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Right sizing is one of the most powerful ways to optimize cloud spend for maximum performance. CloudCheckr offers right-sizing reports that can recommend scaling compute instance sizes up or down — as well as suggesting different types of instances.
CloudCheckr makes these recommendations based on a number of parameters, including CPU utilization and network I/O. This is possible without installing an agent on each computing instance.
This agentless approach is desirable and sufficient for most customers. There is no need to download, install, and maintain another piece of software on your servers. Additionally, there is no unnecessary software draining your CPU cycles.
While recording memory utilization metrics would require an agent, customers who are experiencing high memory utilization are likely also maxing out their CPUs, so right sizing recommendations can still be reliable without an agent. But for those customers that prefer including memory metrics, CloudCheckr has a number of options.
AWS Agent Option
Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers the Amazon CloudWatch Agent as an option for EC2 instances running Linux or Windows Server. The CloudWatch Agent can measure custom metrics, including memory utilization and the data is stored in CloudWatch Metrics. There are additional Custom Metric fees for CloudWatch beyond the basic services.
Install the CloudWatch Agent on each EC2 instance that you wish to measure, using these instructions. Note that instances running older versions of Linux or Windows Server, particularly older Amazon Machine Image (AMI) instances may not support the current CloudWatch Agent. Additionally, the administrator needs to create IAM roles and users that the CloudWatch Agent runs as, with permissions to monitor and log the desired metrics.
Once you have enabled CloudWatch custom metrics on your AWS account, you need to follow these directions to synchronize the data with the CloudCheckr app. You will need to add a custom CWAgent metric. In Linux, the metric name is system_mem_utilization and in Microsoft Windows, it is Bytes Per Second.
Third-Party Agent Option
There is another option for logging memory utilization, from a third-party. CloudCheckr recommends using Datadog, a cloud-based performance monitoring tool. The Datadog agent will need to be installed on each applicable computing instance, and configured to report memory utilization to CloudCheckr. The Datadog integration can be managed within the Account Settings > Integrations > Imports menu. You will need to provide your Datadog API and Application Keys.
In the end, there are at least a couple of options for integrating memory utilization metrics into the CloudCheckr right sizing report, if needed. Understand the pros and cons of adding an agent, either from AWS or a third-party, and you can enjoy even more precise recommendations.