AWS Well Architected Framework Updates

Post • 3 min read
A little over a year after AWS published the Well Architected Framework, it has had its first update. The Well Architected Framework was developed from AWS’s experiences helping organisations architect, test, develop and deploy into AWS. It allows you to asses how well your architecture is aligned with AWS Best Practices in addition to better understanding the impact of your design decisions. Unsurprisingly, there are no shortage of boot camps and sessions focusing on the Well Architected Framework at AWS re:Invent 2016, so we have taken a look at the changes that have been made.

Changes to the Well Architected Framework

The most notable change is that the number of pillars that the framework is based on has increased from four to five. Security, Reliability, Performance Efficiency & Cost Optimisation are joined by the all new Operational Excellence pillar. Operational Excellence focuses on an organisations ability to deliver business value. By collecting the metrics which align to business objectives, or continually delivering small changes rather than large batches of changes. As well as improving process and procedures such as:
  • testing for unexpected events
  • learning from operational events and failures
  • ensuring that your processes and documentation is up-to-date.

How to achieve operational excellence 

It splits the best practise areas for Operational Excellence into three:
  1. Preparation - as the old adage goes, fail to prepare: prepare to fail - and the cloud is no different. Do you have your runbooks (which define how your day to day operations should function) and your playbooks (provide guidance on how to respond to operational events) defined, up to date and tested.
  2. Operations - should be automated and thus standardised. Where changes are required they should be small, and more frequent with defined processes to track, audit, review and roll-back change. They should not require downtime and should not require manual intervention.
  3. Responses - to all events, expected or not, should be timely and automated. Not just alerting, but also mitigation, mediation, rollback and recovery. These should be as per the defined run and play books and include automated escalations to ensure the right people understand what's happening at every stage.
The Framework gives guidance for the tools that AWS provide to help you do this as well as the key questions you can ask yourself to evaluate your organisation against best practice. The updates to the AWS Well Architected Framework also included updates to the four existing pillars. Not only enhancing them them to cover operational aspects, such as security incident response but consolidating them, reducing duplications both within and across pillars. Nordcloud architects build and migrate systems to meet the AWS Best Practice Framework. We also provides Best Practice Audits to help you understand how your organisation is aligned to AWS Best Practices. As well as what transformation needs to happen to help you meet best practice. If you would like more information on our Best Practice Audits, we'd be happy to help. Find out more about the well-architected programme offered by Nordcloud here.
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Ilja Summala
Ilja’s passion and tech knowledge help customers transform how they manage infrastructure and develop apps in cloud.
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