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InfoQ Homepage News Amazon Cloudwatch Dashboards Supports Sharing

Amazon Cloudwatch Dashboards Supports Sharing

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AWS recently introduced the ability to share Amazon CloudWatch Dashboards with users who do not have access to the AWS account. This feature opens up new use cases for dashboards, including sharing metrics and information on big screens, or embedding real-time information in public pages.

Amazon CloudWatch Dashboards is an Amazon CloudWatch feature that allows customizable views with metrics and alarms to monitor AWS resources across different regions. Dashboard widgets can display a set of metrics as single values, line charts, or stacked area charts.

With the new functionality, there are three different ways to share CloudWatch Dashboards and cover different user cases. It is possible to share a single dashboard and designate specific email addresses and passwords, share it publicly with a link, or share all the dashboards in the account using a third-party single sign-on (SSO) provider for access.

Amazon CloudWatch has been available for over 10 years and customized dashboards have been introduced in 2015 but being limited to AWS users was a constraint for many use cases, including public live dashboard, making observability harder. AWS was already offering workarounds to create Amazon CloudWatch Dashboard outside of the AWS management console, but they relied on a more complex solution invoking a Lambda function and an API Gateway as a proxy for the requests. Many partners and third party providers already offered alternative solutions built on CloudWatch API, like DataDog Shared graphs and screenboards and embedded charts using New Relic.

Microsoft offers Azure Dashboards but sharing is limited to other users in the organization. Describing how to create unique dashboards for external customers with Google Cloud, Pascal Brokmeier, data engineer and GCP enthusiast, explains the importance of sharing metrics:

While dashboards are widely used within organizations, they should also be possible to be shared with 3rd parties (...) Public organizations may want to share their performance metrics with the public and companies may want to share their KPIs with regulatory bodies.

Some developers positively reacted to the new AWS feature, suggesting use cases: "This is super cool! (...) This is perfect to improve visibility of your infra in a team/department/company level" tweets Mauricio Klein, while Bruno Amaro Almeida, principal architect and technology advisor at Futurice, comments:

This is really nice and long awaited. I was never able to invest proper time in CloudWatch Dashboards because it was lacking features.

Even if Amazon CloudWatch supports cross-account cross-region dashboards, the new sharing feature is currently limited to a single region as Kenneth Falck, principal architect at Nordcloud, reports:

Looks like this new CloudWatch Dashboard link sharing feature doesn't work with cross-region metrics though. My eu-west-1 dashboard works otherwise fine, but us-east-1 metrics say "No data available". So I can't see my billing balance and CloudFront metrics.

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