AWS has been the talk of the town when it comes to cloud solutions and the variety of products that it encapsulates. Being one of the top cloud providers, AWS significantly contributes to the overall cloud adoption growth in software companies. With cloud-native technologies on high demand, AWS has all it takes to be the evergreen choice of customers for all their cloud needs, whether creating software, testing, deploying, scaling, computing, storing, etc. Today, we will see the most talked about topic, ‘AWS well-architected framework,’ in detail and see what it is and why it is so important.
AWS cloud computing services have been powering a wide range of businesses for more than a decade. As a result, AWS has built up a wealth of experience and knowledge that they now offer as the AWS Well-Architected Framework. The framework allows business leaders and software architects to make critical architectural decisions with confidence. The AWS Well-Architected Framework was introduced to help customers with their cloud migration journey, guide how to design the exemplary AWS architecture for their applications, and help manage their AWS environment.
This architecture helps enterprises build applications that are secure, reliable, and cost-effective. This framework consists of pillars that have components for time-proven architectural patterns, security best practices, common design patterns, and industry best practices. It also provides guidance on how to apply these pillars to your application when designing architectures.
There are basically five pillars, and we are going to see them one by one in detail below.
This pillar is about supporting the development of workloads on AWS. It’s about gaining insight into your workload operations and improving your processes and procedures to make sure you’re delivering value to your customers and business.
Perform operations as code, don’t perform operations manually, use tools like cloud formation to automatically build your infrastructure. Make frequent small and reversible changes rather than big changes that are difficult to roll back. This helps you if something goes wrong, you can quickly roll back and try again. Refine operations procedures frequently, constantly reevaluate how you’re doing things, is there a better way. Anticipate failure, make sure you always anticipate what could go wrong. That’s how you can prevent it from happening. And also, make sure that you’re able to recover from failure when it does happen.
This pillar talks about protecting your data systems and assets and taking advantage of the cloud technologies available for you to secure your data. Best practices include implementing a solid identity foundation. So make sure that your identity management systems like your identity Federation, your mobile, and web application authentication systems; you got to get those rights so that your identities are appropriately secured, and users get access to what they need.
Enable traceability is the other best practice so you can trace what’s happening. Where did things go wrong? What’s happening here and what’s happening there.
Applying security at all layers is also an important point; Don’t just apply security at the perimeter, make sure that every layer of your application and infrastructure has security applied. Automate security best practices and automate as much as you can; the more you automate, the less human error you’re likely to have. Protect data in transit and at rest, so think about encrypting the data. Remember, it’s up to you to encrypt your data on AWS; you want to encrypt it as it’s moving across a network in transit. And at rest when it’s stored in a storage system, or in a database. Also, keep people away from data, have the right access controls in place to secure your data access, prepare for security events.
his is about ensuring your workloads perform correctly and consistently, as they’re expected to for whatever they do. This includes the ability to operate and test the workload for its entire lifecycle.
Best practices include automating recovery from failure, so make sure that you can automatically recover when something goes wrong. You don’t need manual involvement. Think about Amazon EC2 auto-scaling – If a system fails an instance fails, then it will be automatically replaced by auto-scaling, and your load balancer will start distributing traffic to it; that’s automatic recovery. Involving disaster recovery procedures is also a point to include here. Wherever possible, scale horizontally to increase aggregate workload availability.
This pillar is about ensuring our resources are working to meet the requirements and changing as demand and as technologies evolve as well.
Best practices include democratizing the technologies that AWS provides to the full extent, services that include event-driven architectures, managed services, serverless, etc. Being able to deploy your applications anywhere o the globe very easily is another point in this pillar. Use advanced technologies like serverless and experiment as much as possible for performance efficiency.
This pillar focuses on making sure you are delivering value to your business and customers at the lowest price point. Best practices here include adopting a consumption model, cloud financial management, employing cost optimization tools from AWS, etc. It is also important to measure the overall efficiency often, so you will know where you need to tune in and reduce your cost wherever you have over-allocated the resources. One more point to note here is to stop spending money on the things that aren’t required, on undifferentiated heavy lifting, etc.
The well-architected framework was started approximately eight years ago, as the AWS engineers started to see what their customers were doing when they were deploying things to AWS. Hence, they built this body of knowledge and began to share it with their customers so that they could basically learn the things that the engineers at AWS learned by working with their customers over the years.
So the well-architected framework will enable and help companies to build and deploy their systems faster. So when you’re no longer trying to question what is the right thing to do, you’ll be able to make decisions faster and actually deploy things faster. In addition, the framework points out very common risks that people take and most of them are fairly easily mitigated. The well-architected framework will provide information on how to protect those risks and mitigate them, as well as making informed decisions.
The well-architected framework is a mechanism for your cloud journey. It allows you to learn the best practices and let you know how to improve your architecture and how you do things.
In this article, we focused in detail on the AWS Well-Architected Framework and its importance. The Well-Architected framework is highly recommended and advances to emerge steadily as a set of best practices to build highly reliable and scalable cloud solutions. This framework allows AWS users to follow the set of guidelines prescribed through the five core pillars that we already discussed above. You can read more about the AWS well-architected framework from the official documentation.
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