Amazon CloudWatch Review

Having one platform, as opposed to having to use a lot of different platforms makes a huge difference


What is our primary use case?

We always use whatever's the latest because that's all we have access to. Because we deploy to other companies, we do public and hybrid clouds. Some of it is hybrid, some of it would be private as well. The majority is probably hybrid, but we're deploying for customers. Most of it's around optimizing utilization, their cloud utilization. They're making sure that they're getting the most out of their in-cloud environments and their instances. Making sure that there's no strange behavior in the environment. That's really what we're trying to do. And that's what Cloud Watch really helps with, is it's making sure it's collecting, monitoring, analyzing, all the things that are going on within their instance, so that we can optimize it better. And if there are any anomalies, anything that is out of the norm, then we're able to catch it and fix it pretty quickly. The ability of it to detect anomalies, and setting dynamic alarms, and automating a lot of the actions. I think that's a huge benefit that the companies have seen.

How has it helped my organization?

Ultimately it gives you enterprise visibility that you don't typically have. If you don't have this or a competing product you would not have this visibility. And that allows you to take care of issues faster, and take care of issues on the fly, as opposed to having to go run reports, have engineers go through logs, and look at things, try to figure things out.

What is most valuable?

The ability to analyze is probably the most valuable feature. We also have system-wide visibility. And you have a unified operational health watch, I think those are pretty key. 

I think the biggest is with CloudWatch. It's part of the AWS interface, so again, it's all baked in. You don't have to have a third party tool, because it's a part of the platform, and having one platform, as opposed to having to use a lot of different platforms makes a huge difference. Or having to go to another third party platform.

What needs improvement?

I think the machine learning aspect of it probably does help because machine learning is not really machine learning. That needs some help. Better reporting is always something needed. That could be an answer to just about anything. But you always want better reporting, better dashboards, things that are just more dynamic and more accessible.

For how long have I used the solution?

We don't use it ourselves. We deploy it but have been doing so for around nine months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. They took a lot of the best of what other people are doing, so it's pretty good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is really good because it's baked into the platform, so that gives it a lot more capacity for scaling very quickly.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is fantastic. It's the best ever.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is straightforward for what it is. It's a little of both. It's honestly like any technology, it's a little of both. It can be very straightforward, depending on the size of the client and what they currently have. If it's a very large enterprise client, it's going to be much more complex. If the size of their instance is running a hundred applications, versus a small company that may only be running 10. It's just going to be much more complex, making sure that everything is connected, running and that it's watching everything correctly. The setup becomes a little trickier.

What about the implementation team?

I would say that the average deployment is probably about a month or two, just for this particular product. Our implementation strategy is pretty straightforward. We analyze what their instance currently looks like, and then we just build out a roadmap for overlaying and including CloudWatch, to make sure that it's connecting, watching, and then reporting accurately for each application. It could be anywhere from two people to five people to deploy and maintain. If it's a large deployment, it's going to be more. 

Maintenance is pretty straightforward. One person can be doing maintenance, or even a half-person, if you will. Somebody doing it part-time and doing something else. Just depending on the size and the complexity of what has to be done, and then maintained and watched over. Somebody has to be watching the reports, making sure if an alarm goes off, that somebody's dealing with it right away.

What was our ROI?

A lot of companies don't have a lot of control over their cloud instance. They want to but they don't know how to get there. That's part of what we help them with. CloudWatch helps provide that look into what's really going on and making sure that they're going to get the ROI out of it. If you don't have that, you're going to really struggle. I think there's more opportunity for visibility available than a lot of companies think there is, or know how to take advantage of.

What other advice do I have?

It's a good product. It does what it says it's going to do. In the beginning, you've got to really focus on your optimization, and have somebody who understands it from the beginning. That was a part of the implementation, to be able to do the maintenance and be effective at it. 

I would rate it an eight out of ten because overall it's really good. I'm sure they're going to add more features and more things over time, but it's a pretty complete product for the most part. Again, some of the learning pieces could be better, the reporting could be better. It's not perfect, but it's not bad. It's pretty good.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partners
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