General Stuff

  • These notes were originally written 2018
  • To find out which instances are being spawned by a particular EBS config:
    • Select the EBS project
    • Click Health on the left hand side
    • You will see an instance Id there – you can map this back to EC2
  • For each EB instance you select an image, eg nodejs and docker are used for ours
  • To see CNAME, select an application and you will see it upper right 
    • The url on the end is the CNAME
  • Dashboard: Sometimes you will see WARN for warning, but that might just mean it has terminated an instance because traffic has lowered – so probably not anything to worry about

Scaling Triggers

  • To check load: EBS – applications – [project] – [env] - dashboard
    • Config for this is set up in load balancer : Scaling trigger = Network Out
    • Json response from network ie response to browser in response to browser requests
    • Max is 600000 (or whatever) Mb in 5 minutes – if this is exceeded, new server is spun up
    • Go to EBS and select Monitoring on the left, then you can see from the graphs how many mb are coming back from network in responses

Events & Deployment

  • Elastic Beanstalk events: “Deploy configuration” is just what happens when you edit the EBS config (eg change notifications)
  • “Desired capacity” refers to CURRENT desired capacity. This changes constantly depending on traffic.
  • Even when environment health is SEVERE, this only comes through as a warning, not an error.
  • There is an npm install command which is run as part of the setup when a new instance is spun up.
    • Occasionally it can fail, which will prevent the instance from being spun up correctly.
      • When this happens the instance can get stuck in a funny state and may need terminating manually.
  • If you want to know how EBS knows what to deploy to each instance, this may or may not be helpful…
    • In the example I worked on, EBS used a combination of an AMI and a prerender zip file in an S3 bucket
    • The zip file was placed in the S3 bucket by Go during each deployment
    • You could tell which zip file was currently being deployed to new instances because you saw it on the dashboard in EBS at the top of the page under “running version”
    • You could tell which AMI was being used because you saw it on the dashboard in EBS at the top of the page under “Configuration”
    • When a new instance was spun up, you could see exactly what was done by pulling logs for an instance and looking at the file eb-activity.log
    • This included an npm install command
  • Healthy host count can appear to be out of step with “num instances” because you also have to take unhealthy hosts into account
  • The times of CloudWatch alarms are sometimes slightly out of step with EB events
  • Don’t configure S3 logging without doing a reboot immediately afterwards
  • EB knew about the S3 bucket and was configured to pull stuff from there
    • You could see this because when we pulled logs for an instance, in eb-commandprocessor.log, we saw references to config file /etc/elasticbeanstalk/
    • When we SSHed into a running instance and looked at this properties file, we saw this:
      • environment_bucket=elasticbeanstalk-eu-west-1-829851215903

Health checks and unhealthy instances:


  • The AMI is the thing that AWS uses to create an operating system for each instance – a bit like a docker image
  • EBS: If you go to an application, then Configuration | Instances | Custom AMI Id
    • – where are the custom AMIs set up? You don’t need to care! The important thing is when you’re looking at an app, look at top right to see what’s being used, eg node.js

CloudWatch Alarms

  • CloudWatch alarms can be configured to alert us in particular circumstances
    • Eg we had them set up for 0 healthy hosts and over a certain threshold of 5xx alarms
    • Note that notifications are handled via topics - use the SNS service in AWS
  • CloudWatch alarms and monitoring can be accessed via load balancers
  • You can view load balancers if you select them on the right in the EC2 management console
  • You can select load balancers one by one and check “Instances” to see whether you have the right one – or make a note somewhere!
  • In the load balancer, you can click “View all CloudWatch alarms” to view other alarms, and to edit alarms: In the list of alarms, click View (on the right), then select Actions | Modify from the dropdown at the top.
  • When you view all alarms, you will see several in ALARM status
    • These will mostly have names that include “AWSEBCloudwatchAlarm” then will be labelled either Low or High
    • These are the default alarms created as a result of setting scaling triggers in EBS | Configuration | Scaling | Scaling Trigger, where “High” alarms are triggered by breaching the upper threshold, and “Low” alarms by breaching the lower threshold
    • These alarms all have auto-scaling actions attached - ie either add or remove an instance (unless the min or max instance values prevent you)
    • Their names are based on AutoScaling group names
    • To see AutoScaling groups, go to EC2 and click AutoScaling Groups on the left
    • AutoScaling group names are reasonably easy to parse because they include environment Ids - as do the alarms