AWS Well-Architected Review: What it is, and why it matters

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) rolls out updates and features at a sometimes dizzying rate. So given the constant influx of changes, how do you really know if you’re getting the most out of your workloads and that you’re also set up for future success?

The answer is a Well-Architected Review (WAR).

The AWS WAR provides your organization a framework to evaluate modern technologies and services that will improve the future versions of your workloads. It does this by reviewing an existing AWS workload against the five pillars of the WAR framework:

  1. Operational excellence: The ability to run and monitor systems to deliver business value and to continually improve supporting processes and procedures
  2. Security: The ability to protect information systems and assets while delivering business value through risk assessments and mitigation strategies
  3. Reliability: The ability of a system to recover from infrastructure or service failures, dynamically acquire computing resources to meet demand, and mitigate disruptions such as misconfigurations or transient network issues
  4. Performance efficiency: The ability to use computing resources efficiently to meet system requirements, and to maintain that efficiency as demand changes and technologies evolve
  5. Cost optimization: The ability to avoid or eliminate unneeded costs or suboptimal resources

The WAR approaches each of these pillars with a series of interview questions designed to identify if AWS best practices are being followed for the architecture of each pillar.

Why the AWS WAR is important

The AWS WAR framework allows your solution architects to take a lifecycle approach to managing your AWS workload.

For example, it verifies the current state of the AWS workload, determines if all the best practices are currently in place, and validates that the cost of the workload is optimal. At the same time, the WAR can identify recommendations and potential improvements to your AWS workload and prepare architects to leverage new AWS services and technologies over time.

The AWS WAR helps you understand the pros and cons of decisions you make while building systems on AWS. Other benefits include:

  • Insights and advice on how to apply the AWS Design principles to improve the AWS workload over time
  • The ability to envision and plan a future state workload that has the highest level of security and reliability, and is optimized for performance and at a predictable cost
  • The ability to make informed decisions about your architectures in a cloud-native way, and to understand the impact of design decisions
  • Significant funding for each submitted and approved AWS workload in the way of usage credits; there are additional AWS-sponsored funding programs that can also be leveraged to improve your AWS workload

Every time you perform a WAR, you have the opportunity to improve your applications better by using cloud services. The recommendations from a reviewed workload often produce a more reliable, secure, and resilient workload that’s running with reduced cost. And they enable you to improve your AWS workload over time.

Contact your SHI account executive to schedule an AWS Well-Architected Review.