The Well-Architected Framework: Five Governance Pillars

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Written by Team CloudEnsure

Building a software framework is a lot like building a home. Structural problems can undermine the integrity and operation of the building if the foundation is not sound. Similar to factors that should be considered while laying the building blocks, if you ignore the five foundational pillars: operational excellence, protection, durability, performance efficiency, and cost optimization while architecting technology solutions, designing a system that satisfies your needs and specifications in the longer run will become difficult. By implementing these elements into your architecture, you create reliable and effective structures allowing you to concentrate on the other design elements, such as practical specifications.

The Well-Architected framework consists of five specific pillars which includes (Operational Excellence, Security, Reliability, Performance, and Cost Optimization) that help to provide a reliable and consistent basis from which to build your cloud infrastructure initially and to continue governance as your portfolio evolves.

Five pillars of well-architected framework each pillar in detail

1. Operational Excellence

The cornerstone of Operational Excellence requires the capacity to encourage growth and operate workloads effectively, gain insight into their behaviors and constantly develop enabling systems and procedures from which Company benefits.

For all operations and setups, a perfect way to proceed with this cornerstone is to maximize the automation use and get into the routine of using CloudFormation. The advantage of using Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is its flexibility, speed, and lower cost of designing and implementing programs. For organizational excellence in the cloud, there are five architecture principles one should incorporate:

  • Conduct processes as code.
  • Make regular, tiny, reversible modifications.
  • Refine protocols for operations annually.
  • Anticipate failing.
  • Adapt from all failures in operations.

2. Security

While the cloud providers need to keep defense high on the agenda and they do it using the Shared-Responsibility Paradigm highlighting they will take care of security of the cloud while security in the cloud still remains consumers responsibility. It is important to look at protection from all angles and at many levels: before building with protection-led planning, through constructive risk evaluations and after injury mishaps, with well-proven and performed plans.

In the cloud, there are seven architecture concepts for security:

  • Implement a solid basis of personality.
  • Activate traceability.
  • Apply defence to all layers.
  • Automate best practices with defence.
  • Safeguard data in transit and at rest.
  • Hold individuals away from data.
  • Making plans for protection incidents.

3. Reliability

The durability pillar sounds like a bit of a no-brainer, but you’d be shocked by how much it’s not completely thought about. It not only requires recovery from loss or service failures but also requires the problem of capability and scalability management. By providing a Clean Room for deeper and safer analysis, the use of CloudFormation & terraform scripts can assist in recovery, as can schedule a time to exercise and validate these same procedures.

In the cloud, there are five architecture criteria for reliability:

  • Recovering automatically from loss.
  • Procedures of Test Recovery.
  • Scaling horizontally to maximize the amount of aggregate workload.
  • Avoid Skill Guessing.
  • Manage change in automation.

You must start with the basics, an area where service quotas and system topology manage the load, to achieve reliability. The distributed system’s workload architecture must be built to avoid and minimize failures. The workload must manage demand or requirement shifts, and it must be configured to diagnose loss and restore itself automatically.

4. Performance efficiency

This pillar is all about the tools of computers, their capacity to fulfill requirements and grow as needs change. It will open more possibilities and allow the architecture to be fluid and innovative, and you will more than certainly find yourself employing different methods to fit different workloads.

For output reliability, there are five architecture principles:

  • Democratize complex innovations.
  • Go in minutes worldwide.
  • Using Systems without Servers.
  • Quite often, experimentation.
  • Allow sympathy for mechanics.

To develop a high-performance infrastructure, take a data-driven approach. Gather knowledge on all facets of the architecture, from high-level planning to resource type collection and configuration.

Reviewing your decisions on a daily basis means that you take advantage of the Cloud, which is constantly changing. Monitoring means that any divergence from planned output is reported to you. In your architecture, make trade-offs to boost performance, such as using compression or caching, or relaxing criteria for quality.

5. Optimizing Cost

The reduced prices relative to on-prem or data center configurations was one of the biggest advantages of using Cloud. However, as we have always seen, in fact, this has not always happened merely because of oversights and short-term planning.

For cost-efficiency in the cloud, there are five architecture principles:

  • Implement financial control from the cloud.
  • Adopt a model of consumption.
  • Measure total output.
  • Avoid wasting on undifferentiated heavy lifting for capital.
  • Expenditure research and attribution.

In certain situations, it’s better to optimize for efficiency rather than engaging in up-front cost optimization, getting to market fast, delivering new functionality, or merely hitting a deadline.

Design decisions are often guided by hurry rather than evidence, and as the tendency often remains to overcompensate for the most cost-optimal rollout rather than spend some time benchmarking. This could lead to deployments which are over-provisioned and under-optimized.

Well-Architected Review with CloudEnsure

Well-architected review is conducted by certified cloud architects which involve the audit of your cloud portfolio, assessing your environment and then highlighting the vulnerabilities present in form of a report. CloudEnsure – Cloud Governance Platform accelerates this process of Well-Architected Review to build an efficient, cost-effective, secure, reliable, and high-performing cloud infrastructure for your cloud applications and workloads.

The audit process involves & revolves around the 5 governance pillars of a well-architected framework. The main aim of the entire audit is to get consideration about the client business needs, the core of the infrastructure, and preparation towards load variability and security. One of the key features to highlight is the ability to access it. The key feature of the CloudEnsure tool along with a multi-cloud presence is its real-time scoring and remediation recommendations on the cloud infrastructure against the industry benchmarks. It continuously monitors infrastructure changes to optimize resource utilization and cost – across cloud accounts, regions, projects, workloads, and employees. With rapid visibility to cloud infrastructure changes, one can easily track the user, resource, or event and integrate with Jira, Slack, and also get email notifications. CloudEnsure offers real-time notifications for security risks and vulnerabilities, non-compliance alerts and audit trails make securing and tracking of workloads easier. Once the review process completes, one receives a review of cloud workload and a dashboard where you can check the results of workload reviews across the organization. The detailed findings can then be utilized to fix the issues and improve infrastructure as per the industry best practices to make your infrastructure more secure, high performing, and cost-efficient.

To accelerate your business growth in the cloud, a Well-Architected Review by CloudEnsure is definitely recommended as it just takes few hours delivering benefits that are beneficial to you not just immediately but in the long run.

Benefits of Well-Architected Audit

  • Get all vulnerabilities highlighted in one place for your complete cloud infrastructure.
  • Get the best solution & prioritized standard procedure of the remediation for the vulnerabilities present.
  • Keep informed & streamlined with any new event occurring in your cloud infrastructure. E.g., sudden spike in the cost.
  • Enabling an easy yet detailed discussion with the leadership team on how the updated infrastructure can be advantageous for you.

 Address the areas of concern, security, and compliance risk.

Bottom Line

The Well-Architected review offers architectural best practices for the design and operation of stable, safe, functional, and cost-effective cloud services across the five pillars. It acts as an enabler to understand and optimize your cloud journey.

The use of the Framework allows to create reliable and efficient structures that allow you to concentrate on functional requirements. Whether you are getting started on cloud or an established user of cloud running multiple workloads, performing a Well architected audit is always a good start in your cloud governance journey ensuring you are one step closer to your desired state.

CloudEnsure accelerates this entire process and saves huge efforts and workhours involved in performing the well-architected review. Utilizing the five governance pillars ensures you have everything visible in a single pane of glass to enhance your infrastructure effortlessly.

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