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AWS How to - CloudWatch monitoring scripts over HTTPS proxy on Ubuntu Linux (12.04 LTS)

The subject says it all: small intro into WTF? is Amazon CloudWatch and small how to setup and use Amazon CloudWatch monitoring scripts over HTTPS proxy on Ubuntu Linux 12.04 LTS.

tl; dr;

WTF? CloudWatch

What Is Amazon CloudWatch?

Amazon CloudWatch monitors your Amazon Web Services (AWS) resources and the applications you run on AWS in real-time. You can use CloudWatch to collect and track metrics, which are the variables you want to measure for your resources and applications. CloudWatch alarms send notifications or automatically make changes to the resources you are monitoring based on rules that you define. … With CloudWatch, you gain system-wide visibility into resource utilization, application performance, and operational health. What is CloudWatch

Certain metrics are available right away out of box, no extra hassle and no extra fees (please refer to Amazon CloudWatch Pricing and Amazon CloudWatch Namespaces, Dimensions, and Metrics Reference for out of box available metrics, e.g. CPU usage on EC2 instances).

However, in our case we have immediately discovered we want to monitor more and definitely want get notifications in such cases as RAM is out, Swap too high or No free disk space left et cetera … Amazon CloudWatch Custom Metrics to rescue.

So, what to do next? Script it, code it … What’s the most cost effective way of approaching this?

Amazon CloudWatch Monitoring Scripts

Amazon CloudWatch Developer documentation features Amazon CloudWatch Monitoring Scripts (in our case Linux version), which handle exactly the case we were looking for: RAM and disk usage metrics.

The PROXY problem

In that particular environment we route ALL (non-loop back) HTTP/HTTPS traffic over proxy (squid). It helps us simplify our firewall configuration a lot (we have quite a few integrations with external parties) and allows basically just perform HTTP/HTTPS host name white listing in centralized manner. So, we use the same technique here as well.

ALL Amazon API work over HTTPS. So, in this case we need to instruct monitoring scripts to access CloudWatch API through HTTP/HTTPS proxy.

As it appears, Perl https module (or whatever is the correct name for this) does not handle that case well by default, at least not on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. And Amazon CloudWatch Monitoring Scripts for Linux is implemented using Perl. Damn!

I actually discovered that during that during the roll out deployment process scheduled to be over the weekend, previous testing somehow missed that. Rrrr.

I don’t recall exact sources, forums and mailing lists I visited that evening, so I won’t be able to credit those and point to original solutions and technical discussions around the issue.

Bottom line is, at the end of the day I managed to find and implement reliable configuration workaround, which appears to be to reinstall/rebuild Perl LWP::Protocol::https package and then pass certain environment variables down to Linux Monitoring script.

Perl HTTPS package fix

# installs CloudWatch Monitoring Scripts for Linux prerequisites, 
# as per documentation
sudo apt-get install -y \
  unzip \
  libwww-perl \
  libcrypt-ssleay-perl \
  libswitch-perl \

# installs HTTPS proxy fix dependencies
sudo apt-get install -y \
  libssl-dev \
  make \

# Make and re-install LWP::Protocol::https package
# PERL_MM_USE_DEFAULT=1 - install all dependencies, assume yes ...
sudo env PERL_MM_USE_DEFAULT=1 cpan install LWP::Protocol::https

Launching Amazon CloudWatch Monitoring Scripts for Linux (ENV variables)

See the sample below

# forces a version 3 SSL connection first, SSL2 after

# which implementation to use
# take proxy parameters from environment variables (placed in /etc/environment in my case)

# Do not perform SSL hostname verification, fails with proxy

/opt/aws-mon-scripts/v1.1.0/aws-scripts-mon/ \
    --mem-util        \
    --swap-util       \
    --disk-space-util \
    --disk-path=/ \
     \ # <<removed>> AWS credentials details ...

# >> Successfully reported metrics to CloudWatch. Reference Id: xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx 


NB. If you've found typos or errors, please suggest a correction or edit on github.
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