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This chapter is from the book

The Well-Architected Framework

Several years ago, AWS introduced documentation called the Well-Architected Framework to help customers plan properly when moving to the AWS cloud. The goal was to give guidance for cloud architects to build secure, resilient, and decent performing infrastructure to host their applications following recognized best practices that have been developed over time by the experience of many AWS customers. Each best practice still must be evaluated as to whether it meets your criteria. A best practice should not be blindly adopted without understanding why it has achieved a best practice designation.

The documentation for the well-architected framework also has many key questions to ponder that can be found in the well-architected framework blueprint. It is useful to discuss these questions out loud with other technical folks in your company; they will help you make key decisions about your infrastructure and applications hosted at AWS. The framework documentation can be found here: https://d1.awsstatic.com/whitepapers/architecture/AWS_Well-Architected_Framework.pdf. Each application to be deployed at AWS needs to be viewed through the lens of being well architected following these five principles:

Operational excellence—How best to execute, deploy, and monitor applications running at AWS using automated deployment monitoring procedures, continuous improvement, and automated solutions for recovering from failures. Key AWS services to utilize include CloudWatch events and alarms, CloudTrail, EC2 Auto Scaling, AWS Config, and the Trusted Advisor. Check out Chapters 5, 7, and 8. Operational excellence questions to consider include these:

  • How are disruptions to applications handled? Manually, or automatically?

  • How can you analyze the ongoing health of your applications and infrastructure components hosted at AWS?

Security—How to best design systems that will operate reliably and securely while protecting customer information and data records. Key AWS services to utilize include IAM, AWS Organizations, CloudWatch logs, CloudTrail events, S3 and S3 Glacier, and VPC flow logs. Check out Chapters 3, 6, and 7. Security questions to consider include these:

  • How are security credentials and authentication managed at AWS?

  • How are automated procedures secured?

Reliability—How can systems and applications hosted at AWS recover from disruption with minimal downtime? How can applications meet your escalating demands? Key AWS services to utilize include ELB, EC2 Auto Scaling, and CloudWatch alarms. Check out Chapter 5. Reliability questions to consider include these:

  • How do you monitor resources hosted at AWS?

  • How do applications hosted at AWS adapt to changes in demand by end users?

Performance efficiency—How to use compute resources to meet and maintain your application requirements on an ongoing basis. Should your compute solution change from EC2 instances to containers or serviceless? Key services include EC2 Auto Scaling, EBS volumes, and RDS. Check out Chapters 4 and 6. Performance efficiency questions to consider include these:

  • Why did you select your database?

  • Why did you select your current compute infrastructure?

Cost Optimization—How to design systems that meet your needs at the cheapest price point. Key AWS services include Cost Explorer, Budgets, EC2 Auto Scaling, Trusted Advisor, and the Simple Monthly Calculator. Check out Chapters 2, 5, and 7. Cost optimization questions to consider are as follows:

  • How do you oversee usage and cost?

  • How do you meet cost targets?

  • Are you aware of current data transfer charges based on your AWS designs?

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