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Getting AWS Cloudwatch Logs into Honeycomb

Honeycomb provides an agentless integration for ingesting CloudWatch Logs . The integration runs as one or more Lambda functions, subscribed to one or more of your CloudWatch Log Group(s).

The source is available on Github and instructions for getting started are provided here. Do you have a use case not covered here? Please open an issue.


You will need permission to deploy a Cloudformation stack with an IAM role in your AWS account.


To install, use one of the AWS Cloudformation Quick-Create links below. These links will launch the AWS Cloudformation console with the appropriate template and steer you through the installation process.

Cloudformation Stack Creation

Generic JSON Integration

This integration accepts lines with arbitrary JSON. If you are already writing structured logs in JSON format, this is what you want! Click Here

You will need to provide the following parameters:

Optionally, you can supply:

Example Log Format

The integration expects each line to contain a JSON object and nothing else.

{"field1": "data1", "field2": "data2", "field3": 12345, "field4": {"field5": false}}
{"field1": "data1", "field2": "data2", "field3": 12345, "field4": {"field5": false}}

Regex Integration

If your logs aren’t structured with JSON but you can write an (re2) regex to parse them, use this integration. Click Here

Honeycomb columns are generated by defining named capture groups. For example, (?P<name>re) would create a column called “name” if successfully parsed. Here are some example regexes for specific log formats:


(?P<timestamp>.+) (?P<elb>.+) (?P<client_authority>.+) (?P<backend_authority>.+) (?P<request_processing_time>.+) (?P<backend_processing_time>.+) (?P<response_processing_time>.+) (?P<elb_status_code>.+) (?P<backend_status_code>.+) (?P<received_bytes>.+) (?P<sent_bytes>.+) (?P<request>".+") (?P<user_agent>".+") (?P<ssl_cipher>.+) (?P<ssl_protocol>.+)

AWS VPC Flow Logs

(?P<version>\d+) (?P<account_id>\d+) (?P<interface_id>eni-[0-9a-f]+) (?P<src_addr>[\d\.]+) (?P<dst_addr>[\d\.]+) (?P<src_port>\d+) (?P<dst_port>\d+) (?P<protocol>\d+) (?P<packets>\d+) (?P<bytes>\d+) (?P<start_time>\d+) (?P<end_time>\d+) (?P<action>[A-Z]+) (?P<log_status>[A-Z]+)

Optionally, you can supply:

VPC Flow Logs

If you have enabled VPC Flow Logs, you can get quick insight into your AWS network with the VPC Flow Log Integration. VPC Flow Logs go to Cloudwatch Logs, so ingesting them in simply a matter of installing our integration and pointing it at the correct log group. Click Here

You will need to provide the following parameters:

Optionally, you can supply:

Encrypting Your API Key

When installing the integration, you must supply your Honeycomb API Key via Cloudformation parameter. Cloudformation parameters are not encrypted, and are plainly viewable to anyone with access to your Cloudformation stacks or Lambda functions. For this reason, we strongly recommend that your Honeycomb API Key be encrypted. To encrypt your key, use AWS’s KMS service.

First, you’ll need to create a KMS key if you don’t have one already. The default account keys are not suitable for this use case.

$ aws kms create-key --description "used to encrypt secrets"
    "KeyMetadata": {
        "AWSAccountId": "123455678910",
        "KeyId": "a38f80cc-19b5-486a-a163-a4502b7a52cc",
        "Arn": "arn:aws:kms:us-east-1:123455678910:key/a38f80cc-19b5-486a-a163-a4502b7a52cc",
        "CreationDate": 1524160520.097,
        "Enabled": true,
        "Description": "used to encrypt honeycomb secrets",
        "KeyUsage": "ENCRYPT_DECRYPT",
        "KeyState": "Enabled",
        "Origin": "AWS_KMS",
        "KeyManager": "CUSTOMER"
$ aws kms create-alias --alias-name alias/secrets_key --target-key-id=a38f80cc-19b5-486a-a163-a4502b7a52cc

Now you’re ready to encrypt your Honeycomb API Key:

$ aws kms encrypt --key-id=a38f80cc-19b5-486a-a163-a4502b7a52cc --plaintext "thisismyhoneycombkey"
    "CiphertextBlob": "AQICAHge4+BhZ1sURk1UGUjTZxmcegPXyRqG8NCK8/schk381gGToGRb8n3PCjITQPDKjxuJAAAAcjBwBgkqhkiG9w0BBwagYzBhAgEAMFwGCSqGSIb3DQEHATAeBglghkgBZQMEAS4wEQQM0GLK36ChLOlHQiiiAgEQgC9lYlR3qvsQEhgILHhT0eD4atgdB7UAMW6TIAJw9vYsPpnbHhqhO7V8/mEa9Iej+g==",
    "KeyId": "arn:aws:kms:us-east-1:702835727665:key/a38f80cc-19b5-486a-a163-a4502b7a52cc"

Record the CiphertextBlob and the last part of the Key ID (example: a38f80cc-19b5-486a-a163-a4502b7a52cc) - this is what you’ll pass to the Cloudformation templates.


Integration Logs

The Cloudwatch Logs integration is just a normal Lambda function, which means you can see its metrics and log messages from the Lambda Console. Look for functions starting with CloudwatchLambdaHandler. From there, you can view error rate, latency, and Cloudwatch logs.


If you are trying to pick up a newer version of the integration, or have misconfigured an existing installation, it is better to completely delete the CFN stack and re-create it using the quick-create links.

Advanced Use

Quick-create links are great for getting started, but if you have an existing workflow for configuring infrastructure, you might want to directly configure the Lambda functions yourself to suit your needs. We’ve provided example templates for Cloudformation and Terraform in our repository to get you started.