Automating the Well-Architected Review Process

The AWS Well-Architected Review is one of the best ways to measure the effectiveness of your best practices and address critical issues in your architecture promptly. It pits your architecture against AWS (Amazon Web Services) best practices and helps you determine potential pain points. But is there a way to automate the Well-Architected Review process so that your organization does not have to do it manually now and then?

Amazon has released a plethora of partner solutions, known as PartnerCast, such as Cloudlytics, to help organizations automate their review, procurement, and other processes. This article discusses how you can use Cloudlytics, an AWS PartnerCast solution, to automate parts of the AWS Well-Architected Framework Review process, enabling real-time and prescriptive insights to ensure an optimized infrastructure for all your needs. 

A Brief Overview of AWS Well-Architected Framework (WAF)

The AWS Well-Architected Framework helps cloud architects build a resilient and secure infrastructure for managing administrative workloads and applications. It includes a myriad of domain-specific lenses, hands-on labs, the AWS Well-Architected Tool, and access to an ecosystem of members within the AWS Well-Architected Partner Program to help review and analyze your applications. 

It is based on six architectural pillars, each with its design principles and pillar-aligned questions. Amazon has also created sets of best practices for each of them. Here are its six pillars:

  • Operational excellence
  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Performance efficiency
  • Cost optimization
  • Sustainability

What is the Well-Architected Review, and why is it valuable for you?

AWS offers Well-Architected Reviews to its clients. For this, it uses a slew of Framework principles to provide an assessment and solutions for critical issues, with most customers happy to accept the suggested remediations. These are staffed by AWS Well-Architected Partners or AWS Solutions Architects and help manage high-priority workloads. Here is how Well-Architected Reviews are valuable for clients:

  • Optimizing operational excellence and cost and getting help in interpreting and managing the flow of AWS services
  • Getting rid of issues surrounding performance, cost, reliability, operations, and security timely
  • Helping improve cloud usage by optimizing architectural implementation

How can Cloudlytics help you automate the AWS Well-Architected Reviews?

As mentioned above, Amazon has introduced a series of AWS Well-Architected Partners to help automate business processes and resolve issues based on its Well-Architected best practices. 

For those looking to automate the Review process, Cloudlytics is the way to go. It is capable of providing instant visibility in your infrastructure. With its help, clients can undertake change management, workflow, review automation, and optimize compliance and security audits. 

Cloudlytics is a part of the Well-Architected Tools APIs launched by Amazon with the intent to allow customers and partners to develop flexible integrations for a range of use cases. For this, a user would require an AWS account and access to Cloudlytics and have to follow the below steps to automate the Review process.

Initial setup for initiating automation

As you start, you need to provide Cloudlytics read-only access to your customer’s metadata. It would help define a role for the software in the environment and furnish the necessary data for evaluating the architectural configuration. For this, you would require no agents and merely follow a simple Cloudlytics installation process. Create an ID and set up a password on the portal with your AWS account details. It would provide the necessary AWS IAM (Identity and Access Management) role and associated billing bucket to AWS Lambda code and allow it to automate the configuration process. 

Get insights within 24 hours of initial setup

Once the setup is complete, you will have to wait 24 hours before the software is ready to churn out insights. Cloudlytics dashboard provides a single pane through which you can monitor your AWS Well-Architected Framework and check for infrastructure-based compliance. The platform is also capable of auto-discovering architectural risks. 

Tools and API integrations

A large part of automation is API-based integration. Through Cloudlytics, customers can integrate the AWS Well-Architected Tools directly via APIs, enabling them to conduct all reviews and other tasks in a single place. Cloudlytics also can attach supporting documentation for each best practice, enabling the reviewer to access all the necessary resources and conduct a data-driven review with ease. Users can further use the grouping feature of Cloudlytics to group AWS resources based on specific criteria. This feature allows customers to take automation a step further and create subsets for particular workloads. 

Set of pre-configured rules for automated discovery and continuous compliance

Cloudlytics is also equipped with a set of pre-configured rules capable of automating the detection of high-risk issues directly in alignment with AWS WAF. The tool can also provide near real-time feedback about workload configuration. With many users running into workload issues, timely precautionary measures via Cloudlytics are a lifesaver. Cloudlytics also supports auto-discovery, which can churn out recommendations and point out areas that do not comply with specific best practices. 

