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CloudWatch Logs

AWS CloudWatch Logs is a managed log aggregation service, and is our default solution for log storage and analysis in AWS. It is integrated with many AWS services, including ECS and Lambda, and often provides the easiest route to collecting logs and making them queryable. As a fully managed service, CloudWatch Logs also typically requires no maintenance once an appropriate retention period is set. It's important to be aware of the importance of setting this retention period as the default is to retain logs indefinitely, meaning log volume (and so monthly cost) increases over time and can become significant.


The ELK stack (and its EFK variant) provides a mature self-hosted solution for log collection, aggregation and inspection. ELK/EFK is a good choice for on-premise systems, but for cloud-hosted systems we usually find that native log aggregation solutions such as AWS CloudWatch Logs or Azure Monitor logs are a better choice. These give adequate functionality for most use cases without the operational overhead of running a self-hosted log aggregation system, and with pricing which is attractive in most cases compared to self-hosted options.