06.24.21

Benchmark Your Apps Against the AWS Well-Architected Framework

By Bryan Nicholson
AWS Well-Architected Framework

AWS introduced best practices to review and improve traditional or proposed architectures through its widely renowned AWS Well Architected Framework. The framework introduces five pillars where each pillar is composed of separate practices for a better application and workload architecture to solve challenges many customers were having. Those challenges involve a lack of internal knowledge, rightsizing cloud environments, reducing costly overheads, a lack of automation and executing AWS best practices. The Well Architected framework is gaining popularity among clients seeking infrastructure performance that only keeps getting better over time. The supporting Well Architected Review was created to improve the customer experience and help sharpen up AWS environments.

The best way to proactively utilize this framework is for building secured, efficient, and reliable application infrastructure. Additionally, consultants like Caylent help companies through the AWS Partner Network (APN) to facilitate this framework by evaluating current architectures to make design changes through a Well Architected Review.

By aligning infrastructure to these best practice design implementations you can make your cloud environments more scalable and cost efficient, as well as improve performance. The five pillars are sufficient for developing a reliable system to shift focus from general aspects to functional requirements.

AWS Well Architected Framework – Importance & Effectiveness

Architecting with the Well Architected Framework helps companies to build scalable and agile cloud applications from scratch. In addition, the implementation of this Well Architected framework enables businesses of all sizes to leverage the five pillars to improve their existing  cloud infrastructures.

If we summarize these best practices, then here is how this approach is going to affect the current infrastructure positively:

  • Connection & Communication Optimization: The application components need constant communication and a reliable connection to ensure scalability. These scalable applications help to satisfy customer’s requirements.
  • Indicating Technological Risks: It’s essential to analyze the vulnerabilities and threats residing in a cloud environment. It helps to improve the current infrastructure by using a Well Architected approach.

Well Architected infrastructure helps to serve three primary purposes. First, it ensures stability, efficiency, and scalability of cloud applications where companies do not have to spend more resources testing application workload.

Significance of Five Pillars in Company’s Infrastructure

The Well Architected framework helps to build a solid cloud foundation for any company. In addition, it deals with many structural problems that we usually experience in a company’s cloud infrastructure.

There are five pillars for this framework that satisfy the structural, operational, security, costs and efficiency elements of infrastructure to make it more scalable over time.

Here’s how each of these pillars deals with the structural needs of a company using the design principles and best practices:

Operational Excellence

The business needs to effectively manage its workload for gaining deep operational insights that partially support the processes and helps to increase the business value. Three things are necessary to analyze for a company to achieve operational excellence, these include:

  • Organization Priorities
  • Operating Model
  • Organizational Culture

Principles

As for the design principles for operational excellence, here’s what the AWS Operational Excellence whitepaper suggests:

  • Perform operations as code
  • Make frequent, small, reversible changes
  • Refine operations procedures frequently
  • Anticipate failure
  • Learn from all operational failures

Practices for Companies

Operational teams need to assess the customer needs to produce a tangible outcome. The effectiveness measurement of the applied procedures for operational events occurs during this phase, and everything improves from a business context, business priorities to your customer needs.

Security

Secure cloud infrastructure is a priority for any company—the security pillar deals with protecting data, systems, and assets. An essential component of this pillar is to adopt Identity and Access Management (IAM) policy for limiting access to specific resources.

Principles

Seven design principles apply to this layer:

  • Implement a strong identity foundation
  • Enable traceability
  • Apply security at all layers
  • Automate security best practices
  • Protect data in transit and at rest
  • Keep people away from data
  • Prepare for security events

Practices for Companies

It’s important to deploy best security practices across cloud infrastructure to ensure that no unauthorized body can access company data. Also, it’s critical to have security incident plans in case of a security breach risk.

The Security Pillar Whitepaper describes many of the techniques and tools through which companies can ensure their security. For example, AWS Key Management Service is a great tool to manage encryption keys. At the same time, many other services such as Amazon RDS, AWS Lambda, and Amazon ECS are also good to implement managed services to leverage the best available security scope possible.

Reliability

A reliable infrastructure is consistent, and it can handle all types of workload without facing a breakdown. The current and future workloads of a company should be pre-managed to keep everything functional.

