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How cloud architects can transform projects with the AWS Well-Architected Framework

Developing the perfect cloud architecture to meet your business goals is complex. Created by solutions architects at Amazon Web Services (AWS), the AWS Well-Architected Framework aims to simplify this process with a comprehensive set of best practices for the execution of successful and transformative cloud projects. It provides a list of steps any IT manager should follow when developing in the cloud. The framework is broken down into five key pillars for customers and partners to evaluate and implement effective cloud-based designs which scale over time — operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, and cost optimization.

In this blog we’ll detail the framework’s five pillars to empower your organization’s AWS workload strategy. By implementing these best practices, your organization can reduce its risk and secure data, allowing teams to focus resources on higher-value functions, reducing costs, accelerating and protecting your cloud projects.

Empowering excellent cloud operations

Operational excellence means running and monitoring systems that deliver business value, and continuously improving your organization’s processes and procedures. IT operations, business, and development teams are closely related and rely on each other to succeed. An effective approach to building system architecture reflects this interdependence and supports all parties. An operationally excellent team provides visibility and efficiency to improve and support your business goals.

Implement the following strategies to grow your organization’s operational excellence:

  • Perform operations as code — Define resources, applications, and infrastructure with code. This increases the likelihood of success and limits the effects of failure.
  • Make frequent, small, reversible changes — Implement continuous improvements to your workloads and stay agile.
  • Refine operations procedures frequently — Design, test, and repeat procedures.
  • Anticipate failure — Test how workloads and teams react; practice getting back online quickly.
  • Learn from all operational failures — Record key lessons learned from unexpected events and share with the team.

Securing your teams’ precious data

Your architecture remains under constant threat from ransomware, natural disasters, and a variety of other risks. However, an organization can implement security best practices to bolster its defense strategy. These include taking precautions to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of data, identifying and managing data privileges, protecting systems, and rolling out measures to detect potential breaches. 

AWS lists the following seven principles to strengthen your organization’s security:

  • Implement a strong identity foundation — Distribute privileges carefully and sparingly.
  • Enable traceability — Understand how your security measures monitor data, react to anomalies, and provide alerts.
  • Apply security at all layers — Always assume security measures could fail; back up your data and have a disaster recovery plan.
  • Automate security best practices — Simplify processes and manage as code.
  • Protect data in transit and at rest — Ensure data is always protected and encrypted.
  • Keep people away from data — Minimize data visibility and run procedures automatically.
  • Prepare for security events — Expect the unexpected with approved processes and policies.

Driving reliable cloud architect teams

The reliability pillar focuses on ensuring workloads perform as intended and consistently. A resilient cloud workload flexibly recovers from failures to meet business and customer demand. Organizations should take care to set up network topologies that can handle changing workloads without missing a productive beat. When working to improve its reliability, IT will need to focus on a few key topics, including distributing system design, planning for an agile recovery when needed, and how to handle change. 

Minimize disruptions and pivot to address changing requirements with the following strategies:

  • Automatically recover from failure — Set automated responses based on KPIs and business considerations.
  • Test recovery procedures — Simulate or recreate failures in the cloud; gain insights and plan accordingly.
  • Scale horizontally to increase aggregate workload availability — Reduce single points of failure and replicate resources.
  • Stop guessing capacity — Automate the scaling of cloud resources to meet demand.
  • Manage change in automation — Record and review change procedures to ensure workloads remain unaffected.

Optimizing for performance efficiency

An agile and well-prepared organization uses its IT and computing resources efficiently. By implementing a data-driven approach, your organization can build architecture to optimize workload performance and cut cost. Dive into the metrics for a comprehensive understanding of the costs associated with your compute, storage, database, and network resources, while tracking their effectiveness. Gain visibility, monitor performance, and make informed decisions as your needs evolve.

Optimize your workloads’ performance efficiency by making the following changes:

  • Democratize advanced technologies — Focus on areas of strength for your business and delegate services to a SaaS provider as needed.
  • Go global in minutes — Utilize AWS regions to reduce latency, improve customer experience, and cut cost.
  • Use serverless architectures — Simplify by leveraging the cloud rather than physical servers.
  • Experiment more often — Perform frequent comparative testing in the cloud.
  • Consider mechanical sympathy — Align workload goals with the technologies you choose. For example, consider data access patterns when selecting database or storage approaches.

Reducing the cost of cloud operations

Understanding the costs of one’s cloud workloads is no small feat. Balancing your budget requires a reliable and accurate cost attribution to separate the profitable from the waste. As with any effective business strategy, you’ll need to cut back on unnecessary costs and focus on those services bringing the most value. Important considerations include understanding and controlling where money is being spent, selecting the appropriate and optimal amount of resources, analyzing spend over time, and scaling to meet your needs.

Deliver value at the lowest price point with these strategies:

  • Implement cloud financial management — Leverage AWS cost management services to track all expenses involved in your cloud application.
  • Adopt a consumption model — With SaaS, costs scale to your actual usage; don’t estimate and pay for unused resources.
  • Measure overall efficiency — Use metrics to track output and expenses.
  • Stop spending money on undifferentiated heavy lifting — Focus on your business and let your cloud service manage the technical side of operations.
  • Analyze and attribute expenditures — Investigate and understand the ROI for your workloads.

Next steps

By implementing best practices, such as those found in the AWS Well-Architected Framework, developing cloud architecture to meet your organization’s needs doesn’t have to be difficult. Furthermore, Druva, a leading SaaS vendor of cloud data protection and management solutions built on AWS, believes you shouldn’t have to face these challenges alone. Druva and AWS collaborate to bring industry-leading expertise to cloud workload management, providing products and services to meet the needs of any organization, large or small. If you’re looking to simplify data protection and management for your cloud workloads, Druva delivers 100% SaaS data protection to help your organization minimize cost and complexity, increase cyber resilience, maintain compliance, and accelerate and protect cloud projects.

Read more about the AWS Well-Architected Framework in the eBook, and further explore how your organization can meet the five pillars of the framework in Druva’s webinar series Meet the cloud architects. Watch the first episode of the webinar series below.

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