For more than a decade, cloud computing has become the established model of IT provisioning for service providers. More and more businesses are transitioning to the cloud, and for those that have already been in the cloud, they are continually looking for ways to do things more efficiently, effectively, and affordably than their competitors. This is where EmergenceTek Group (ETG) comes in.
Using Amazon Web Services (AWS)’s Well Architected Framework, ETG can help address your security, storage, performance, or cost optimization issues your business is facing.
In this article, we’ll cover:
The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Well-Architected Framework is a guideline to help review and improve cloud-based architectures. AWS and their partners use the framework set by Amazon to craft a sturdy foundation for your cloud solutions. The framework includes five pillars which include best practices, including: operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, and cost optimization.
If you neglect the AWS Five Pillars, it can become challenging to build a system that can deliver on your expectations and requirements. The Well-Architected Framework emphasizes learning, measuring, and improving. It provides a consistent approach for you to evaluate architectures, and implement designs that will scale over time.
We’ll break down each pillar and explain how ETG partners with you to optimize your business.
The operational excellence pillar includes how your organization supports your business objectives, your ability to run workloads effectively, gain insight into their operations, and to continuously improve supporting processes and procedures to deliver business value.
Your organization’s leadership defines business objectives. You need to understand your organization’s priorities, your organizational structure, and how your organization supports your team members so that they in turn can support your business outcomes.
If your teams share an understanding of the entire workload and their role in it, you can help set priorities to enable your organization’s success. Provide support for your team members so that they can be more effective in taking action and supporting your business outcomes. Engaged senior leadership should set expectations and measure success.
Use your established priorities to focus your improvement efforts where they will have the greatest impact (for example, developing team skills, improving workload performance, reducing costs, etc.). You should frequently review your organization’s priorities so that they can be updated as needed.
Operations teams should create and use procedures to respond to operational events and ensure their effectiveness to support your business needs. Ops also collect metrics that are used to measure the achievement of desired business outcomes.
EmergenceTek Group follows an agile methodology, and in conjunction with our cloud technology and development experience, we can propose a solution to ensure operational excellence. ETG puts processes in place that will handle small and quick code deployments, which allows for our ops to iteratively build solutions for our clients.
Within the Operational Excellence pillar, EmergenceTek Group offers several services to support your business needs. These include:
This pillar includes the ability to protect data, systems, and utilizing cloud technology assets to improve your security. Security in the cloud is composed of five areas: identity and access management, detection, infrastructure protection, data protection, and incident response.
The requirements and processes that you have defined in operational excellence should be applied to all areas of your business, especially for your security. Before you architect any workload, you need to put best practices in place.
You want to consider and control who can do what in your organizational model. Implement the principle of least privilege and enforce the separation of duties with appropriate authorization for all your employees.
Additionally, you will also want to be able to identify security incidents, protect your systems and services, and maintain the confidentiality and integrity of your and your customer’s data through data protection.
You don’t want to be reactionary when it comes to security threats and risks. You should prepare for an incident by having incident management and investigation policies and processes that align with your organizational requirements. Run incident response simulations and use tools with automation to increase your speed for detection, investigation, and recovery
Having a well-defined and practiced process for responding to security incidents is important because this will help prevent financial loss and help you comply with regulatory obligations, like SOC 2 or HIPAA.
Staying up to date with AWS and ETG’s recommendations and threat intelligence will help you evolve your threat model and control objectives. Automating security processes, as well as our testing and validation, will allow you to scale your security operations.
EmergenceTek Group’s experience managing sensitive healthcare clients is what helps us stand out from the rest. The healthcare industry requires a high standard in security and protection for patient information. Depending on your organizational structure, you may want more or may want less security restriction. Based on our experience, ETG can lay out the perfect plan and propose solutions to match your needs and expectations.
The reliability pillar encompasses the ability of a workload to perform its intended function correctly and consistently when it’s expected to. A reliable workload starts with upfront design decisions for both software and infrastructure. Your architecture choices will impact your workload behavior across all five Well-Architected pillars.
To achieve reliability, you must start with the foundations—that means creating an environment where service quotas and network topology can accommodate the workload. For example, you must have sufficient network bandwidth to your data center. These requirements are sometimes neglected (because they are beyond a single project’s scope). This neglect can have a significant impact on the ability to deliver a reliable system.
For cloud-based workload architectures, there are service quotas (which are also referred to as service limits). These quotas exist to prevent accidentally provisioning more resources than you need. Workloads often exist in multiple environments. These include multiple cloud environments (both publicly accessible and private) and may include your existing data center infrastructure.
You must monitor and manage these quotas for all workload environments. Plans must include network considerations such as intrasystem and intersystem connectivity, public IP address management, private IP address management, and domain name resolution.
It is expected that failures will occur. Reliability requires that your workload be aware of failures as they occur and take action to avoid impact on availability. Workloads must be designed to prevent and mitigate failures. It must also handle changes in demand or requirements, and it must be designed to detect failure and automatically heal itself.
