SeeDub: Universal Custom Metrics for AWS CloudWatch

When AWS supported an API call to push whatever metric we want, we got very excited. Once a metric is in CloudWatch, we can key a scaling policy to it, have it trigger an action, an alarm, basically perform any action we very well please. Finally, ultimate flexibility in what factors determine what actions, and we get pretty graphs to boot! For example, we could scale a processing group up and down like an accordion based on the number of entries in a DB table, or maybe the amount of free system memory. The hurdles proved disheartening, but we created a solution.

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Chef and CloudFormation

The ephemeral nature that comes along with cloudy virtual machines means that we need to be able to go down and come up at any time without flinching. What good is hardware scriptability if the app itself doesn’t lend itself to automated management? For years, we’ve been using custom sets of homebrew scripts, checked-in alongside both the app code and any virtual hardware scripting. It was cumbersome, but it worked beautifully. Chef promised to make the cumbersome elegant. Did it? Continue reading