Brief Introduction to Observability on AWS

Explore the wide variety of Application Performance Monitoring (APM) and Observability options on AWS

Gary A. Stafford
4 min readMar 10


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APM and Observability

Observability is “the extent to which the internal states of a system can be inferred from externally available data” (Gartner). The three pillars of observability data are metrics, logs, and traces. Application Performance Monitoring (APM), a term commonly associated with observability, is “software that enables the observation and analysis of application health, performance, and user experience” (Gartner).

Additional features often associated with APM and observability products and services include the following (in alphabetical order):

  • Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)
  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)
  • Incident Detection Response (IDR)
  • Infrastructure Performance Monitoring (IPM)
  • Network Device Monitoring (NDM)
  • Network Performance Monitoring (NPM)
  • OpenTelemetry (OTel)
  • Operational (or Operations) Intelligence Platform
  • Predictive Monitoring (predictive analytics / predictive modeling)
  • Real User Monitoring (RUM)
  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
  • Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR)
  • Synthetic Monitoring (directed monitoring / synthetic testing)
  • Threat Visibility and Risk Scoring
  • Unified Security and Observability Platform
  • User Behavior Analytics (UBA)

Not all features are offered by all vendors. Most vendors tend to specialize in one or more areas. Determining which features are essential to your organization before choosing a solution is vital.


Given the growing volume and real-time nature of observability telemetry, many vendors have started incorporating AI and ML into their products and services to improve correlation, anomaly detection, and mitigation capabilities…



Gary A. Stafford

Area Principal Solutions Architect @ AWS | 10x AWS Certified Pro | Polyglot Developer | DataOps | DevOps | Technology consultant, writer, and speaker