Using AWS, you can monitor the behavior of a workload and automate the response to key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, your workload can add additional servers as a workload gains more users. You can control who has permission to make workload changes and audit the history of these changes.
When you architect a workload to automatically add and remove resources in response to changes in demand, this not only increases reliability but also ensures that business success doesn’t become a burden. With monitoring in place, your team will be automatically alerted when KPIs deviate from expected norms. Enabling automatic logging of changes to your environment allows you to audit and quickly identify actions that might have impacted reliability.
EmergenceTek’s experience with the healthcare industry gives us invaluable experience delivering reliable and secure systems to our clients. Those critical systems providers use well-architected environments to access medical data, so we’ve built solutions to ensure these remain working as needed when they need it. In the event of any failures, we need to make sure there is recovery from that, and we’ve put solutions in place to ensure we can do this.
To support the Reliability Pillar, EmergenceTek Group offers these services to support you:
Performance Efficiency is the ability to use computing resources precisely to meet system requirements and to maintain that efficiency as demand changes and technologies evolve. In other words, this pillar allows you to know about the factors that impact performance and stability of applications when it has an unpredictable load. Just like retailers have more demand during the holidays and sports websites peak during the playoff seasons, you can scale your architecture to account for unpredictable loads.
Depending on your workload, various resource types and sizes can differ to fit your performance requirements. The best way to optimize your architecture is by load and performance testing it. By modeling the expected usage of multiple users accessing the infrastructure concurrently, you can identify bottlenecks or excess capacity.
With a defined test case, it is easy to rerun the same test against different infrastructure setups to figure out what works best for you.
Rerunning of performance tests is part of a review routine to ensure that you continue to have the most appropriate resource type. Approaches change and new technologies develop – use these progressions to refine your architecture and improve its performance.
Performance testing is not a one-time thing. In general, you should start to test early and do it regularly to ensure continued success. Using managed services can save time and monitoring hassle, allowing your team to focus on development, resource provisioning, and management.
AWS resources are available in many types and configurations, which makes it easier to find an approach that closely matches your workload needs. You can also find options that are not easily achievable with on-premises infrastructure.
Serverless architectures remove the need for you to run and maintain physical servers for traditional computing activities. ETG’s experience in serverless architectures helps immensely for performance efficiency, as we have the experience and knowledge that other IT cloud services companies may not have. Utilizing cloud technologies in AWS, we’re able to develop solutions and deploy them in the cloud.
As the name implies, this pillar includes the ability to run systems to deliver business value at the lowest price point. There are trade-offs, just like with any pillar. However, you should optimize your costs without ignoring factors like security, reliability, and performance.
Using the appropriate services, resources, and configurations for your workloads is key to cost savings. The temptation always exists to overcompensate rather than spend time benchmarking for the most cost-optimal deployment. This might lead to over-provisioned and under-optimized deployments.
To optimize costs, you should only pay for the computing resources you consume and increase or decrease usage depending on your business requirements, not with elaborate forecasting. For example, development and test environments are typically only used for eight hours a day during the workweek. If you stop these resources when they’re not in use, you can potentially save up to 75% (40 hours versus 168 hours).
AWS also does the heavy lifting of data center operations like racking, stacking, and powering servers. Additionally, it removes the operational burden of managing operating systems and applications with managed services. The cloud makes it easier to accurately identify the cost and usage of workloads.
By increasing the overall performance efficiency, you can measure your business output of the system and workload, as well as understand the potential gains from increasing output and reducing cost.
Similar to the other pillars, cost optimization is a continual process of refinement and improvement throughout a workload’s life cycle.
ETG has the experience to review everything within an IT infrastructure including development, to ensure applications aren’t being installed that are not needed (i.e. servers built over capacity). EmergenceTek can offer you an analysis of your current setup and look into how cloud services can be used to optimize your cost.
To enable Operational Excellence, you must understand the following:
To enable Security, you must understand the following:
To enable Reliability, you must understand the following:
To enable Performance Efficiency, you must understand the following:
To enable Cost Optimization, you must understand the following:
There are a lot of factors to consider within each of the AWS Five Pillars when constructing architecture in the cloud. It can be a daunting task, but EmergenceTek Group is prepared to help guide you through the process. The first step in figuring out your needs would be to have a Well-Architected Review (WAR) done on your current workloads. The systematic approach can help you identify and fix potential issues with your environment based on the AWS Five Pillars.
During the WAR, we can help you start with just one pillar, or evaluate all five to make sure you’re operating reliable, secure, efficient, and cost-effective solutions in the cloud. ETG can not only get you to the cloud, but we can support you through it with hand-in-hand collaboration until we deliver.
Don’t just take our word for us–come meet us and we can get started on building the best cloud solutions for your business.
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