Well Architected Reviews deliver three major benefits

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AWS Well-Architected Reviews deliver three major benefits

As an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Advanced Consulting and Solution Provider Partner, we are introduced to a growing number of organisations that are looking to get more from their commitment to the AWS Cloud.

For more than a decade, CirrusHQ has been trusted by AWS to undertake well-architected reviews (WAR) to deliver a range of benefits to clients, ensuring they are more efficient and effective with their applications. We have a particular specialism in helping education establishments, as one of the few AWS Partners certified to do so.

Having conducted more than a 100 well-architected reviews, we have assessed what top three issues our clients have used these reviews to address and will detail them for you.

Before we look at the top three benefits you are likely to achieve following a WAR, we’ll look at why you might consider now is the right time to get started.

Firstly, AWS recommends you conduct a WAR every 12-18 months, to evaluate your AWS architectures and quickly identify potential issues with your environment. We will recommend ways to resolve issues found, with AWS providing up to $5,000 credit towards our cost for undertaking agreed remediation work to ensure architectural best practices are followed across five key areas.

  • Operational excellence
  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Performance efficiency
  • Cost optimisation

Each of these five key areas or pillars include a number of unique design principles and as you might imagine, give rise to the top three benefits when we have remediated the issues found during the WAR process. Now we’ll look at those benefits in more detail and in their order of importance, according to client feedback, starting with cost optimisation.

Cost optimisation or is it spend reduction?

We understand that many organisations adopt an AWS cloud-based infrastructure to achieve flexibility and efficiency, whilst cutting costs, with the ability to scale up or down rapidly. But few, if any of these outcomes will be achieved without effective cloud cost optimisation.

The issue for many organisations is that once they rely on AWS to deliver what they need, their focus will typically shift back to innovation, growth and performance. Costs are not often apparent throughout an organisation, so one team may start using an AWS service, without appreciating the full cost of that decision.

The team might miss part of the cost, with data transfer a common element forgotten about and often the only way customers become aware of what can be a significant cost increase, is when the monthly bill arrives.

Cost optimisation, or spend reduction as we prefer to refer to it, is a continual process of refinement and improvement over a workload’s lifecycle. It’s important to build and operate cost-aware workloads that achieve the business outcomes you need, whilst minimising your monthly AWS spend.
It sounds counterintuitive, but AWS want relationships that deliver long term mutually beneficial outcomes that allow you to maximize your return on investment, not for you to be surprised by a few unexpectedly high monthly bills that ruin your experience.

To ensure you are paying the minimum monthly bill, whilst achieving the performance you need, there are five design principles to consider, when trying to achieve the optimal cost for the AWS Cloud you need.

The importance of Cloud Financial Management

Cost optimisation is not all about cutting costs. What AWS is aiming for is a balance between technology and finance, so one does not take precedence at the expense of the other. Spending has to be tied to effective outcomes that drive performance across the organisation, with decision makers aware of the costs involved.

According to AWS, this balancing of the equation is best addressed through Cloud Financial Management (CFM), which is an important part of the cost optimisation pillar and the best way of becoming a more cost-efficient organisation.

Once an organisation is more efficient and balancing technology against finance, the benefits will be widely recognised internally and undoubtedly drive innovation and growth thanks to the ability to build faster and scale more easily.

There are a number of services to help organisations manage Cloud costs, but often it is easier to turn to a trusted AWS partner, such as CirrusHQ, that has years of experience using Cost Explorer, AWS Budgets, AWS Cost and Usage Report (CUR), Reserved Instances Recommendation and Reporting and EC2 Rightsizing Recommendations.

Whether we evaluate and implement your cloud financial management practices for you, or you choose to undertake the work yourself, cost savings are within reach and you will realise increased business value through better resilience, improved productivity and greater agility.

Adopting a consumption model

It sounds obvious, but paying only for the computing resources you consume, whilst increasing or decreasing usage as your business needs change, is guaranteed to optimise your monthly spend. If your development or test environments are only being used infrequently throughout the week, halt these resources when not being utilised for a significant potential cost saving.

Measuring overall efficiency

You have to measure the business output of your workloads and accurately record the costs associated with their delivery. It is this information that will highlight the gains realised by increasing output, increasing functionality and reducing costs.

Make your Cloud simple

To achieve continued success, you must focus on improving your business and delivering a better service to your customers, rather than expending any more valuable time and effort on further developing your own IT infrastructure.
You can let AWS handle all the necessary data centre operations and choose a managed service provider, such as CirrusHQ, to look after your operating systems and applications. This approach ensures you achieve the simplified Cloud you need to support your activities and allows you to concentrate on your core activities, whether it’s providing legal advice, distance learning or manufacturing automotive components.

Understanding and owning costs

A well-architected Cloud makes it easier for you to understand your costs associated with different usage of workloads. Once you know which areas of your business own which costs, you can measure more accurately your return on investment for each one. You also have the numbers to ensure your workload owners work hard to optimise both their resources and their costs.
Tracking resources over their lifecycle will allow you to identify those that are no longer being used, or no longer have an owner, which ensures you can safely decommission workload resources that are no longer required, such as resources used for testing.

A trusted AWS partner

In this article we have looked at the number one benefit derived from a well-architected review (WAR), a reduction in spend. In the coming days we’ll look at the second and third most common benefits, an increase in application performance and a reduction in security risks.

And finally, consider just how good it would be to reduce your monthly AWS spend, with a zero-cost WAR, from an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Advanced Consulting and Solution Provider partner, such as CirrusHQ, that has delivered more than a hundred such reviews for clients just like you. Ready to talk?