AWS Well-Architected Framework Explained

Bringing Needed Structure
to the Cloud

As anyone with experience in the cloud knows, the available design choices and cloud services combined with potential for risk makes for a complex world. The AWS Well-Architected Framework is AWS’s way of bringing sense and order to the cloud.

Following the framework is one way to ensure your cloud infrastructure is optimized for security, performance and costs. To achieve the highest confidence in your infrastructure, combine AWS Well-Architected Framework design principles with a partnership with an AWS Advanced Certified Solution Provider like Bloomip. 

AWS Well-Architected Framework Defined

AWS defines AWS Well-Architected as:

“The AWS Well-Architected Framework describes key concepts, design principles, and architectural best practices for designing and running workloads in the cloud. By answering a few foundational questions, learn how well your architecture aligns with cloud best practices and gain guidance for making improvements.”

For more information on why a framework for your application or data in the cloud  is critical, check out our article on the basics of cloud infrastructure services.

6 Pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework

AWS specifies 6 pillars in the AWS Well-Architected Framework.

Let’s explore each pillar in more detail and what it means for cloud infrastructure.

Operational Excellence in the
AWS Well-Architected Framework

This first pillar concerns analyzing workloads through the lens of a firm’s business objectives. Cloud infrastructure is meant to support the company’s goals and business value– not to exist in a vacuum.

The focus is on continual improvement of the operation and monitoring of systems, including automation. AWS supplies 5 design principles for Operational Excellence:

  1. Perform operations as code
  2. Make frequent, small, reversible changes
  3. Refine operations’ procedures frequently
  4. Anticipate failure
  5. Learn from all operational failures

Security in the
AWS Well-Architected Framework

In 2022, it’s reasonable to assume that almost every organization in the cloud understands how critical appropriate security is. However, it’s just as reasonable to assume that the number of security vulnerabilities in the world are still unacceptably high.

With the Security Pillar, AWS provides best practices for the security of data and users, along with detecting and mitigating security events. Here are the 7 design principles AWS has identified:

  1. Implement a strong security foundation
  2. Enable traceability
  3. Apply security at all layers
  4. Automate security best practices
  5. Protect data in transit and at rest
  6. Keep people away from data
  7. Prepare for security events

Reliability in the
AWS Well-Architected Framework

There are 2 aspects to the Reliability pillar: ensuring that workloads function as intended and that you can quickly recover when they don’t. (Because nothing works perfectly forever). The goal of this pillar is to help build strong foundations with resilient architecture. 

These are AWS’s Reliability Design Principles:

  1. Automatically recover from failure
  2. Test recovery procedures
  3. Scale horizontally to increase aggregate workload availability
  4. Stop guessing capacity
  5. Manage change in automation

Performance Efficiency in the
AWS Well-Architected Framework

In the usual business lifecyle, a company’s cloud performance needs are going to change. As a company grows, it's going to require different resources, whether it's a startup, SMB firm or enterprise. Workloads need to be efficient at all levels. 

Performance Efficiency can be achieved and maintained through AWS’s design principles:

  • Democratize advanced technologies: Make advanced technology implementation easier for your team
  • Go global in minutes
  • Use serverless architectures
  • Experiment more often
  • Consider mechanical sympathy

Cost Optimization in the
AWS Well-Architected Framework

Avoiding unnecessary costs is top-of-mind for all organizations. And cloud spend is notoriously difficult to understand, let alone optimize. Cost Optimization is a continual process of refinement and improvement– it’s never over, and it’s always important.

Here are AWS’s design principles for Cost Optimization:

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

Sustainability in the
AWS Well-Architected Framework

Cloud workloads can have significant environmental impact if they aren’t architected with sustainability in mind. AWS’s final pillar helps organizations meet their sustainability goals both in the cloud and throughout the broader organization.

AWS suggests these Sustainability design principles:

  • Understand your impact
  • Establish sustainability goals
  • Maximize utilization
  • Anticipate and adopt new, more efficient hardware and software offerings
  • Use managed services
  • Reduce the downstream impact of your cloud workloads

Why Should I Care about the AWS Well-Architected Framework?

If you’ve ever had any of these concerns about your cloud infrastructure, then you could use a solution like the AWS Well-Architected Framework:

  • I think my monthly AWS spend is too high, but I’m unsure how to bring it down
  • I don’t know if my infrastructure is secure enough
  • Scaling up worries me– will my infrastructure be able to handle the load?
  • I can’t tell if we need all the services we have enabled
  • Everything seems so disorganized, it’s hard to know how it all fits together

The AWS Well-Architected Framework’s 6 pillars bring needed structure to the cloud, helping organizations be more confident about their cloud services implementation and ongoing use.

AWS Well-Architected Review: How to Bring the AWS Well-Architected Framework to Your Organization 

To identify where your infrastructure shines– and where it falls short, you need an AWS Well-Architected Review from an AWS Partner you trust. 

Bloomip is an AWS Advanced Certified Solution Provider, and our Well-Architected Reviews will help your organization:

  • Learn how to save 18-50% on your AWS costs
  • Stop guessing your capacity needs
  • Test systems at production scale
  • Track how your AWS infrastructure measures up against best practices
  • Reduce security and compliance risks
  • Get security readiness reports for HIPAA, SOC 2, any others (35+ security frameworks)

The AWS Well-Architected Review reveals issues that need remediation, along with specific recommendations for optimization. Many times, AWS will issue remediation credits to organizations that address a certain percentage of High-Risk Indicators (HRIs) in a given time frame. Make sure to ask about this remediation credit before starting your Well-Architected Review. Most clients who contract with Bloomip to remediate these HRIs are eligible for a $5,000 AWS credit.

Learn more about an AWS Well-Architected Review from Bloomip, or contact us to get in touch with a cloud architecture expert.


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