Many people tend to use these terms interchangeably, however, each of them has a unique role in AWS cloud computing architecture. Therefore, it’s critical for anyone preparing for the “AWS Certified Developer – Associate (DVA-C02)” exam to understand these terms clearly to effectively manage and optimize AWS resources.

Table of Contents


Logging is all about maintaining a detailed record of events that have occurred within a software application. It’s essentially about recording discrete events to a log file, console, or an external storage system. AWS provides various services for logging, such as AWS CloudTrail, which provides event history of your AWS account activities, including actions taken in the AWS Management Console, AWS SDKs, and command-line tools.

Let’s look at a simple example of how AWS CloudTrail logs look like:

“eventVersion”: “1.05”,
“userIdentity”: {
“type”: “IAMUser”,
“arn”: “arn:aws:iam::123456789012:user/Alice”,
“accountId”: “123456789012”,
“userName”: “Alice”
“eventTime”: “2016-04-02T16:28:13Z”,
“eventSource”: “”,
“eventName”: “StopInstances”,
“awsRegion”: “us-west-2”,
“sourceIPAddress”: “”,
“userAgent”: “AWS CLI/1.10.15 Python/2.7.9 Windows/8”,
“requestParameters”: {
“instancesSet”: {
“items”: [{“instanceId”: “i-6baa490”}]
“force”: false
“responseElements”: {
“StoppingInstances”: {
“items”: [{“instanceId”: “i-6baa490”}]

In the log, every action taken within the AWS console is recorded. You can see who initiated the action, date/time, IP address of the initiator, and the type of action taken.


Monitoring refers to the ongoing process of checking system metrics in real-time or periodically to detect any deviations from expected behavior. When it comes to AWS, CloudWatch is the service that offers detailed monitoring for AWS cloud resources and applications, providing insights into application performance, resource utilization, and operational health.

For example, with CloudWatch, you can monitor system-wide performance changes in your AWS resources such as increased error rates, condition checks for a specific threshold, and automatic responses or actions when certain conditions occur.


Observability, on the other hand, is about understanding the state of systems, tracing issues to the source, and exploring trends in system behavior over time. Observability implies that you not only know when something goes wrong but also why and how.

X-Ray is a service provided by AWS that collects data about your requests and provides tools you can use to analyze them. This helps you understand how your applications and services are performing and where bottlenecks are occurring.

For instance, X-Ray can keep track of requests made to a set of microservices. It captures latency data for each component in that request and visualizes this data in a service map. X-Ray service maps help you see how components interact and identify bottlenecks at a glance.

To summarize,

  • Logging records events happening in the system. It helps in troubleshooting and auditing purposes.
  • Monitoring constantly checks system performance and alerts when deviations from expected behavior occur. It helps to identify and fix performance issues promptly.
  • Observability allows you to understand system behavior over time and analyze why an issue occurred. It helps in in-depth system analysis, performance tuning, and identifying potential bottlenecks.

Therefore, while these terms are related, they each offer unique insight into system management and efficiency. A suitable blend of logging, monitoring, and observability is essential for robust system performance and optimal cloud resource utilization.

For the “AWS Certified Developer – Associate (DVA-C02)” exam, understanding how these activities are carried out in AWS through CloudTrail, CloudWatch, and X-Ray is crucial. It will allow you to design and maintain applications that offer high performance, security, and user experience.

Practice Test

True or False: Logging is the process of recording all events in a system.

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: Logging involves automatically recording and saving all activities and events that occur within a system or network for future reference or analysis.

Which of the following are key attributes of a logging system? Select all that apply.

  • a) Collects raw, unstructured data
  • b) Tracks changes made by users
  • c) Monitors health of system components
  • d) Provides diagnostic information

Answer: a, b, d

Explanation: Logging systems are designed to collect and store raw, unstructured data. They track changes made by users and provide diagnostic information. They do not directly monitor the health of system components.

True or False: Monitoring is actively keeping track of the various applications, systems, and services to ensure that everything is functioning as expected.

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: Monitoring involves regularly checking and analyzing systems to ensure they are operating correctly. This could involve monitoring variables, errors, or anomalies that indicate potential issues.

In the context of system observability, what does ‘White Box’ monitoring refer to?

  • a) Monitoring external services only
  • b) Monitoring based on visible and inaccessible internal information
  • c) Monitoring based on accessible internal code and states
  • d) None of the above

Answer: c

Explanation: ‘White Box’ monitoring in system observability refers to the practice of monitoring based on visible, accessible, and understandable internal information. This often means inspecting the application’s internal code and states.

True or False: Observability simply involves compiling monitoring and logging data.

  • True
  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: Observability is more than compiling monitoring and logging data. It focuses on understanding why a system behaves a certain way. It includes monitoring and logging but also involves visualizing this data in understandable ways and using it to proactively improve the system.

Which of the following is NOT a common log type in AWS?

  • a) Security logs
  • b) Audit trail logs
  • c) Billing logs
  • d) Email logs

Answer: d

Explanation: AWS supports security logs, audit trail logs, and billing logs. However, it does not directly support email logs.

