What is AWS Well-Architected Framework Review and Should You Get It?

Building on Amazon Web Services and other cloud computing platforms offers many benefits. It gives you affordable access to powerful IT infrastructure without having to invest in on-site equipment. This means you can scale IT operations and infrastructure to match your business performance –– and then scale back when the rush hours are over. 

Cloud computing saves your business time and money, enabling you to direct more attention to other projects within your organization. The Well-Architected Framework is designed to make sure you build on AWS according to the best practices out there.

But how do you know whether you’re following the framework? That’s where the AWS Well-Architected Framework Review (also known as the AWS WAFR) can help.

In simple terms, AWS Well-Architected Framework Review (WAFR) examines the cloud architecture to see if the infrastructure complies with the AWS WAFR framework. It can be conducted either by cloud users themselves or Amazon Certified Partners. The process isn’t too intricate but requires experience with AWS to execute WAFR correctly. 

In this article, we’ll go over all aspects of the review, its use, benefits, and best practices. So that you can benefit from a secure and reliable architecture in the long run.

What is an AWS Well-Architected Framework Review? 

Cloud computing is well suited to small businesses and startups because it can save on costs for IT infrastructure and help maximize the potential of your business.

WAFR is a systematic review of the cloud infrastructure built on AWS to determine if design principles and architectural best practices are being met. In addition, areas that can be improved are also identified. The AWS WAFR consists of 5 pillars, and each includes specific matters of consideration that need to be met.

The 6 Pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework Review

Let’s have a look at each pillar of the Well-Architected Framework separately: 

Operational Excellence – The operational excellence pillar is concerned with the operation and monitoring of systems, as well as the continuous improvement of processes and procedures. Automating changes, responding to events, and setting standards to govern everyday operations are all subjects of concern here.

Security – The security pillar is concerned with safeguarding data and systems. As well as data confidentiality and integrity, controlling user permissions, and setting controls to identify security incidents.

Reliability – The reliability pillar is concerned with workloads fulfilling their intended duties and how to swiftly recover from failure in order to satisfy demands. This pillar also covers concerns upon distributed system design, recovery planning, and adjusting to changing requirements.

Performance Efficiency – The pillar of performance efficiency focuses on allocating structured and streamlined IT and computing resources. Also, selecting resource types and sizes that are optimized for workload requirements, monitoring performance, and preserving efficiency as business demands change.

Cost Optimization – The pillar of cost optimization focuses on eliminating unnecessary expenditures. It encompasses understanding expenditure over time, controlling fund allocation, selecting the proper type and quantity of resources, and scaling to meet corporate objectives without overspending.

Sustainability – The sustainability pillar focuses on addressing the long-term environmental, economic, and societal impact of your business activities. This pillar aims to help users understand their impact on the environment, establish sustainability goals; anticipate and adopt new, more efficient hardware and software offerings; and reduce the downstream impact of the cloud workloads.

The WAFR is regularly updated by AWS to meet the dynamic nature of industry trends, and emerging security threats which is why conducting the review on existing systems has many benefits, which we will be looking at in the next section. 

What Are the Benefits of an AWS Well-Architected Review?

As a business that has invested in AWS, you would naturally want to get more value out of your investment, and conducting a Well-Architected Framework Review can do the following:

  • Identify and monitor any gaps or issues to find better solutions to problems that may come up in the future. 
  • Stay up to date with the AWS WAR framework pillars. 
  • Conducting a regular WAR can help identify the unnecessary costs of your cloud infrastructure. 
  • Optimization, better performance & reliability (reduced downtime) of your systems under AWS.
  • Your startup will be more secure and better positioned to deal with any security threats (old or new). 

What Makes AWS WAFR Important for Cybersecurity?

Security, particularly cybersecurity, is of utmost importance for computer systems protection because of increased threats such as DDoS, viruses, ransomware, and malware. 

By using AWS and becoming familiar with its shared responsibility model (which specifies the security obligations of a cloud computing provider and its users to ensure accountability), Amazon will guarantee the security of the cloud, while your small business/startup will ensure security within the cloud. This means that you are responsible for the security of your business applications and their data. That’s why WAFR becomes important, as it can help you review the existing security procedures and strengthen your business by closing gaps and improving the security of your infrastructure. 

Performing a Well-Architected Review

Businesses having a deeper understanding of the WAFR process may opt to perform the WAFR themselves; however, given the complex nature of AWS and its underlying technologies, Amazon Certified Partners such as  Cloudvisor are best suited for this purpose. 

According to Amazon’s AWS Partner Page, “The AWS Well-Architected Partner Program helps organizations establish good architectural habits, reduce risks, and respond faster to changes that affect designs, applications, and workloads. AWS Well-Architected Partners gain expertise to build high-quality solutions, implement best practices, check the state of workloads, and make improvements to fit business and customer needs.” 

That being said, it’s always better to ask AWS partners for help when it comes to carrying out AWS WAFR because partners are certified and well-versed in the peculiarities of AWS. Also, it’s common for partners to possess all tools necessary to scan your infrastructure meticulously while leaving not even a single error unintended. The best part here is that partners like Cloudvisor can conduct the review and remediate the issues free of charge since AWS itself would be covering the expenses.

How Often Should You Run an AWS Well-Architected Framework Review?

It’s recommended to conduct the review each 6 to 12 months. These reviews should focus on the critical AWS workload essential to your business processes and procedures, such as inventory management systems, supply chain & logistics, payment gateways, etc. 


Is an AWS Well-Architected Framework Review Enough to Secure Your Systems?

The short answer is yes. Following the AWS WAR framework will ensure that your AWS infrastructure is safe and sound.

The Takeaway

By using Amazon’s AWS Well-Architected Tool, you can evaluate your compliance with the 5 pillars of the Well-Architected Framework. The review will give your business the edge it needs to succeed by ensuring your systems are optimized, secure, and maximized for optimal performance. Even though an AWS Well-Architected Framework Review may seem intimidating, we at Cloudvisor are happy to conduct the review for you; thus, remediating the issues free of charge because AWS would be covering the expenses.


What is the AWS Well-Architected Tool used for?

The AWS Well-Architected Tool is used for reviewing the state of your applications and workloads, and it provides a central place for architectural best practices and guidance. The tool itself is based on the AWS Well-Architected Framework, developed for cloud architects to build secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient application infrastructures. 

What does Well-Architected mean?

Well-Architected means that your business processes and systems are in excellent compliance with the AWS Well-Architected Framework and adhere to its 6 pillars. The WA Framework describes key concepts, design principles, and architectural best practices for designing and running workloads on AWS and should be your ultimate guide. 

Which pillar of AWS’s Well-Architected Framework focuses on using computing resources?

The Performance Efficiency pillar focuses on allocating IT and computing resources in a structured and streamlined manner. Areas of focus should be: selecting resources optimized for workload requirements based on types and size of workloads, performance monitoring, and maintaining efficiency as your business evolves.

Which pillar of the AWS Well-Architected Framework is supported by the design philosophy of performing operations as code?

The Operational Excellence pillar focuses on running and monitoring systems and continually improving processes and procedures. Automating changes, responding to events, and defining standards to manage daily operations will collectively drive business value and lead toward your business’s ultimate success. 

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