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· 7 min read
Matthias Veit

"A generation which ignores history has no past—and no future."
— Robert A. Heinlein

While Heinlein's words refer to human history, they also apply to cloud infrastructure. Most of the time, we care about the current state of resources; but sometimes, we want to know the origin of a resource, when a resource was deleted, or when/how a resource was updated.

Such knowledge is necessary in situations where you need to understand the timeline to investigate a specific system behaviour:

  • To perform the post-mortem analysis of an outage, we need to know which cloud resources changed and how they changed to yield the behaviour that we saw in our application. Without the ability to review a change log this becomes impossible.
  • To understand cost spikes in your cloud billing dashboard, you need to understand what resources were created, when they were created, and by whom they were created. Not only do you need a list of changes, but also the ability to filter, group, sort, and aggregate the data to see the big picture.
  • To check for security issues or compliance violations, you may need to reduce the scope to verify only those resources that were created or updated since the previous scan. Even complex checks can be performed on large infrastructures if they are only run against changed resources.

History is a log of events defining your infrastructure. This event log is important, as it will enable you to answer future questions about the state of your infrastructure retrospectively, including tomorrow's questions that have not yet crossed your mind.