Why do I need a Well-Architected Review?

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In our previous blog, we explained what an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Well Architected Review was and touched on the five key areas the reviews centre on to ensure cloud-based workloads are focused, effective and secure, reflecting current best practice developed by the Cloud architects at AWS. 

Before we consider the five key areas in more detail and what is covered by the review, along with a word or two about the likely benefits, we’ll first look at the reasons you might decide now is the right time to undertake a review. Apart from the fact AWS recommends regular reviews.

Typically, the reasons for recognising a review is needed fall into a few categories, but most organisations find the need is driven by challenges within their business, linked to the fact their AWS environment is changing constantly. And not always by design.

Keeping up with an ever-changing cloud environment

If you have reached this point and you are wondering why you should consider a Well-Architected Review, a few of the questions you need to ask yourselves, will demonstrate whether you’re ready or not. Of course the first question is, have you yet undertaken a review?

Also, when your developers or engineers spin up and down new databases or instances, change security groups, and test or experiment with new AWS services, how do you ensure your cloud doesn’t mutate into something you never intended it to be? 

Firstly, AWS recommends you conduct a Well-Architected Review every 12-18 months yourself, or engage an AWS certified Well-Architected Partner, such as CirrusHQ to do it for you – for free!

The Well-Architected Review is a systematic approach to evaluating AWS architectures and is designed to quickly identify potential issues with your environment and recommend ways to resolve them, supported by up to $5,000 credit from AWS, towards the cost of remediation. Which is how we get paid.

Next, is your workload set for operational excellence? Are you running and monitoring systems to deliver business value? Are you continually improving your operational processes and procedures, including automating changes, responding to events, whilst defining standards to manage daily activities?

Security is the new focus

In the past, the main focus for reviews was cost-optimisation, but with the ever-growing threat faced by any organisation connected to the internet, security and business continuity have become the new driving force to ensure cloud environments are optimised and secure.  

Considering the security position of the cloud environment or the workloads, raises questions about how you are protecting information and systems, including confidentiality and integrity of data. It’s also critical to identify and manage who can do what through privilege management, whilst protecting systems and establishing controls to detect security events.

Is your workload or environment reliable? Are you ensuring a workload performs its intended function correctly and consistently when expected to? It’s easy for reliability to be compromised as systems grow and change; if left unchecked this can become a real problem.

The Well-Architected Review will identify issues to provide resilient workloads that quickly recover from failure to meet business and customer demand, including distributed system design, recovery planning, and how to handle change.

How do you measure performance efficiency? Are you using IT and computing resources efficiently including selecting the right resource types and sizes based on workload requirements, monitoring performance, and making informed decisions to maintain efficiency as the needs of your business evolve? 

When you have answers to all the questions above, you are likely to decide that unless you have undertaken an AWS Well-Architected Review in the last few months yourselves, then now is a good time to get started.

As you consider who to choose to help you achieve the right results and best outcomes from your Well-Architected Review , remember, CirrusHQ is a highly certified AWS Advanced Consulting and Solution Provider Partner, that has been through the process countless times before.