AWS Well-Architected Framework – Updated Checklist

If you want to optimize your cloud-based operations, here is an AWS Well-Architected Framework checklist to optimize costs, operational excellence, and more.

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.

Conclusion

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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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Abhijeet Chinchole

Abhijeet Chinchole

Abhijeet Chinchole is Chief Technology Officer at Cloudlytics. Over the years, Abhijeet has helped numerous global businesses transition to the cloud by helping them with strategy and implementation. He is also an expert on cloud migration, cloud security, and building modern SaaS applications. When not working, he likes to drive and don the hat of a creative tinkerer.

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