Logging Node.js loop times to CloudWatch

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Logging Node.js loop times to CloudWatch.

Table of Contents: What does this package do?, How to use?, Debugging, Notes on AWS CloudWatch, Contribution
What does this package do?
The aws-loop-timer measures loop times (or cycle times) within your Node.js applications and logs them using AWS CloudWatch. With CloudWatch, you can easily monitor those metrics with alarms, dashboards etc.
How to use?


Like always:
npm i aws-loop-timer --save


When requiring you need to provide your AWS credentials and region, and you also define the namespace:
var namespace = 'my-namespace'; // this can be any string and probably should be unique per project

var Timer = require('aws-loop-timer')('eu-central-1', 'AWS-KEY', 'AWS-SECRET', namespace);

Just to be clear: my-namespace can be any string you deem okay, and your AWS credentials need be authorized to access the CloudWatch region your trying to write to.


First, you need to spin up a timer. When doing so, you can assign the timer a name, and a pulse.
name: Okay, so the name will also be the name of the metric on CloudWatch. This means, this should be unique for every loop you want to measure. Whereas the namespace when requiring the module could be the same throughout the project.
pulse: The pulse is the number of seconds how often your timer pushed data to CloudWatch. E.g. if you set it to 5, loop times will be averaged over five seconds and this average will be uploaded only. If you don't set a pulse, i.e. set it to 0, each loop time will be uploaded immediately.
You probably should set a pulse, because CloudWatch only allows 150 uploads per second! For more info on that topic, read below.
var name = 'name-of-the-timer'; // this will be your metric's name
var pulse = 5; // this means data will be pushed to CloudWatch every five seconds

var timer = Timer.getTimer(name, pulse);


Finally we can measure loop times! This is now fairly simple with the object timer we created above.
  1. Start the timer: timer.start();
  2. End it: timer.end();

That's it.
Note that this package never throws an error, it only logs error to the console. This is because this logger should not break your application logic.
Notes on AWS CloudWatch
Some additional notes on the pulse setting. You have to know that AWS CloudWatch only allows to upload 150 times per second. There are two ways to mitigate this if you're in danger of exceeding this limit:
  1. Upload several metrics at once. This package currently does not do that (would be a good contribution), it only uploads one loop time per request to CloudWatch. One could theoretically piggy-ride on the existing pulse to store all loop times in memory and upload an array of all measurements with a single request. Then it's only important to respect the 40 KB POST data limit on uploads.
  2. Alternatively, and this is done here, you can already calculate an average of the loop times and only push this one.
Please do.