Principles

The AWS Reliability Whitepaper suggests five principles for ensuring the consistency of your cloud:

  • Automatically recover from failure
  • Test recovery procedures
  • Scale horizontally to increase aggregate workload availability
  • Stop guessing capacity
  • Manage change in automation

Practices for Companies

The framework suggests some working strategies for reliable cloud infrastructure. You can achieve it by regularly tracking KPIs, backing up data, and testing recovery processes. To deploy workloads across multiple environments, teams should also use Service Limits and Resource Quotas.

Cost Optimization

Cost optimization is all about making the processes cheap for the customers while maintaining the system costs to deliver the best possible business value. Some essential factors in AWS Cost Optimization Whitepaper teach us to:

  • Implementing cloud financial management as part of the organization’s business goals
  • Don’t pay for resources your application doesn’t need
  • Monitoring your application’s performance is vital
  • Using AWS for managed services and operating systems

The implementation of these tips can largely contribute to producing more scalable yet cost-effective cloud applications.

Principles

All five cost optimization design principles are:

  • Implement cloud financial management
  • Adopt a consumption model
  • Measure overall efficiency
  • Stop spending money on undifferentiated heavy lifting
  • Analyze and attribute expenditure

Practices for Companies

Companies need proper tools and systems to estimate the costs according to their cloud requirements. This estimation helps to avoid any unnecessary extra costs that can hurt your customers or your business. AWS QuickSight, Cost & Usage Report (CUR), and Cost Explorer are three tools that can help organizations monitor the costs of their cloud usage.

For more on improving your AWS cloud costs, check out our article, Optimizing AWS Architecture for Cost Management.

Performance Efficiency

The performance-critical factors of a cloud application need computational resources to fulfil the requirements. The efficiency of the cloud infrastructure depends on consistent maintenance and evolving technology.

Principles

The five factors describe this pillar, and these you can find in the Performance Efficiency Pillar whitepaper:

  • Democratize advanced technologies
  • Go global in minutes
  • Use serverless architectures
  • Experiment more often
  • Consider mechanical sympathy

Practices for Companies

A significant degree of performance efficiency is possible to achieve by delegating complex tasks to third-party vendors capable of effectively implementing advanced technology. Multi-regional workload deployment is also essential to lower deployment costs and reduce latency. Testing and experimentation are much needed to assess the requirements and utilize virtual resources.

If you’re considering serverless architecture for your AWS workloads, check out our article on AWS Serverless Kubernetes Infrastructure with EKS Fargate too.

Well Architected Review – Its Importance for Companies

As an AWS trusted partner, Caylent can support your Well Architected Review from start to finish and help you maximize the opportunity to improve infrastructure performance in all areas of the 5 Pillars. In recent cases, we have helped companies reduce costs by 37%, automate EC2 workloads and ensure proper security standards. Caylent team members work with your internal AWS team members to complete your Well Architected Review. The steps involved include

  1. An introduction call between the two teams 
  2. A deep dive into your cloud environments and business critical workloads
  3. The comprehensive Well Architected Review

We typically complete the full process with a company in 2 weeks.

By optimizing Caylent to conduct a Well Architected Review, our team can help your department to quickly and easily assess any performance gaps in your cloud architecture based on the pillars defined by AWS Well Architected framework. This review aims to analyze your current standpoint by scrutinizing different aspects such as the performance, security, and efficiency of any existing business critical workloads.

The framework is a blend of all critical performance, security, operations, cost, and reliability factors that are necessary for enhancing current systems to better improve your security too.

Caylent can support your work with a Well Architected Review to focus on automation and optimization processes that can help you further develop cost-effective, scalable, well-performing, and secure cloud applications. The WAR is free for eligible companies and workloads, and you will receive $5,000 AWS credit to remediate the identified improvement areas. 

As well as assessing current architecture by benchmarking against all the above Five pillars, Caylent can help you identify any weak points and provide a roadmap that details exactly how to shift to a more solid AWS Well Architected framework. On completion of the review, you will receive detailed reporting of our findings and our recommendations for remediation. Contact us here or schedule your Well-Architected Review here.


Caylent provides a critical DevOps-as-a-Service function to high growth companies looking for expert support with Kubernetes, cloud security, cloud infrastructure, and CI/CD pipelines. Our managed and consulting services are a more cost-effective option than hiring in-house, and we scale as your team and company grow. Check out some of the use cases, learn how we work with clients, and read more about our DevOps-as-a-Service offering.