Definition

AWS CloudTrail

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: An insider's look at AWS re:Invent 2014
Contributor(s): Madelyn Bacon

AWS CloudTrail is an application program interface (API) call-recording and log-monitoring Web service offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

AWS CloudTrail allows AWS customers to record API calls, sending log files to Amazon S3 buckets for storage. The service provides API activity data including the identity of an API caller, the time of an API call, the source of the IP address of an API caller, the request parameters and the response elements returned by the AWS service.

CloudTrail can be configured to publish a notification for each log file delivered, allowing users to take action upon log file delivery -- a process that according to AWS should only take about 15 minutes. It can also be configured to aggregate log files across multiple accounts so that log files are delivered to a single S3 bucket.

The service can facilitate regulatory compliance reporting for organizations that use AWS and need to track the API calls for one or more AWS account. CloudTrail can also be configured to support security information (SIEM) and event management platforms and and resource management.

This was last updated in March 2016

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What is the biggest headache you have when it comes to log files?
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One of the biggest headaches is that a lot of people aren’t too judicious in what they log, and log everything, which just clutters up the log files and makes it more difficult to assess an issue.
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