Customized templates for higher efficiency

With the help of the Cloudlytics Templates Generator feature, users can generate reusable, highly personalized recommendations for a slew of architectural scenarios. These can be plugged into the remediation plan, WAF Report, and its associated proposal. Further, if the user wants to add their questions or best practices over and above the existing AWS WAF features, Cloudlytics supports that. 

Wrap Up

Cloudlytics is a SaaS cloud management platform for AWS, which helps automate the AWS Well-Architected Review process. With its help, customers can undertake automated discovery of areas for remediation and help automate the process to ensure continuous compliance in line with the AWS WAF guidelines. It helps organizations to be proactive in their approach and maintain architectural consistency with optimum ease. 

If you are finding it challenging to understand where and how to start automating the well-architected review, you can consider getting in touch with an expert like Cloudlytics. We are an expert in setting up and managing compliance in the cloud, asset monitoring, and conducting security analytics to ensure you have a robust cloud architecture for all your business needs. 

A Dive Into AWS Well-Architected Framework For Financial Services

Financial services are one of the essential utilities organizations and governments are supposed to provide to the people. In the wake of becoming digitally advanced economies that offer secure services, implementing financial services in the right manner is imperative. From financial services firms to independent software vendors, there is a host of financial services provided via the cloud. 

Today, we are way past the debate on whether the cloud should become a part of the financial industry. Right now, the talk of the hour is how quickly we can integrate cloud technology with financial services. In this article, we will find out how AWS Well-Architected Framework bodes with Financial Services. 

Introducing AWS Well-Architectured Financial Services Lens

The core purpose of introducing the AWS Well-Architecture Framework is to understand the pros and cons of your decisions or steps while building services on AWS. While using this system for development purposes, you will learn

  • Architectural best practices for designing and developing services.
  • Creating a service that operates reliably well for your customers. 
  • Create secure systems. 
  • Implement methods and practices to bring cost-efficiency into the system. 

While doing so, you will be constantly reminded of the architectural best practices and identify the areas for improvement. Ultimately, implementing the AWS Well-Architected framework for any business solution, including financial, banking, insurance, etc., is to improve the chances of business success. 

The AWS structure for the financial services is specifically created to help you architect the solutions while considering the same workload. Using AWS for creating financial services will help ensure that the resultant application is;

  • Reliable
  • Resilient
  • Secure 
  • Efficient
  • Cost-effective

What are the General Principles of AWS Well-Architected Framework?

As the AWS Well-Architected Framework is implemented, it helps developers and designers understand the tenets of a good design in the cloud. These are

  1. Identify the Capacity Needs: AWS architecture helps you identify capacity needs. Poor capacity decisions mean underutilizing the expensive resources which might be sitting idle. On the other hand, you might be using resources with limited capacity leading to performance implications. AWS cloud computing allows scaling up and down according to the needs.
  2. Testing Applications at the Production Scale: The AWS cloud environment lets you test solutions at the production scale level. You can create a production test environment on demand to simulate the entire application and identify its performance strengths and weaknesses. 
  3. Automating Low-Cost Architectural Experimentation: With automation, you can implement, create, and replicate workloads to find low-cost systems. This further helps reduce the manual input required to make iterations for finding the best possible implementation system. With this, it becomes convenient to track and log every change, measure the impact, and switch back to the best-fit parameters. 
  4. Build and Implement Evolutionary Architectures: AWS architecture helps build evolutionary architectures. Businesses continue to evolve at an unprecedented rate today. The lack of the requisite architecture to support their evolution restricts them from delivering according to the changing requirements. AWS’ automated implementation and testing environments lower the impact a business faces from these changes. It helps with evolving on demand and ensures continuity in the business.

Businesses should aim for an agile and cost-effective implementation system for every service, including financial services. AWS Well-Architected Framework not only allows for the creation of such a system but also helps businesses perform better than the competition and stay ahead of them in every aspect. 

Let’s find out how an AWS-enabled framework can help businesses providing financial, banking, insurance, etc. services. 

AWS Well-Architected Framework for Financial Services

The AWS Well-Architected Framework Financial Services Industry Lens is specifically built to satisfy the demands and requirements of businesses in this segment. A few elements influence the design and structure meant for financial services. 

