AWS EC2 Heat Maps
A heat map is a data visualisation tool and in the case of DriftGuard’s AWS Heat Map report, is intended to show areas of high EC2 activity in warm colours whilst cooler colours indicate that not much is happening. The colours mean that activity intensity is conveyed at a glance, at which point the user can drill down further to discover exactly what that activity is. In the screenshot below, the instances with more activity are shown in red and orange, whilst those with little or no activity are shown in green.
The underlying data for this report is retrieved by leveraging the AWS describe-instances command for EC2, and as such a range of metadata on each instance is available for the report.
The report simply takes this metadata, looks for changes over time, and applies colouring to a greater or lesser degree over those areas where the changes occur. Drilling down on instance one instance for example, shows activity in a number of areas including State and StateTransitionReason.
Drilling down on State, then again on Name shows the state changes for this instance that were captured when the data collections took place. As you drill down, the colour scheme is refreshed to apply to the visible components – this means activity within each section effectively has its own heat map.
Clicking on a parent row will take you back up a level, at which point, you can drill down into another section of the report to get a view of what’s happening there.
Heat Map reports are also available for Azure, and display similar instance activity albeit related to metadata retrieved from Azure rather than AWS.
It should be noted that these reports will not capture every change in your instances – they will simply capture instance metadata at the time the collection took place. So, if you have a collection scheduled every hour, this will effectively be a representation of the state of your instances on an hourly basis. This, of course, also means you also have a record of what instances were running at what time – perfect for auditing.