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The AWS Management Tools are an excellent way to set up, configure, and monitor a cloud infrastructure.  Many of these are free or have low fees that make them a no-brainer when considering whether to utilize them.  There are several services in this group so let’s take each in turn.

CloudWatch

Monitor your Amazon AWS resources with this service.  You can select metrics and alarms related to variances in those values.  The free tier allows for a few alerts and dashboards.  This is a valuable resource to keep up with how your production services are doing.  You can even look for trends that imply a failure to make changes before its too late.

CloudTrail

The prior service is for monitoring your resources.  CloudTrail is very similar but for tracking your users.  You can keep up with valid users and also look for potential hackers by analyzing the data in this service.  It tracks activities through API calls, the User Interface, and any other ways to access the systems.  Think of it as an access log file for all of your AWS services in a single location.

Service Catalog

When you want to build a filter or layer on top of AWS services for your organization, this is the tool you are looking for.  It allows you to provide a catalog for your users of specific AWS services they can access and pre-configured resources as well.  This is a perfect solution for maintaining compliance while still allowing for quick access and deployment of AWS resources.

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Personal Health Dashboard

The number of AWS services can be overwhelming.  This is a bit of an issue when you want to see how the current resource families are doing (Up, Down, or Other) and focus on those that matter to you.  The PHD provides precisely that information.  You are shown a dashboard of how the services that impact your subscription are doing and any scheduled changes.  Instead of going to a generic dashboard to see if your services are having any issues at the Amazon level, use this to get right to what matters to you.

Auto Scaling

This service allows you to adjust up and down the capacity of your AWS services on a dynamic basis.  That means this is one of the most valuable resources for any cloud solution.  It is here that you configure the rules for when to make adjustments to how you use resources.

Config

All of these Amazon services require configuration.  That administrative work can quickly become a headache.  Enter, Amazon Config.  This provides you with a way to track all of those configuration steps and create an inventory of them.  If change management is something important to you (it should be) then Amazon Config is going to reduce your headaches.

Systems Manager

Like all of these other management tools, Systems Manager helps you run your AWS resources.  This is quite possibly the best way to view your entire infrastructure in one location.  It includes a centralized approach to store configuration, secrets and to separate them from code.  You can group resources, set up automation, and make changes directly to them all from this tool.

Cloud Formation

This service provides a common language to describe and provision your resources.  Although tools like Config and Systems Manager help you manage your systems, this takes it to the next level.  You can use Cloud Formation to model, implement, and even version control your entire infrastructure.

OpsWorks

Of course, Amazon is up to speed with the tools the cool kids use.  This coverage includes Chef and Puppet for automated configuration and management.  That is where OpsWorks comes in.  It provides managed instances for either of these or the option of OpsWorks Stacks.

Trusted Advisor

The AWS family of services require some know-how to do it right.  The Trusted Advisor service provides help with that.  IT is a resource for reducing cost, improving security, and increasing performance.

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Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a longtime student of technology as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is a founder and principle of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences.In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although a few have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax.

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