Well Architecture Framework

5 pillars of Well Architected Framework

  • Not something to balance, or trade-offs, they’re a synergy
    • Help you track your performance and evolve your architecture.
  • 5 pillars summary:
    1. Operational Excellence
      • Description: Run and monitor systems & continually improve supporting processes and procedures
      • Design principles
        • Perform operations as code: Infrastructure as Code
        • Annotate documentation: e.g. auto-document after every build)*
        • Make frequent, small, reversible changes
        • Refine operations procedures frequently: Ensure team members are familiar with it.
        • Anticipate failure: Learn from all operational failures
      • Example AWS Services
        • Selection: Auto Scaling, Lambda, EBS, S3, RDS
        • Review: AWS CloudFormation, AWS News Blog
        • Monitoring: CloudWatch, Lambda
        • Tradeoffs: Amazon RDS (vs Aurora), ElastiCache (read performance but stale), Snowball (a lot of data but takes a week), CloudFront (cache but stale)
    2. Security
      • Description: Protect information, systems, and assets through risk assessments and mitigation strategies
      • Design principles
        • Implement a strong identity foundation: Least privilege, IAM, centralize privilege management, eliminate reliance on long-term credentials
        • Enable traceability: Automatically respond to logs and metrics.
        • Apply security at all layers: Every instance, OS, and app, e.g. VPC, subnet, LB.
        • Automate security best practices: Encryption, tokenization, and access control.
        • Protect data in transit and at rest
        • Keep people away from data: Reduce the need for direct access or manual data processing
        • Prepare for security: Run incident response simulations and use tools with automation to increase your speed for detection, investigation, and recovery
      • Example AWS Services
      • Identity and access management: IAM, AWS-STS, MFA token, AWS Organizations
      • Detective controls: AWS Config, AWS CloudTrail, Amazon CLoudWatch
      • Infrastructure Protection
        • Amazon CloudFront: Defense against DDoS attack
        • Amazon VPC
        • AWS Shield: DDoS protection of AWS account
        • AWS WAF: Web Application Firewall
        • Amazon Inspector: for security of EC2 instance
      • Data protection: KMS, S3 (SSE, SSE-KMS, SSE-C, bucket policies etc.)
        • And other managed services such as Elastic Load Balancing (e.g. only HTTPS), Amazon EBS & RDS (SSL Capability)
      • Incident Response
        • IAM: Delete account or give it zero privilege
        • CloudFormation: If someone deletes entire structure, how to get back?
        • Amazon CloudWatch Events
    3. Reliability
      • Description:
        • Ability of a system to recover from infrastructure or service disruptions
        • Dynamically acquire computing resources to meet demand
        • Mitigate disruptions such as misconfigurations or transient network issues.
      • Design principles
        • Test recovery producers: Use automation to simulate different failures or to recreate scenarios that led to failures before
        • Automatically recover from failure: Anticipate and remediate failures before they occur.
        • Scale horizontally to increase aggregate system availability: Distribute requests across multiple, smaller resources to ensure that they don’t share a common point of failure
        • Stop guessing capacity: Maintain the optimal level to satisfy demand without over or under provisioning, use auto-scaling.
        • Manage change in automation: Use automation to make changes to infrastructure
      • Example AWS Services
        • Foundations
          • IAM: No one has too many rights to damage
          • Amazon VPC
          • Service limits: monitor limits so you don’t get disruption.
          • AWS Trusted Advisor: e.g. look at service limits
        • Change Management: AWS Auto Scaling, Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, AWS Config
        • Failure Management: Backups, AWS CloudFormation (recreate whole infrastructure at once), Amazon S3, Amazon S3 Glacier, Amazon Route 53 (e.g. if application fails you redirect to another application)
    4. Performance
      • Description: Adopt & provide best performance
      • Design principles
        • Democratize advanced technologies (track new services)
        • Go global in minutes (easy multi-region deployment)
        • Use serverless architectures (avoid burden of managing servers)
        • Experiment more often (easy to carry out comparative testing)
        • Mechanical sympathy (be aware of all AWS services)
      • Example AWS Services
        • Prepare: AWS CloudFormation, AWS Config
        • Operate: AWS CloudFormation, AWS Config, AWS CloudTrail, Amazon CloudWatch, AWS X-Ray
        • Evolve: AWS CloudFormation, CI/CD: CodeBuild, CodeCommit, CodeDeploy, CodePipeline
    5. Cost Optimization
      • Description: Can run systems to deliver business value at the lowest price point.
      • Design Principles
        • Adopt a consumption mode: Pay only for what you use
        • Measure overall efficiency: Use CloudWatch
        • Analyze and attribute expenditure: Use tags, Accurate identification of system usage and costs -> helps measure return on investment (ROI)
        • Use managed and application level services to reduce cost of ownership: As managed services operate at cloud scale, they can offer a lower cost per transaction or service
      • Example AWS Services
        • Expenditure awareness: AWS Budgets, AWS Cost and Usage Report, AWS Cost Explorer, Reserved Instance Reporting
        • Cost-effective resources: Spot instance, Reserved instance, Amazon S3 Glacier
        • Matching supply and demand: AWS Auto Scaling, AWS Lambda
        • Optimizing over time: AWS Trusted Advisor, AWS Cost and Usage Report, AWS News Blog

Well Architected Tool

  • Tool
  • Flow:
    1. Define a workload
    2. Do a review
      • Answer questions for each pillar.
      • E.g. for operational excellence
        • Question: How do you determine what your priorities are?
        • Answers: customer needs / compliance requirements / … / none
    3. Optionally generate reports, milestones, improvement plans (with risks, e.g. “understand business needs”).

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