AWS CloudWatch is the primary monitoring system used by our Fanatical Support for AWS support teams. CloudWatch provides a wide variety of metrics that cover the entire suite of AWS services - from CPU utilization and disk I/O on EC2 instances to network throughput of your ELB load balancers.
While AWS CloudWatch is available to Fanatical Support for AWS accounts at all service levels, customers using our Aviator service level can opt to have a Racker respond to unexpected deviations in metrics. Watchman is the system responsible for receiving CloudWatch alarms and creating tickets on your Rackspace account.
CloudWatch Alarms can be triggered to fire when the value of a CloudWatch metric deviates from its expected value. For example, if CPU utilization on an EC2 instance exceeds 80% for a period of five minutes or greater, the CloudWatch alarm can be configured to send an alert to a Rackspace-managed SNS (Simple Notification Service) topic (named rackspace-support) that will generate a ticket for further investigation by a Racker.
The rackspace-support SNS topic is configured in each region when your AWS account is first setup for Fanatical Support for AWS. A subscription to the SNS topic is created for a centralized region-specific SQS (Simple Queue Service) queue that resides in our shared management services account. Our shared management services system continually monitors these queues and generates a ticket when a valid CloudWatch alarm is received from an Aviator service level account.
While the SNS topic described above is present on every Fanatical Support for AWS account, only accounts at the Aviator service level will have tickets generated. If your account is at the Navigator service level, no action will be taken for CloudWatch alarm notifications sent to your account's rackspace-support SNS queue.
Custom CloudWatch Configuration¶
CloudWatch allows for the creation of custom metrics to allow monitoring the things that are most critical to the uptime of your applications. As an Aviator customer, you can create custom CloudWatch metrics and alarms, as well as send notifications to the rackspace-support SNS topic if you desire a Racker response to triggered alarms. We do recommend that you work with a Racker when first creating custom CloudWatch metrics and alarms so that we can ensure that everything is configured properly and that the desired Racker response is clearly documented.
SmartTickets is an automation system connected to Watchman that helps provide Rackers additional contextual information in response to CloudWatch Alarms. SmartTickets leverages AWS Systems Manager and AWS APIs to run diagnostic commands against your AWS infrastructure, and displays this information to the Rackers responding to alarms.
SmartTickets activities are recorded in AWS CloudTrail and Rackspace Logbook, and can be identified by examining the API history for the racker-faws-a63460cb user.