AWS CloudTrail vs AWS Config: What are the differences?
What is AWS CloudTrail? Record AWS API calls for your account and have log files delivered to you. With CloudTrail, you can get a history of AWS API calls for your account, including API calls made via the AWS Management Console, AWS SDKs, command line tools, and higher-level AWS services (such as AWS CloudFormation). The AWS API call history produced by CloudTrail enables security analysis, resource change tracking, and compliance auditing. The recorded information includes the identity of the API caller, the time of the API call, the source IP address of the API caller, the request parameters, and the response elements returned by the AWS service.
What is AWS Config? Config gives you a detailed inventory of your AWS resources and their current configuration, and continuously records configuration changes. AWS Config is a fully managed service that provides you with an AWS resource inventory, configuration history, and configuration change notifications to enable security and governance. With AWS Config you can discover existing AWS resources, export a complete inventory of your AWS resources with all configuration details, and determine how a resource was configured at any point in time. These capabilities enable compliance auditing, security analysis, resource change tracking, and troubleshooting.
AWS CloudTrail belongs to "Log Management" category of the tech stack, while AWS Config can be primarily classified under "Cloud Monitoring".
Some of the features offered by AWS CloudTrail are:
- Increased Visibility- CloudTrail provides increased visibility into your user activity by recording AWS API calls. You can answer questions such as, what actions did a given user take over a given time period? For a given resource, which user has taken actions on it over a given time period? What is the source IP address of a given activity? Which activities failed due to inadequate permissions?
- Durable and Inexpensive Log File Storage- CloudTrail uses Amazon S3 for log file storage and delivery, so log files are stored durably and inexpensively. You can use Amazon S3 lifecycle configuration rules to further reduce storage costs. For example, you can define rules to automatically delete old log files or archive them to Amazon Glacier for additional savings.
- Easy Administration- CloudTrail is a fully managed service
On the other hand, AWS Config provides the following key features:
- Configuration Visibility
- Fully Managed
- Easy to get started
"Very easy setup" is the primary reason why developers consider AWS CloudTrail over the competitors, whereas "Backed by Amazon" was stated as the key factor in picking AWS Config.
Netflix, Slack, and Seat Pagine Gialle are some of the popular companies that use AWS CloudTrail, whereas AWS Config is used by Trespass Technology, BeachBody, and Openfit. AWS CloudTrail has a broader approval, being mentioned in 38 company stacks & 12 developers stacks; compared to AWS Config, which is listed in 3 company stacks and 6 developer stacks.