AWS Well-Architected Review – Should I or not?
Cloud Computing

AWS Well-Architected Review Framework is a document/white-paper which enables you to review and improve your cloud-based architectures and better understand the business impact of your design decisions. It essentially addresses the general design principles as well as specific best practices and guidance in five conceptual areas defined as the pillars of the Well-Architected Framework.

The said questionnaire(taken with the AWS representative) is broken into each of the well-architected frameworks pillars. This gives a thorough addressal to all the necessary areas of interest in the public cloud usage.

  • Operational Excellence
  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Performance Efficiency
  • Cost Optimizations

The white-paper contains a lot of “good practice” stuff. If your footprint is a few years old then you’ll probably uncover issues or the future path, but if you’re pretty fresh and doing the right thing(higher end of skill scale) there will be likely fewer issues to find.

It is usually worth it if someone in the team/company is asking questions about the architecture and this would answers those questions.

In a nutshell: You answer a questionnaire with your representative. Since AWS deployments can be quite complex, AWS provides this service as a checklist for the things you should be doing. Checklists are always good.

The basic idea behind doing this, if you should do it or not, is dependens on two factors:

  • Complexity
  • Skills

 

AWS Well-Architected

Case 1: Highly complex architecture & expert skillset

With an advanced skill-set, in most cases, this activity gives you an overall for your infrastructure. It can be very helpful to pinpoint small important things that you might miss out focussing on the business logic based infrastructure.

This process is usually not expensive for the skill set and can easily be implemented.

Case 2: Highly complex architecture & novice skillset

Handling a highly complex architecture can be a task on its own. Over that, not having the bandwidth to understand the different pillars of the Well Architected framework can just be the tipping point for you.

The best approach here would be to take a review with the AWS representative. Also, you’ll get a ballpark of the cost of hiring someone to do it for you which you can further use to negotiate with consultants or AWS partners.

If you get it done, some AWS partners provide credits to lower the cost of remediation.

Case 3: Less complex architecture & novice skillset

If you are fairly new and even if the complexity isn’t that high you could probably do this since it would make you think how to handle disaster recovery, redundancies, failovers, etc. which is usually not taken into account with new teams. These issues tend to be called out explicitly when you go through the process.

Case 4: Less complex architecture & expert skillset

If the architecture is not that complex and the skills tend to be at the higher side of the scale then you can probably do it yourself by looking at the white-paper and referring to the questions and good practices at the end of it.

The same way, if you are thinking “how complex/big things should be” going further, it would ultimately lead you down the path of monitoring, capacity, and performance of your application and understand how to measure it. Which is good in a scenario where you are looking to grow the infrastructure in the coming time. This applies to both novice and experts.

More on it

One part of the value proposition is doing the reviews on a semi-regular basis so that you can compare your architecture to a sensible baseline and call for further action as needed.

From a business point of view, it is worth it. Not for the reason of the learning outcomes but it also helps you form solid arguments as the management against consultancies/development shops that charge ridiculous rates for rushed architectures.

If you are really worried about the business benefits, you can talk to the AWS representatives and they can provide a good presentation for the upper management to understand the benefits of their plans.

AWS technical evangelist – Julio Faerman has been providing Twitch session regarding AWS Well Architected. You can get more information about the Twitch session in this post: https://medium.com/@julioaws/well-architected-on-twitch-is-coming-back-c3cf172ea1f7

You can find the white-paper here.

For reference follow: https://aws.amazon.com/architecture/well-architected/

Note: Recently, Amazon announced the availability of a free service called AWS Well-Architected Tool. We love the tool.  And this also go us thinking — are recommendations enough to take the right action. Won’t the users need architectural visibility to make sense of the entire infrastructure without loosing the context of resource usage. 

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TotalCloud provides architectural visibility, in real-time, on a gamified 3D visual environment, and helps monitor your AWS infrastructure from a single pane of glass. Sign-up to try.

If you have tried AWS Well-Architected tool and want to validate your answers to this tool’s questions in real-time before checking them off, watch this video.TotalCloud helps you reinforce the pillars of AWS Well-Architected Framework, thus keeping your workloads optimized.

Do read this blog to know more.

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