  • Financial Data: Every financial service is sitting on loads of data. Hence, they need a structure that can help maintain the integrity and security of this data. The structure in question shall have low latency and work with strict requirements for data redistribution. 
  • Regulation and Compliance: Financial services organizations must comply with numerous regulations and compliances. To this end, using a structural service that helps maintain the user’s data integrity and ensures data encryption and tokenization of the personal data is preferable. 
  • Open Banking: This refers to the usage of APIs that help share customers’ data with third-party applications securely. With this, banking organizations allow secure access to data, but they need a cost-effective, secure, and scalable system to implement the required functions. 
  • User Engagement: Financial institutions are increasingly working on improving their engagement with the users as the latter is looking for a better customer experience. In this scenario, using structures that help manage high volumes of real-time data and have the requisite protection standards is essential.

The AWS Well-Architected Framework delivers on these aspects exceptionally well. It further goes ahead by one notch and provides the businesses with the following six pillars.

  • Operational Excellence Pillar: This allows businesses to run and monitor their systems to continue to deliver business value. The key is to support the processes and procedures while helping them to improve the same effectively. 
  • Security: Keeping in mind the importance of security for a financial business, AWS cloud services has the system to protect information and assets. Better security leads to delivering higher business value. 
  • Reliability: This means that the financial application or service will perform as intended without any hindrances. There are systems to help automatically recover after a failure, scale, and manage the changes arising due to automation. 
  • Performance Efficiency: This aspect ensures that every system is used to the best of its utilities while ensuring 100% efficiency. It also encompasses using advanced technologies with effect to provide the intended results. 
  • Cost-Optimization: This helps financial businesses without compromising on the business value at the lowest price point. 
  • Sustainability: The key here is to build and run a sustainable business. This benefit comes with the capability to hold steadfast and grow even amid environmental, economic, and societal impacts on the business. 


The AWS Well-Architected Framework is a one-stop solution for financial services businesses giving them a ready-made platform to perform and flourish. The architecture automatically analyzes the evolving business requirements, provides a security net to operate, and helps deliver services to customers without any hindrance. The financial services industry lens helps build a business that is secure and resilient, ensuring data privacy on all ends.

AWS Well-Architected Framework – Updated Checklist

Cloud has transformed the way businesses operate. From remote work capabilities to the integration of innovative technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), cloud technology enables the agility of business activities. However, optimizing cloud services for higher ROI is key to business growth. This is why Amazon Web Services introduced the AWS Well-Architected Framework in 2015.

It is a set of best practices, tools, techniques, and approaches that help you optimize cloud architecture. As a result, organizations can use the framework to improve operational capabilities, secure systems, and deploy sustainable workloads in the AWS cloud. Businesses spent more than $90.2 billion on cloud infrastructure in 2021. So, there is no denying that a well-architected framework is necessary for organizations looking to maximize ROI. 

It is essential to understand that the AWS Well-Architected Framework was introduced to optimize the usage of AWS services. However, these practices are helpful for cloud architecture across service providers. So, here is a comprehensive checklist that you need to ace the AWS Well-Architected Framework for scalable, flexible, and high-performance cloud operations. But, first, let’s understand the pillars of a well-architected framework.

Pillars of AWS Well-Architected Framework

AWS Well-Architected Framework includes operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, cost optimization, and sustainability. Operational excellence is a pillar of the AWS Well-Architected Framework that allows businesses to improve processes and workflows for enhanced cloud operations. 

There are five fundamental design principles behind the operational excellence principle of a well-architected framework:

  • Operations as a code is an approach to define workloads and infrastructure as code and update it as per requirements. 
  • Small and reversible changes help in ensuring that there are no risks involved and rollbacks are easier
  • Refine and produce frequently to have higher operational efficiency
  • Predict failures to reduce risks, manage resources and plan key aspects 
  • Learn from each failure and improve cloud efficiency.

Similarly, each pillar of the AWS Well-architected Framework serves specific purposes,

  • The security pillar defines how organizations can leverage cloud technologies to secure information, data systems, and digital assets.
  • The reliability pillar includes best practices that improve the capabilities of workloads to perform as per specific business requirements. 
  • Performance efficiency provides the ability to maximize productivity and usage of computing resources.
  • Cost optimization enables businesses to operate at optimal expenses and improve ROI.
  • The sustainability pillar is the newest addition to a framework that allows organizations to reduce energy consumption. 

