CloudWatch: AWS Custom Metrics & Business Impact

This is a basic tutorial that explains the importance of tracking results and how to collect data using Custom Metrics using AWS CloudWatch Metrics.
The ultimate purpose of this story is to allow the reader to understand some of the terminologies of CloudWatch and to always push for challenging goal that leads to higher performance teams/individual.

Business Impact (KPI)

A Key Performance Indicator is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company or an individual is achieving key objectives.

An example from Lattice (how to organise your KPI).
  1. Knowing if you are on track for the deadline.
  2. Being able to control the outcome.
  1. Set the goal! “Realistic but hard to achieve”
  2. Timeframe it! “Your time is precious, manage it!”
  3. Deadline; “Failure is a chance to improve, get better on estimation and managing expectation.”
  4. Track Progress “Re-iterate, re-prioritise, keep up morale.”

Custom Metrics (Mesure and Achieve Success)

In this part, I’ll show how to use AWS Custom Metrics to be able to measure any part of your application, moreover, making sure you are on-track on your KPI and be able to re-iterate and re-prioritise when you are trending bearish.

2 data point registered at 11:20 with dimension name “starter.”

Metric

A metric is a set of data-point that will always have: Name, Namespace, Value and timestamp.

Metric Timestamp: usage and retention period

Metrics are time-series that are stored for 15 months; nevertheless, you are allowed to publish a metric of up to 2 weeks old or 2 hours in the future!

With a Period of 5 Seconds, the graph is cutting away all the data that has already been automatically aggregated
Same Metric, however using 1 Minute. Now we can visualise the data before 10:00

Namespace(s)

The namespace will help you to define your domain and group metrics that are part of that domain-space.

Various Namespace from AWS

You need always a namespace to publish a metric!

Dimension(s)

A dimension is a set of name/value that is associated with your metric and enable you to add information related to the metric you are publishing. You can add up to 10 dimensions per metric.

Image showing what is a NAMESPACE and a DIMENSION NAME on the GUI
Image showing what is a NAMESPACE and a DIMENSION NAME/VALUE on the GUI

Let’s get real!

Let’s imagine to create a namespace where we are putting a few metrics without dimension such: NumberOfRequests, NumberOfClicks etc. etc.

aws cloudwatch put-metric-data --namespace NAMESPACE-NoDimension --metric-name NumberOfRequests --value 1 --unit Countaws cloudwatch put-metric-data --namespace NAMESPACE-NoDimension --metric-name NumberOfClicks --value 1 --unit Countaws cloudwatch put-metric-data --namespace NAMESPACE-NoDimension --metric-name NumberOfFailure --value 1 --unit Countaws cloudwatch put-metric-data --namespace NAMESPACE-NoDimension --metric-name NumberOfConversion --value 1 --unit Coun
A metric without dimensions:
The interface of the metrics without dimensions
aws cloudwatch put-metric-data --namespace NAMESPACE-with-dimension --metric-name NumberOfRequests --dimensions User=Alberto --value 1 --unit Countaws cloudwatch put-metric-data --namespace NAMESPACE-with-dimension --metric-name NumberOfRequests --dimensions User=Adriana --value 1 --unit Countaws cloudwatch put-metric-data --namespace NAMESPACE-with-dimension --metric-name NumberOfRequests --dimensions User=Joseph --value 1 --unit Countaws cloudwatch put-metric-data --namespace NAMESPACE-with-dimension --metric-name NumberOfRequests --dimensions User=Daniel --value 1 --unit Countaws cloudwatch put-metric-data --namespace NAMESPACE-with-dimension --metric-name NumberOfRequests --dimensions User=Patrick --value 1 --unit Count
The interface with a namespace containing dimensions
  • Reaching $X amount of sells in a timeframe
  • Reaching $X amount of sell of product Y (dimensions) in a timeframe
  • Cross product selling when a user purchase product X and then Y.

In Summary

This is a very basic tutorial; nevertheless, don’t underestimate the metrics!
They are a vital part of your business, helping to transform a goal into a subset of numbers that can map the progress of your objectives accurately.

Passionate about people management, effective coaching and IT development. Currently Head Of Development, Scrum Master, AWS Certified, Surfer.

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