Observability tools can help developers to ________.

  • a) Identify issues in real-time
  • b) Proactively identify potential issues
  • c) Understand why a system behaves a certain way
  • d) All of the above

Answer: d

Explanation: Observability tools help developers identify issues in real-time, proactively identify potential issues, and obtain a deeper understanding of why a system behaves a certain way.

True or False: Monitoring and observability are interchangeable terms.

  • True
  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: Monitoring and observability are not interchangeable. Monitoring involves keeping track of a system’s operations, while observability focuses on why the system behaves the way it does.

AWS CloudTrail is primarily used for ________.

  • a) Logging
  • b) Monitoring
  • c) Observability
  • d) None of the above

Answer: a

Explanation: AWS CloudTrail is primarily used for logging. It logs user activity and API usage across an AWS infrastructure.

Monitoring tools primarily focus on ________.

  • a) Tracking changes made by users
  • b) Collecting raw, unstructured data
  • c) Ensuring systems are functioning as expected
  • d) Understanding why a system behaves a certain way

Answer: c

Explanation: Monitoring tools primarily focus on ensuring systems are operating as expected. They regularly check and analyze variables, errors, or anomalies that could indicate potential issues.

True or False: Logging, Monitoring, and Observability are separate processes with no interconnections.

  • True
  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: Each of these processes are interconnected. Logging data is used in monitoring, and both logging and monitoring data are key components of achieving observability.

Amazon CloudWatch is an AWS service mainly used for ________.

  • a) Logging
  • b) Monitoring
  • c) Observability
  • d) Networking

Answer: b

Explanation: Amazon CloudWatch is primarily used for monitoring resources and applications that run on Amazon Web Services.

Interview Questions

What is the main objective of logging in AWS?

The primary purpose of logging in AWS is to record and store all the events or activities occurring within an AWS environment. These logs can help in debugging issues, detecting security incidents, and auditing compliance with regulations.

What is the role of monitoring in AWS?

Monitoring in AWS aids in collecting and analyzing data to provide visibility into the performance, availability, and overall health of applications, infrastructure, and services.

How does observability differ from logging and monitoring?

Observability, unlike logging and monitoring, is not just about collecting and analyzing data. It’s about understanding the state of your systems, identifying problems before they impact services, and effectively diagnosing those issues.

What are some AWS services used for logging?

AWS CloudTrail captures all the API logs. AWS CloudWatch logs can be used to collect logs from your system, applications, and AWS services. Amazon S3 is often used to store logs.

What is an essential tool for monitoring in AWS?

Amazon CloudWatch is an essential tool for monitoring AWS resources and applications in real-time. It can collect operational data as logs, metrics, and event data.

How does AWS X-Ray enhance observability?

AWS X-Ray helps increase observability by providing insights into how applications are performing in production. It offers tracing capabilities, which allows developers to analyze and debug distributed applications, such as those built using microservices architecture.

How does logging contribute to security in AWS?

Logging in AWS contributes to security by recording and storing all operational data, which includes data about user activities, system actions, and security events. These logs can help identify unauthorized access or suspicious activity, thereby enhancing the overall security of the AWS environment.

How does monitoring enhance the performance of applications in AWS?

Monitoring in AWS provides real-time data on the performance and health of applications and AWS resources. This data aids in identifying performance bottlenecks and proactively addressing issues that could reduce the performance or availability of applications.

How does AWS contribute to the observability of user systems?

AWS offers various tools such as Amazon CloudWatch, AWS X-Ray, Amazon CloudTrail, and AWS CloudFormation to collect, analyze, and provide visibility into user systems’ performance, health and overall state. These tools aid in providing observability by identifying and diagnosing issues quickly.

Why is it essential to interpret logging information correctly in AWS?

Correct interpretation of logging information helps in understanding the behavior of the AWS environment accurately. It aids in identifying the root cause for issues, improves understanding of the system behavior, and helps in making informed decisions for problem resolution.

Can Amazon CloudWatch provide log data?

Yes, Amazon CloudWatch Logs can store your log data and allow you to better understand your systems, applications, and AWS services.

How does Amazon CloudWatch contribute to observability in AWS?

Amazon CloudWatch provides observability of your AWS resources and applications by collecting and tracking metrics, collecting and monitoring log files, and responding to system-wide performance changes.

Is AWS X-Ray a monitoring tool?

AWS X-Ray is more of an observability tool than a monitoring tool. It helps developers understand how their applications are performing and where bottlenecks are occurring.

What is the difference between logging, monitoring, and observability in AWS?

Logging in AWS involves recording and storing events or activities. Monitoring involves collecting and analyzing data to ensure performance, availability, and overall health. Observability involves understanding the status of systems, detecting issues before they impact services, and diagnosing these problems effectively.

Can Amazon S3 be used for both logging and monitoring in AWS?

Yes, Amazon S3 can be used to store logs for AWS services, making it useful for logging. As for monitoring, although Amazon S3 itself is not a monitoring tool, logs stored in S3 can be analyzed with other AWS monitoring tools like Amazon CloudWatch.

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