Now that we are familiar with the pillars of AWS Well-architected Framework, it’s time to discuss a checklist that helps you leverage its design principles.

AWS Well-Architected Framework checklist 2022

A framework is a set of several best practices and methodologies for optimal operations. However, nitpicking is essential because AWS Well-Architected Framework is an ocean of best practices. So, if you are not choosing specifics, you may do things that are not worth the time and effort. Here is a checklist you can follow for cloud optimization:

OPOE (Organization, Prepare, Operate, Evolve)

At the organizational level, an AWS Well-Architected Framework needs to look at three key aspects:

  • Operational prioritization deals with prioritizing the workloads on the cloud
  • Operating model for cloud operations
  • Organizational culture to improve operational efficiency

The next parts of OPOE include the preparation of your architecture and infrastructure for operational excellence through

  • Design of workloads for specific operational insights
  • Development of workloads and feedback integration
  • Deployment risk mitigation and getting systems ready for operations

The operate and evolve parts include tracking of operational health along with operation evolutions. In other words, you need proper systems to check operational health and innovate for higher efficiency.

SIMDIDI (Security, Identity Management, Detection, Infrastructure Protection, Data Protection, and Incident Response)

Security of your operations is vital to protect sensitive information and files. Further, identity management enables organizations to define data access and authentication policies. Detection of security events from the logs and monitoring critical incidents is vital. It also helps in creating rapid incident responses. Another crucial aspect of SIMDIDI is data protection and infrastructure security. According to Forbes, cyberattacks on corporates and enterprises increased by 50% in 2021.

FWCF (Foundations, Workload Architecture, and Change & Failure Management)

Before beginning the architecture design, you need to have the foundational requirements defined. For example, bandwidth requirements must be defined if you are designing the network architecture. Once your foundations are defined, you can design the service architecture for system interactions, mitigating the failures and reducing risks. Further, you need to develop and deploy specific change management policies. Change management helps in demand handling and resource monitoring. Next, you need to manage failures through reliability testing, fault isolation, and measures for disaster recovery.

SRMT (Selection, Review, Monitoring, and Tradeoffs)

SRMT deals with the operations efficiency pillar. Here are the steps to follow for SRMT —

  • Selection of cloud-based architecture, database, networking solution, computer resources, and storage
  • Review the selection, and when there are evolving technologies, adopt them to improve operational efficiencies.
  • Lastly, monitor the performance of systems and minimize performance tradeoffs.

PECMO (Cloud Financial Management, Expenditure Awareness, Cost-Effective Resources, Managing Supply, and Optimizing Over Time)

When you move to the cloud, you only pay for the resources or instances used. So, there is no wastage of budget on idle resources. However, the knowledge of cost optimization with the cloud needs elaborate resources and training for your teams. Cloud financial management in AWS Well-Architected Framework provides all the necessary resources for organization-wide training. Further, your teams are also aware of cloud expenditure and resource usage. Based on the analysis, you can choose the optimal resources and manage supply for on-demand operations. So over time, you can optimize costs through cost-effective cloud financial management. 

RUSDHD (Region Selection, User Patterns, Software Architecture Patterns, Data Patterns, Hardware Patterns, and Development & Deployment Patterns)

RUSDHD is all about the sustainability of cloud-based operations. It begins with the region selection where you need to operate workloads. The choice will depend on specific business requirements and a location that helps achieve sustainable goals. For example, countries like Bhutan and Suriname have net-zero carbon emissions. 

Sustainability needs identifying user patterns, designing the workloads, and scaling your operations accordingly. It also allows organizations to optimize resource usage and improve sustainability. Further, you need a software architecture leveraging cloud resources for sustainability without compromising performance. One essential resource is data storage, which requires effective data management processes.

Lastly, you need hardware management processes to ensure optimized resource usage. Based on these patterns, you can design the development and deployment of workloads for optimized sustainability.


In the age of AI and ML, cloud-based operations are commonplace. However, without a framework, your operations will be something like a lost ship. An AWS Well-Architected Framework acts as the guiding light to many organizations. 

Our six-point checklist can help you improve cloud-based operations, scale them, and ensure resiliency. If you have any doubts or want to implement the Well-Architected Framework best practices, take a free trial of our platform now!

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