A closer look at CloudWatch, Azure Monitor and Stackdriver - Longitude (2023)

August 29, 2017|I Leonie

As cloud adoption continues to increase, IT needs to carefully consider not only the basic capabilities provided by cloud providers, but also the technology that inherently monitors the health and performance of the cloud infrastructure.

It is important for IT to recognize both the coverage and limitations of cloud monitoring technology. IT requirements differ depending on the type of cloud deployment, i.e. hybrid, public, or multi-vendor, and understanding the available monitoring toolsets will help organizations better determine the resources they need to effectively monitor the health and performance of IT infrastructure. applications.


is the platform that oversees Amazon Web Services (AWS). Basically, CloudWatch provides:

  • Clear access and visibility into performance and health metrics
  • Notifications and alarms
  • Monitoring log data
  • Integration with other AWS services and other monitoring products

Everything that works natively in the AWS infrastructure createsCloudWatch metric, for example:

  • Infrastructure measurements
    • Virtuelle forekomster u Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud)
    • Data gemt u Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service)
    • Elastic load balancers
  • AWS application metrics
    • DynamoDB
    • Amazon RDS
  • Custom metrics

Users select metrics to monitor (eg, EC2 instance CPU utilization) and create graph widgets to display them. These widgets are then added to the CloudWatch dashboard, which provides enormous flexibility in terms of data visualization – for example, zooming in or rescaling a chart.

CloudWatch does not expect IT to constantly look at the dashboard and provides a flexible setalarmcriteria withAmazon Simple Notification Service (SNS)for notifications.

CloudWatch can collect and store AWS logs or user logs and search them for expressions or patterns or for further analysis CloudWatch can stream log data usingLambdadoElasticsearch.

Overall, CloudWatch provides a great framework from which to monitor your AWS environment, with easy access to key performance metrics and log data. However, be prepared to invest time in building everything without a standard knowledge base. Another option to make better use of CloudWatch data is to use AWS Lambda to send CloudWatch data to an AWS partner, such as Splunk, for further analysis and processing.

Wall Street analysts acknowledge that hybrid cloud environments will remain a critical component of the IT landscape, as evidenced by Amazon's continuedcreate a closer relationshipwith VMWare. However, CloudWatch is designed for AWS services. If an organization is using a hybrid of AWS and VMWare/vSphere or Microsoft/Hyper-V, or a hybrid with other cloud providers, then they need to look outside of Cloudwatch for a unified view of health and performance.


is Microsoft's built-in Azure resource performance and health monitoring service. At its most basic level, the model is similar to Cloudwatch: Azure Monitor uses telemetry data (performance data and logs) generated by all Azure services and allows the user to visualize, query, route, archive and take action on the data.

Azure Monitor has the following features:

  • Dashboards can be easily created using telemetry data that shows performance, availability and compliance
  • Log files can be evaluated or sent to Azure Storage orEvent centers
  • Azure Monitor data can be integrated with other Azure services such asApp InsightsiLog Analytics

Azure Monitor alerts can use web notifications as well as email. Webhooks can be easily integrated with 3rdparty applications such as PagerDuty or Slack and can also be used to execute scripts. Azure Monitor's webnotifier implementation is well integrated into Azure Monitor, unlike Cloudwatch and SNS which require users to
completes an alert on the SNS topic, after which the SNS sends an alert aHTTP endpoint.

Azure Application Insights provides application performance analytics for Azure Monitor telemetry data by using built-in analytics to aggregate and correlate metrics and using machine learning to provide availability, performance, and usage pattern details for applications.

Azure monitorLog Analyticsthe service can connect records to provide a holistic view of your environment. Log Analytics is part of itOperations Management Suite(OMS), a suite of cloud-based services that are a strategic part of overseeing the Azure technology stack.

As Microsoft's technology stack continues to expand (i.e. Windows/Azure hybrid cloud,Windows Azure Pack, iWindows Azure Stack), the choice of monitoring and control technology becomes more complex.System Center, Azure Monitor and OMS share a subset of monitoring functions – there are e.g. System Center Management Pack for Azure - but theydeviatealso. Azure Monitor is focused on the cloud, so if you need a pre-configured knowledge base for Windows and a full suite of Microsoft applications, look no further than Azure Monitor.

Azure Monitor is clearly aimed at Microsoft. However, this may not be a problem for organizations that have made a strategic decision to go all in on Microsoft. One-stop shopping and support for any combination of private, hybrid or public clouds is a compelling story.

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Stackdriver,Google's cloud monitoring offering differs from Cloudwatch and Azure Monitor in a number of ways. First, Stackdriver includes not only Google Cloud Platform (GCP) but also AWS, providing unified monitoring of the two cloud platforms. Google praises Stackdriver's multi-cloud strategy, and given Amazon's prominent status, that certainly adds to Stackdriver's appeal.

