The Art of W.A.R.
Since introducing Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) in March of 2006, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has revolutionized how software is architected, written, managed, and deployed at scale. Today, AWS has over 100 discrete public cloud services spanning everything from the “holy trinity” of compute, network, and storage to emerging technologies like Machine Learning, IoT, and AR/VR. Millions of applications are now running on top of AWS, but the paradigm shift has been so dramatic that many of those applications aren’t architected to fully take advantage of what public cloud has to offer.
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The Birth of Well-Architected
In 2015 at the annual AWS re:Invent conference, Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer for AWS, announced a new whitepaper called The AWS Well-Architected Framework. The whitepaper outlines a framework for ensuring that applications are architected properly for the cloud across five separate “pillars.” The Well-Architected Framework is the most complete and thorough collection of best-practices and guidance that is available for organizations undergoing a cloud transformation on top of AWS. The strategies within the framework help organizations compare their workload against best practices, and learn how to create reliable and efficient systems.
The five pillars of AWS Well-Architected include:
- Operational Excellence – Focuses on running and monitoring systems to deliver business value, and continually improving processes and procedures. Key topics include managing and automating changes, responding to events, and defining standards to successfully manage daily operations.
- Security – Focuses on protecting information & systems. Key topics include confidentiality and integrity of data, identifying and managing who can do what with privilege management, protecting systems, and establishing controls to detect security events.
- Reliability – Focuses on the ability to prevent, and quickly recover from failures to meet business and customer demand. Key topics include foundational elements around setup, cross project requirements, recovery planning, and how we handle change.
- Performance Efficiency – Focuses on using IT and computing resources efficiently. Key topics include selecting the right resource types and sizes based on workload requirements, monitoring performance, and making informed decisions to maintain efficiency as business needs evolve.
- Cost Optimization – Focuses on avoiding un-needed costs. Key topics include understanding and controlling where money is being spent, selecting the most appropriate and right number of resource types, analyzing spend over time, and scaling to meet business needs without overspending.
Each pillar has a separate related whitepaper providing in-depth information on best practices and guidance.
Shortcut to Well-Architected
In an effort to accelerate the adoption of the principles and best practices within the Well-Architected Framework, AWS has partnered with a select few accredited partners to create the Well-Architected Review Program. Mission is an AWS Premier Consulting Partner that can provide Well-Architected Reviews (WAR) to qualified companies. We work with your technical staff to understand your workflow and application architecture, and suggest improvements that will align your architecture and processes to the best practices outlined in the five pillars of the Well Architected Framework.
Mission has performed many Well-Architected Reviews on behalf of our customers, and we’ve found that 96% of the findings relate to security, 79% to reliability, and 75% to operational excellence, which underscores the urgency of ensuring that your applications are employing best-practices.
The Art of WAR
In his military treatise The Art of War, Sun Tzu states that “the greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” By learning about the AWS Well-Architected Framework, and applying the learnings within to your organization and application architectures, you can invoke the same strategy to achieve easier, faster victories on the path to stable and efficient AWS deployments. Join us as we dive deep into the five pillars of the Well-Architected Framework over the next five months.
A Guided Tour
The volume of information contained within the Well-Architected Framework can be intimidating, but we’re here to help. Starting in April, Mission will be sharing a series of blog posts, webinars, and educational content to help you fully grasp all that the Well-Architected Framework has to offer. Each month, we’ll focus on a single pillar of the Well-Architected Framework, digging deep into the insights contained within. If you would like to join us to learn more about AWS’ Well-Architected Framework, register for our webinar series: