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AWS Well-Architected Framework: Briefly Explained

A well-known feature of Amazon Web Services (AWS) Public Cloud is the existence of numerous options for setting up, integrating, implementing, and subsequently operating the platform. The AWS Well-Architected Framework reviews, improves, and optimises processes and structures within your environment.

Learn how the AWS Well-Architected Framework works and what topics are particularly considered in our Public Cloud 101.

What is the AWS Well Architected Framework?

The AWS Well Architected Framework describes an audit process of your existing cloud infrastructure, which is scrutinised with regard to various topics such as security, efficiency and costs, and the potential for optimisation is evaluated. However, the AWS Well Architected Framework is not only used in the evaluation of existing cloud environments, but also during their development.

The Well Architected Review should be recognised as a separate thing from the AWS Well Architected Framework, as a dedicated architecture evaluation that builds on the AWS Well Architected Framework as a review process in its own right.

The six pillars of the AWS Well Architected Framework

The AWS Well Architected Framework is based on six principles derived from best practices for designing and operating cloud-based environments and applications:

1. Security

Protecting data and systems is the highest priority in IT. The AWS Well Architected Framework pays particular attention to security-critical issues such as rights management within your AWS environment (see also "The right number of AWS accounts"), or appropriate controls for early detection of security risks and incidents. If security gaps are discovered, suitable optimisation processes are suggested to fix them.

2. Reliability

The reliability of cloud environments is designed with high fault avoidance in mind, along with fast and automated recovery of systems in case of failure. The AWS Well Architected Framework is designed to detect resource bottlenecks at an early stage and request appropriate capacities.

3. Performance & efficiency

The ideal and efficient performance of your AWS environment is an imperative for running an operationally resilient business. System requirements, selection of the right services at the appropriate scale and resource types, and consideration of modern architectural paradigms such as serverless, among others, all play an important role. The AWS Well Architected Framework examines all of these issues and evaluates optimisation potential for more efficient operations with higher performance and effectiveness.

4. Optimal operation

Optimal operation can be achieved by a focus on continuous optimisation of the cloud environment and monitoring of running systems. The aim of the AWS Well Architected Framework at this point is to deliver a continuous improvement in value creation through optimised structures and processes.

5. Cost minimisation

A primary issue for any IT or cloud environment is cost. What does the environment cost? How can money be saved? The AWS Well Architected Framework performs a comprehensive cost analysis. Its results are concrete measures that contribute to cost savings within the cloud infrastructure. Common measures include capacity reservations such as Reserved Instances or Saving Plans, or resource optimisations.

6. Sustainability

The "Sustainability" pillar is concerned with minimising the impact of cloud workloads on the environment. Cloud workloads are demonstrably the most environmentally friendly methodology in terms of saving water and energy resources, with regards to running IT operations.

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