Expanding Amazon Web Services Monitoring with AppDynamics

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Enterprises are increasingly moving their applications to the cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the leading cloud provider. We announced expanded AWS monitoring with the AppDynamics Winter ‘16 release earlier this year.

Enterprises are increasingly moving their applications to the cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the leading cloud provider. We announced expanded AWS monitoring with the AppDynamics Winter ‘16 release earlier this year. In this blog, I will provide some additional details on the expanded support of AWS monitoring.

Native Support of AWS components

Before the Winter ’16 release, only Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) was automatically discovered by AppDynamics Java APM agents and shown in the Application flow map with key performance metrics. For other AWS components, customers had to configure the discovery of the backends manually in AppDynamics or use the old Amazon Cloudwatch Monitoring extension to get the AWS metrics and track them in metric browser or dashboards.

In the AppDynamics Winter ’16 release, the following AWS components are natively supported by Java APM agents:

  • Amazon DynamoDB: A fast and flexible NoSQL database service
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3): It provides secure, durable, highly scalable object storage
  • Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS): It is Pub-sub Service for Mobile and Enterprise Messaging

By native support, I mean automatic discovery and display of the Application flow map with key performance metrics without any manual configuration. The screenshot of AppDynamics application flow map in Figure 1 below shows an application that uses Amazon DynamoDB, S3, and SNS.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 4.57.37 PM.png

Figure 1 – Application using Amazon DynamoDB, S3, and SNS

19 New AWS Monitoring Extensions

The AppDynamics platform is highly extensible to monitor various technology solutions that are not discovered natively. In the past, we had Amazon Cloudwatch Monitoring extension that collected all the AWS metrics via Amazon Cloudwatch APIs and passed them to the AppDynamics controller where they were tracked in metric browsers or dashboards. This extension was not very efficient because it collected and passed a lot of data for all the AWS components even if a customer just needed to monitor one or two different AWS components they were using.

The AppDynamics Winter ’16 release announced 19 new AWS monitoring extensions to monitor different AWS components. These extensions still use Amazon Cloudwatch APIs, but collect metrics for a specific AWS component and pass it to AppDynamics controller for tracking, creating health rules and visualizing in dashboards efficiently.

Here is the list of all the new AWS monitoring extensions:

  1. AWS Custom Namespace Monitoring Extension
  2. AWS SQS Monitoring Extension
  3. AWS S3 Monitoring Extension
  4. AWS Lambda Monitoring Extension
  5. AWS CloudSearch Monitoring Extension
  6. AWS StorageGateway Monitoring Extension
  7. AWS SNS Monitoring Extension
  8. AWS Route53 Monitoring Extension
  9. AWS Redshift Monitoring Extension
  10. AWS ElasticMapReduce Monitoring Extension
  11. AWS RDS Monitoring Extension


Figure 2 – Amazon RDS Metrics in AppDynamics Metric Browser

  1. AWS ELB Monitoring Extension
  2. AWS OpsWorks Monitoring Extension
  3. AWS EBS Monitoring Extension


Figure 3 – Amazon EBS Metrics in AppDynamics Metric Browser

  1. AWS Billing Monitoring Extension
  2. AWS AutoScaling Monitoring Extension
  3. AWS DynamoDB Monitoring Extension
  4. AWS ElastiCache Monitoring Extension
  5. AWS EC2 Monitoring Extension

Customers can leverage all the core functionalities of AppDynamics (e.g. dynamic baselining, health rules, policies, actions, etc.) for all of these AWS metrics while correlating them with the performance of the application using these AWS environment.

AppDynamics Customers using AWS Monitoring

With AppDynamics, many of our customers have accelerated their application migration to the cloud while others continue to monitor cloud applications as the application complexity explodes with the move towards microservices and dynamic web services. As the workload on the these cloud applications grew, AppDynamics came to rescue by elastically scaling the AWS resources to meet the exponential demand for applications.

For example, Nasdaq accelerated their application migration to AWS and gained complete visibility into complex application ecosystem. Heather Abbott, Senior Vice President of Corporate Solutions Technology at Nasdaq, summarized their experience with AppDynamics. “The ability to trace a transaction visually and intuitively through the interface was a major benefit AppDynamics delivered. This visibility was especially valuable when Nasdaq was migrating a platform from its internal infrastructure to the AWS Cloud. We used AppDynamics extensively to understand how our system was functioning on AWS, a completely new platform for us.”