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Cloud optimization is one of the hottest topics in today’s era. With more and more companies adopting cloud computing, cloud optimization has become an absolute necessity to stay ahead in the game and enjoy a sustained competitive advantage. A sizable chunk of the IT budget is spent on cloud providers like Amazon Web Services. According to a survey, 82% of companies listed cloud spend management as their biggest challenge. Needless to say, AWS cost optimization has evolved into a completely new discipline with its own tools, models, and practices.

A game-changer in the area of AWS cost optimization is the AWS well-architected review framework.

Let us understand what the AWS well-architected review framework is and how it can leapfrog your AWS cost optimization strategies in this article.

What is AWS Well-Architected Review?

AWS Well-Architected Reviews are a set of best practices and guidelines provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help businesses build reliable, secure, efficient, and cost-effective systems in the cloud. These reviews offer a comprehensive overview of the AWS infrastructure that can ensure that your systems align with best practices, which in turn can offer the best cloud cost savings for your AWS infrastructure. Both AWS architects and developers alike can remarkably improve their operations and AWS infrastructure by utilizing these reviews. 

The AWS Well-Architected Review Framework consists of six pillars:

  • Operational Excellence
  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Performance Efficiency
  • Cost Optimization
  • Sustainability

Let us deep dive into each of the above 6 pillars and understand how you can achieve operational proficiency with your AWS FinOps strategy. 

1. Operational Excellence Pillar

The first of the 6 pillars relates to governance issues and is called the operational excellence pillar. One of the most critical pillars is the ability to run workloads effectively while gaining operational insights, and continuously improving processes and procedures to deliver business value. The processes should thus align with the desired business outcomes and provide an approach to create scalable architectures. The pillar also ensures that the AWS infrastructure can manage changes, respond to events, and automate standard tasks. AWS recommends the following design principles to attain operational excellence:

  • Perform operations as code
  • Make frequent, small, reversible changes
  • Refine operations procedures frequently
  • Anticipate failure
  • Learn from all operational failures

 2. Security Pillar

The Security pillar of AWS Well-Architected Review pertains to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your data and applications in the cloud. A multi-faceted strategy involving network security, access management, data encryption, and threat detection and response is generally helpful in this regard. 

Another key aspect is Identity and Access Management (IAM), which basically controls who has access to the AWS resources and what actions they can perform. Businesses can avail a number of tools and services to enhance their network security such as Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Security Groups, and Network Access Control Lists (NACLs). 

AWS recommends the following seven design principles for strengthening your security pillar:

  • Implement a strong identity foundation
  • Enable traceability
  • Apply security at all layers
  • Automate security best practices
  • Protect data in transit and at rest
  • Keep people away from data
  • Prepare for security events

3. Reliability pillar

To ensure that your AWS infrastructure performs its intended functions consistently is crucial for success in the cloud. Availability, building fault-tolerant systems, automated backups, performance monitoring, failure recovery etc. are a few of AWS’s recommendations.

To achieve availability, which is critical in building reliable systems, AWS offers a range of tools and services including Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), Auto Scaling, and Multi-AZ databases etc.

Again, for data recovery, AWS offers Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, and AWS Backup etc., using which businesses can automatically backup their data and applications to secure, durable storage, for recovery later in case the systems fail.

4. Performance Efficiency pillar

The performance efficiency pillar recommends using resources efficiently in order to optimize cloud cost savings and the performance of your AWS infrastructure. Recommendations include selecting the right instance types, optimizing storage and database performance, and using caching and content delivery networks (CDNs) to improve application performance.

Businesses should be able to automatically scale resources up or down based on demand, reduce idle capacity, and optimize database performance. Tools and services offered by AWS in this regard are EC2 Auto Scaling, AWS Lambda, and Amazon RDS. Optimization is also key to building an efficient cloud system. Tools and services such as AWS Trusted Advisor, AWS Cost Explorer, and AWS Budgets etc., can help businesses achieve that.

There are five principles of best practices, in order to achieve performance efficiency:

  • Democratize advanced technologies
  • Go global in minutes
  • Use serverless architectures
  •  Experiment more often
  • Consider mechanical sympathy

5. Cost optimization pillar

The AWS Well-Architected Framework (WAF) cost optimization pillar provides guidance for reducing the costs of your cloud-based systems and improving ROI. Cost optimization involves reducing waste and improving system efficiencies.
AWS recommends the following principles for effective cloud cost savings:

AWS recommends a range of best practices, including selecting the right pricing models, optimizing resource utilization, and implementing cost-saving measures, etc.

AWS offers a range of tools and services that can help businesses reduce their costs, including EC2 Spot Instances, Reserved Instances, and Savings Plans. Other tools like AWS Trusted Advisor, AWS Cost Explorer, and AWS Budgets allow businesses to monitor their usage and costs, identify areas for optimization, and implement AWS cost-saving strategies and measures to improve ROI.

6. Sustainability pillar

The Sustainability pillar of the AWS Well-Architected review Framework enables businesses to consider the broader environmental impact of the AWS operations and how businesses can make a positive impact on the environment, economy, and society. Reducing the carbon footprint is the key goal under this last pillar which also means operating in a wise and efficient manner, ultimately reducing costs.

Environmental sustainability is a shared goal between AWS and businesses. The sustainability of the cloud is the responsibility of AWS, which offers effective, shared AWS infrastructure, water management, and renewable energy sources, to name a few. To enable the same, AWS provides the AWS sustainability dashboard.

There are six design principles for sustainability in the cloud: 

  • Understand your impact
  • Establish sustainability goals
  • Maximize utilization
  • Anticipate and adopt new, more efficient hardware and software offerings
  • Use managed services
  •  Reduce the downstream impact of your cloud workloads

Get a FREE AWS Well-Architected Review

AWS Well-Architected Review Framework is certainly a stepping stone for establishing consistent practices that mitigate risks and enhance the cloud ROI. It should be considered a key aspect of your FinOps strategy. Businesses can opt for doing a review themselves, however considering the complex nature of the underlying technologies of AWS, a certified AWS well-architected partner like CloudKeeper can ease the process and help you set up an efficient AWS system rapidly.

CloudKeeper is a certified AWS Well-Architected Partner and ranked among the Top 5 Partners globally. Our team of AWS experts has successfully conducted over 400 successful AWS Well-Architected reviews.

Claim your FREE AWS Well-Architected Review today and unlock the full potential of AWS architecture with CloudKeeper.

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