How to Retrieve Metrics from a Terminated Amazon EC2 Instance

Hello fellow data scientists and software engineers

How to Retrieve Metrics from a Terminated Amazon EC2 Instance

Hello fellow data scientists and software engineers! Today, we’ll be focusing on a subject that many of us have encountered before: How to retrieve metrics from a terminated Amazon EC2 instance. This is a crucial skill for those of us who work with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and need to keep track of our instances' performance over time.

What are Amazon EC2 Instances?

First, let’s start by clarifying what an Amazon EC2 instance is. EC2 stands for Elastic Compute Cloud, and it’s a part of AWS’s cloud computing platform. EC2 instances are virtual servers that allow users to run applications on AWS’s infrastructure. They can be terminated (stopped), started, and managed according to your needs.

Why Do We Need Metrics from Terminated Instances?

As data scientists and software engineers, we know the importance of metrics in monitoring the performance, diagnosing issues, and optimizing the operations of our applications. When an EC2 instance is terminated, its metrics can provide valuable insights about the instance’s lifetime, including CPU usage, disk reads/writes, network traffic, and more.

However, retrieving metrics from a terminated EC2 instance isn’t straightforward because AWS CloudWatch, the service that monitors your AWS resources and applications, does not retain metrics data indefinitely. By default, CloudWatch retains metric data for 15 months. But what if you need to retrieve metrics from an instance that was terminated more than 15 months ago?

How to Retrieve Metrics from a Terminated EC2 Instance

Here are the steps to retrieve metrics from a terminated EC2 instance:

  1. Create a CloudWatch Logs Group: First, make sure you have a CloudWatch Logs Group for your EC2 instances. This is where your instances' logs will be stored. You can create a new group by going to the CloudWatch console, selecting “Logs”, and clicking on “Create log group”.
  2. Install and Configure the CloudWatch Logs Agent: The CloudWatch Logs Agent must be installed on each EC2 instance for which you want to retrieve metrics. This agent sends log data to the CloudWatch Logs Group. To install and configure the agent, you can follow the instructions in the AWS documentation.
  3. Configure the EC2 Instance to Send Metrics to CloudWatch Logs: You need to configure your EC2 instance to send its metrics to CloudWatch Logs. This can be done using the awslogs agent configuration file.
  4. Terminate the EC2 Instance: Once you have the CloudWatch Logs Agent set up and your EC2 instance configured properly, you can terminate the instance. The logs will be sent to the CloudWatch Logs Group.
  5. Retrieve the Metrics from the CloudWatch Logs Group: After the instance is terminated, you can retrieve its metrics from the CloudWatch Logs Group. This can be done using the AWS Management Console, AWS CLI, or AWS SDKs.

By following these steps, you can retrieve valuable metrics from your terminated EC2 instances, providing you with insights into their performance over time.


Retrieving metrics from a terminated Amazon EC2 instance may seem daunting at first, but with the right approach, it can be a straightforward process. By leveraging AWS CloudWatch and a disciplined logging strategy, you can gain valuable insights into the performance and behaviour of your instances, even after they have been terminated.

Remember, understanding the metrics of your terminated instances is an important part of optimizing your cloud resources and ensuring the smooth operation of your applications. Happy data digging, everyone!

keywords: amazon ec2 instance, retrieve metrics, terminated instance, AWS CloudWatch, cloud computing, data scientists, software engineers

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