Introduction AWS CloudTrail vs AWS CloudWatch

AWS CloudTrail and AWS CloudWatch are two distinct yet equally important services that have disparate roles to adhere to in monitoring and managing AWS accounts. CloudWatch does the part of monitoring the AWS services, wherein CloudTrail monitors actions in the AWS environment. But even though they are very contrasting in their own way, one cannot deny the fact that both of them are equally beneficial as they help us manage our AWS environments better. The target of this blog is to help you understand the major differences between the two a little better, but also to recognize how they complement each other in some ways, as you should have a clear grasp of what they provide and how they vary.

Top dissimilarities between AWS CloudTrail and AWS CloudWatch

1. Let’s start with discussing the prime aims of the two

As we have already discussed before, CloudTrail is a web service that allows us to record API activity in our AWS account, while CloudWatch is a monitoring service for AWS accounts and applications. CloudTrail is principally concerned with what is to be done and by whom on AWS, and it is also responsible for reporting the alterations from the location. But talking about CloudWatch, on the other hand, it is chiefly concerned about what’s going on with AWS services.

2. Now that we know what their individual departments are, let’s take a look at their purposes

CloudTrail is under Cloud Monitoring, and CloudWatch is under Log Management.

3. What are the benefits of these two? How can they both serve unique yet essential functions?

Let’s commence with the perks of CloudTrail

  •  Security Analysis and Troubleshooting 

If a user is using AWS CloudTrail, they can discover and troubleshoot security and operational problems by analyzing an extensive history of adjustments that occurred in the AWS accounts at intervals.

  • Simplified Compliance 

With AWS CloudTrail, we can change the compliance audits by automatically recording and maintaining the event logs for actions made at intervals in the AWS accounts. 

  •  Security Automation 

CloudTrails also provides the user with the ability to track and automatically respond to the account for the safety of Amazon services. CloudTrail can effortlessly track all the activities performed by the user if they suspect any fishy activities in their account. 

 What about AWS CloudWatch?

  • Metrics

CLI or API assists in publishing the user’s metrics to CloudWatch under the guidance of the AWS consultants. With the AWS Management Console, one can easily display the statistical graphs of the reported metrics. As a compilation of data points, CloudWatch stores data concerning a metric, and there is also an associated stamp for each data point.

  • Alarms

This exceptional feature that CloudWatch provides helps us to monitor the CloudWatch metrics and alert when metrics fall below the configured levels, along with applying manifold warnings to each metric, and there can be numerous actions for each one. 

  • Operational expenses

The best thing about CloudWatch is that it gives you perceptions in real time so that operating costs and AWS resources can be upgraded.

  • Auto Recovery

This allows us to recover anything if the system status check fails.


If we talk about CloudTrail, we can confidently say that it gives an insight into what the users are up to by logging AWS console operations like tracking the user’s activities and location or checking as to who made the call.

Whereas, CloudWatch provides the tracking of metrics and log files.

5. What are the types of both services?

AWS CloudTrail has two categories- Multi Region, and Single Region

CloudWatch has basic monitoring and detailed monitoring, which may differ with time. 

6. Time periods of the events delivered

CloudTrail delivers an event within 15 minutes of the API call, and CloudWatch delivers metric data in 1 minute periods for detailed monitoring and 5 minute periods for basic monitoring. 

7. How are the logs dispatched?

Here in CloudTrail, logs are saved in the S3 bucket in CloudWatch.

In the meantime, the logs are dusted based on the services and actions executed; this conserves a log in a distinct group.

8. What are the outputs of the duo?

CloudTrail outputs S3 and keeps a record of the alterations; here, the mean time to resolution is reduced.

In CloudWatch, the outputs are configured to avoid immediate delays. MTTR is significantly reduced here as well.

9. What are the disadvantages of the two, which are often pointed out by users?

CloudTrails gets complaints that the logs are delayed by 15 minutes, which further delays the responses to the activities.

The common complaint while using CloudWatch is that the user interface is extremely complex when it comes to troubleshooting and root cause analysis. It is also hard to predict the pricing.

10. Finally, let’s end this long standing comparison with the companies which are known to use either

CloudTrail is used by big organizations like Netflix and Slack. 

Simultaneously, CloudWatch has an elongated recorded list of Airbnb, 9GAG, Asana, Paytm, Siemens AG, and so on.


This contrast is provided to help users interpret the major differences between the two and figure out which AWS services matches their requirements the most. Both AWS CloudTrail and AWS CloudWatch are fantastically crafted and designed to prove the worth of both worlds.