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Difference and relationship between CloudWatch "monitoring type" and "metric resolution"


The monitoring types dictates how an AWS Service sends metrics to CloudWatch and they are of two types: Basic (every 5 minutes) and Detailed (every minute). On the other hand, each metric is one of the following: Standard resolution (with data having a one-minute granularity) or High resolution, (with data at a granularity of one second).

My questions:

  1. If I'm getting it right, the resolution is the frequency at which metrics are generated and the monitoring type is the frequency at which a service publishes the metric to CloudWatch right?
  2. If So, why have a "high resolution" metric being able to generate data each 1 second if CloudWatch can only ingest metrics each minute (based on the detailed monitoring type)?
asked 6 months ago128 views
1 Answer

Hi, CloudWatch can ingest metrics with a resolution of 1 second, but the ability to leverage that resolution is not currently offered by detailed monitoring, so only custom metrics users take advantage of it.

Monitoring type is not just about the resolution: Basic monitoring includes some 1-min metrics at no charge (e.g. StatusCheck on EC2- And when you turn on detailed monitoring, in addition to getting 1-minute resolution for many metrics, you also get additional metrics. For example on EC2: "For the instances where you've enabled detailed monitoring, you can also get aggregated data across groups of similar instances." (cf.

Regarding sub-minute resolution: If using custom metrics, you can ingest your observations with sub-minute resolution, down to 1-second resolution, then plot them at 1-second resolution, or use CloudWatch statistics to surface means or percentiles over different time resolutions (e.g. 5/10/30 seconds), or alarm on them at sub-minute (e.g. 10-second) frequency.

answered 5 months ago

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