Wednesday 29 November 2023

Discovering Athena's Might: Analyzing Amazon CloudFront Logs


In the vast world of cloud technology, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a big player, providing lots of tools to help businesses grow smoothly. One of these tools, Amazon Athena, makes it easy for people to search through huge sets of data. Today, we'll check out how Athena is super helpful for digging into Amazon CloudFront logs.

Understanding Amazon CloudFront

Amazon CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) service that accelerates the delivery of your web content. It works by distributing your content across a global network of edge locations, reducing latency and delivering an enhanced user experience. As requests are made to your CloudFront distribution, a wealth of valuable data is generated in the form of logs.

Enter Amazon Athena

Amazon Athena simplifies the process of analyzing data stored in Amazon S3 using standard SQL queries. With its serverless architecture, there's no need to set up or manage infrastructure. Athena seamlessly integrates with various AWS services, including CloudFront, allowing for efficient analysis of log data.

Querying CloudFront Logs with Athena

1. Setting up Amazon Athena

Firstly, ensure that your CloudFront logs are stored in an S3 bucket. Then, navigate to the AWS Management Console and open the Athena service. Define a new database and table pointing to your CloudFront log files in S3. This step establishes the groundwork for querying the data.

To create a Table refer below document.

2. Crafting Queries

Once the data is cataloged in Athena, unleash the power of SQL queries. Dive into the CloudFront log format to understand available fields like date, time, edge location, HTTP status codes, request duration, and more. Leverage SQL to run queries that extract insightful information, such as popular URLs, user locations, or error analysis.

Example Query:

SELECT date, request_uri, edge_location, http_status

FROM cloudfront_logs

WHERE http_status >= 400


//Get total request count and unique IP count for 5 min:

SELECT count(*) as total_count, count(distinct(c_ip)) as ip_count FROM "cloudfront_logs"."cloudfront_logs" where year = '2021' and month = '04' and day = '30' and hour = '18' and time between '18:35:00' and '18:39:59';

3. Optimizing Performance

To enhance query performance, consider partitioning your data by specific columns like date or region. This optimization technique significantly reduces query execution time, especially when dealing with extensive datasets.

Benefits and Use Cases

Real-time Insights: Obtain near real-time analytics on user behavior, content popularity, and performance metrics.

Troubleshooting: Identify and troubleshoot issues by analyzing error codes and request patterns.

Resource Optimization: Fine-tune content delivery strategies based on geographic distribution or user preferences.


Amazon Athena provides a seamless and powerful interface to dissect and analyze Amazon CloudFront log data. By harnessing the SQL querying capabilities of Athena, businesses can derive valuable insights, optimize content delivery strategies, and ensure a superior user experience.

Unlock the potential of your CloudFront logs today with Amazon Athena and transform raw data into actionable intelligence.

Happy querying! Aditya Kadlak, Cloud Engineer at

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