  • For troubleshooting use cases, engineering teams still need to analyze telemetry by region
  • Costly to run
  • Exaggerated, unnecessary findings that result in low security scores and excessive noise

Top 5 AWS Third-party Monitoring Tools

Here are the top 5 third-party monitoring tools for AWS, their key features and pricing. These third-party tools complement and transcend AWS's native monitoring services by providing advanced capabilities and deeper insights.  Another important comparative advantage of third-party tools is that in addition to monitoring your AWS services, they also cover other components in your software environment. You can choose the tool that best fits your needs based on monitoring requirements, budget, scalability, and preferred feature set.

1. SigNoz

Signoz dashboard
Signoz dashboard

SigNoz is a full-stack monitoring tool that seamlessly integrates with various single and multi-cloud environments. It monitors all components and dependencies in your AWS environment via logs, metrics and distributed traces. Signoz provides an end-to-end view of your app, highlighting performance bottlenecks, resource inefficiencies and security/compliance issues, as well as recommending actionable solutions. It also integrates easily with CloudWatch and other AWS monitoring services.


  • Customizable user-friendly dashboards for easy, context-sensitive monitoring
  • Comprehensive data visualization in Flamegraphs, Gantt charts, etc., to easily view trends, discover service relationships, and isolate problematic service components
  • Alerts for proactive issue resolution
  • Real-time real-user, app performance, and network monitoring
  • Columnar database for swift log processing and root cause analysis
  • Flexible plans; open-source or paid plans
  • Real-time insights on apps & infra metrics


SigNoz offers a free self-hosted version and a paid managed service option that offers competitive prices based on the volume of data and features required.

2. Datadog

Datadog dashboards
Datadog dashboards

Datadog offers comprehensive AWS infrastructure monitoring by collecting and visualizing logs, metrics, and traces. Its customizable dashboard displays data from every component of the AWS environment.


  • Color-coded, user-friendly, and customizable dashboards
  • Machine learning-based anomaly detection
  • Log management
  • SIEM for swift threat detection and configuration audits
  • Integrates with AWS monitoring services for comprehensive monitoring


Datadog offers pricing based on the number of hosts and other metrics monitored, with various tiers and add-on features available.

3. New Relic

New Relic Dashboards
New Relic Dashboards

New Relic is an AWS Advanced Technology Partner monitoring service that provides monitoring and observability for cloud-native applications and infrastructure. It offers insights into application behavior, dependencies, and performance across different AWS services. New Relic uses attributes like role, tier, availability zone, data center, or custom EC2 tags to sort hosts and prioritize instances within EC2. With its customizable dashboard, you can slice and dice your AWS data.


  • Transaction tracing
  • Code-level diagnostics
  • Infrastructure and serverless monitoring
  • AWS cost tracking and forecasting
  • Automated alerting


New Relic's pricing is based on usage, with various pricing tiers and custom enterprise options available.

4. Dynatrace

Dynatrace dashboards
Dynatrace dashboards

Dynatrace provides AI-powered observability and monitoring capabilities for cloud environments, including AWS. It offers AI-driven insights, automated root cause analysis, and real-time monitoring across hybrid and multi-cloud environments. In addition to metrics, traces, and related data, Dynatrace also captures data regarding user behaviors and experiences. Dynatrace OneAgent enables you to use byte-code instrumentation for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS), AWS Lambda, Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), and AWS Fargate.


  • Real user monitoring
  • Smartscape topology visualization
  • Automatic baselining for anomaly detection
  • Deep code-level visibility
  • Cloud infrastructure monitoring


Dynatrace offers various monitoring and analytics services with hourly or usage-based pricing. Full-stack monitoring, which includes observability for apps, microservices, and infrastructure, costs $0.08 per hour per 8 GiB host. Infrastructure monitoring is priced at $0.04 per hour for any size host. Kubernetes monitoring costs $0.002 per hour per pod.

5. Sematext

Sematext dashboards
Sematext dashboards

Sematext is a full-stack monitoring platform that monitors and manages logs within AWS services and enables centralized monitoring of distributed applications and infrastructure. It focuses on performance monitoring, log management, and real-user monitoring and offers monitoring for both cloud and on-premises infrastructure.


  • Automatic discovery and monitoring of AWS services
  • AWS resource monitoring on a per-container basis for granular insights
  • Real-time synthetic and real-user monitoring
  • Resource usage and cost prediction
  • Customizable dashboards


Sematext's pricing is based on the volume of logs, metrics and monitoring data ingested, with various pricing plans available for different levels of usage and features.


To maintain operational efficiency, minimize waste, and ensure a strong security posture in your AWS environment, a powerful monitoring tool is indispensable. Selecting the right monitoring tool boils down to assessing if the cost and features offered by the tool match your enterprise’s unique needs.

Among the many tools, SigNoz stands out for its specialized strength in distributed tracing, data visualization, anomaly detection, and SLO tracking. These features provide you with in-depth visibility and actionable insights for the reliability of your AWS infrastructures. To learn more about SigNoz and explore its features, simply visit its comprehensive documentation, or sign up for a free account on SigNoz Cloud and get 30 days of unlimited access to all features.