Second, Stackdriver includes a development component (DevOPs) with IT oversight. However, while the IT operations functionality spans both AWS and GCP, the DevOPs function is focused on Google. Stackdriver is capable of debugging deployments on the Google Platform with trace and debug functionality and offers features such as:

  • Tracking– performance and availability dashboards and alerts
  • Cutting wood– visualize log data with searching and filtering
  • Troubleshooting– Set checkpoints on active, running applicationsApp EngineiCompute Engine
  • Sport– show latency data from apps deployed on App Engine
  • Report an error– smart visualization and error notification

For monitoring, Stackdriver collects GCP, AWS, and custom metrics usingStackdriver monitoring API. If monitoring needs extend beyond native cloud services (i.e. 3rdparty applications and virtual machine metrics) API allows you to extend your monitoring capabilities.

Stackdriver requires installation of the collected open source dataagentto access non-cloud metrics. The agent performs discovery and looks at active ports and instance names to determine if they are supportedthird party applications(eg Apache or MySQL) for monitoring. Once the application is monitored, key metrics become available on the console and users can access standard dashboards or define their own dashboards. Stackdriver's charting and graphing capabilities are strong points, with easy creation, correlation, and drill down. Alerts are easily configured and can be sent to the console, Slack, Hipchat, Pagerduty, SMS, email, Webhook and Campfire.


Stackdriver userliquidagent for uploading system and application logs and log-based metrics to GCP and AWS and provides a logging API. Log data from Stackdriver can also be exported to other Google services such asBigQuery, where users can further analyze and connect log stream data with more powerful SQL queries.


Stackdriver's DevOps capabilities set it apart from other cloud monitors. After
install oneagentfor a supported language, i.eI can't work withapplications with stored source codeGoogle Cloud Source Repository, GitHub ili BitBucket. Features include:

  • Debugging live applications running on App Engine and Compute Engine
  • Setting up guard points
  • Capture and inspect the call stack and local application variables


Stackdriver can monitor latency in App Engine applications. Developers can use the information displayed in near real-time to analyze application latency and quickly isolate the causes of poor performance.

Report an error:

Stackdriver relies on a floating agent used in logging to collect error and crash information for applications deployed on App Engine and Computer Engine, and this error data can be used to identify and track application problems. When an error is identified (for example, in an automated email), the Stackdriver console can display the number of times the error occurred, its first and last occurrence, the stack trace, and more.

Ultimately, if you're monitoring the overall health and performance of a combined AWS and GCP environment, or if you're a developer using Google services, Stackdriver is an attractive option. While Stackdriver is easy to navigate, you still need to invest time in configuring your environment, just like you do with Cloudwatch and Azure Monitor. Stackdriver's reliance on agents may be problematic for some sites, while deploying and managing an agent-based site may not be a problem for others.


Cloud platform monitoring technology is one of the many factors to consider when choosing a cloud service provider. All cloud vendors provide tools that do a good job of monitoring their own platforms, but it's up to IT staff to build those tools into a site-specific monitoring suite. "Building" is rarely a quick process, so it's important to have realistic expectations about the resources needed to properly implement cloud monitoring.

Understanding what's happening inside virtual machines, from an operating system and application perspective, is an important part of cloud infrastructure management. Technologies such asLenghtcomplement cloud monitoring with built-in knowledge bases for applications and operating systems and quick and easy deployment, forming an important part of the complete cloud monitoring package.

AWS vs. Azure

Download our AWS vs. Azure Comparison Matrix - Amazon and Microsoft offer cloud technology and services that are great in their own right.

Which traits and characteristics are better for your organization?

Download Comparison: AWS vs Azure


What is CloudWatch equivalent in Azure? ›

Azure's native monitoring service, Azure Monitor, and AWS' equivalent, Amazon CloudWatch, are both transforming the way cloud teams are detecting and remediating issues with applications and infrastructure resources.

What is Stackdriver in AWS? ›

About Stackdriver

Stackdriver Intelligent Monitoring includes several breakthrough features, such as Rapid Stack Discovery, Stack Scanner, Elastic Monitoring, and AWS Insights.

Which feature of Azure Monitor allows you to visually analyze telemetry data? ›

Rationale: Application Insights is a feature of Azure Monitor that allows you to analyze telemetry data visually. It is an Application Performance Management (APM) service that detects performance in real-time.

Which AWS service enables you to Monitor your complete stack? ›

CloudWatch enables you to monitor your complete stack (applications, infrastructure, network, and services) and use alarms, logs, and events data to take automated actions and reduce mean time to resolution (MTTR).


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