AWS Well-Architected Review FAQ

Read our AWS Well-Architected Review FAQ to learn more about the AWS Well-Architected Framework and how AWS Well-Architected Reviews are delivered.

Amazon Web Services have created a set of best practices for running systems in the cloud, which they call the AWS Well-Architected Framework.  A Well-Architected Review is a high-level check of a critical workload against the framework.

The review is carried out by a DevOpsGroup consultant who will work through a set of structured questions to establish alignment with AWS’s recommended best-practice. The questions are aligned to the five pillars of the Well-Architected Framework:

  • Operational Excellence – delivering business value through continual improvement of processes and procedures.
  • Security – protecting information and systems with proven methods such as privilege management, data confidentiality and risk assessment.
  • Reliability – having the ability to prevent, and the resilience to recover from, system failures and disruptions.
  • Performance Efficiency – taking steps to ensure compute resources are used in the most efficient way as demands change and technologies advance.
  • Cost Optimisation – analysing spend and avoiding unnecessary costs to maintain value as the system scales to meet evolving business needs.

The review itself typically takes two to three hours to complete.  You should allow a further two hours to discuss the results and the recommendations.

If we’re completing the review with you in-person and on-site we usually like to arrange these sessions at the start and end of the day respectively.  We’ll spend the time between preparing the recommendations and any supporting detail.  For reviews completed remotely, or if you can’t support this for any reason, there’s no strict requirement to complete both sessions on the same day so we can be flexible.

To get the most value from a Well-Architected Review, it is important that all parties that have involvement with the workload can join the review so that we can discuss appropriate options.  We recommend the presence of at least one person for each key area.

For a typical workload, this would usually involve the following roles:

  • Infrastructure Engineer(s)
  • DBA(s)
  • DevOps Engineer(s)
  • Developer(s)
  • Support Team representation
  • Security Team representation

Yes. We can run a Well-Architected Review remotely.  We use Zoom for video calling so you’ll need a laptop with the Zoom client installed.  We prefer not to run remote reviews with dial-in or ‘audio-only’ conferencing so please ensure you have a headset, webcam and a good internet connection.

Ahead of the review we like to arrange a 30-minute preparatory call to confirm the scope of the workload and talk through the pre-requisites.  For the review itself, we will ask you to prepare or bring the following:

  • Any existing documentation on the design of this workload, including architecture diagrams
  • Access to the AWS account in which the workload resides
    • read only access to the account
    • full access to the Well-Architected Review service within the console
    • a template IAM policy can be provided to support this
  • For onsite reviews, we require a meeting room with:
    • a projector/screen and an HDMI connection
    • a whiteboard or large wall space for mounting magic whiteboard
  • For remote reviews, we will set up a Zoom room and all attendees will require:
    • a laptop with the Zoom client installed and a good internet connection
    • a good quality headset and functioning webcam

You can carry out as many reviews as you have distinct workloads, and we recommend that the review for each workload is re-visited every three to six months.  There is no limit on how many improvement funding nominations can be requested, but you can only request funding once for each distinct workload.

A Well-Architected Review is free of charge.

AWS is a rapidly evolving platform; new features are frequently released to improve critical factors like security, costs and efficiency. However, the sheer volume of updates coupled with the scale of cloud infrastructures makes it difficult to keep pace.

This prevents you from unlocking the full potential of modern cloud environments. Over time, it risks compromising performance and efficiency, leading to competitive disadvantage and business vulnerability.

Evaluating your systems versus proven best practice is an effective way to address this. Well-Architected Reviews offer clarity and focus in an ever-changing environment, enabling priority areas to be identified and addressed.

The main benefits of a Well-Architected Review are:

  • Optimise Workloads – identify opportunities to optimise and re-architect workloads to run more efficiently, reliably and cost-effectively
  • Mitigate Risks – lower or mitigate risks through better understanding as you build or optimise your current architectures.
  • Accelerate & Invent – discover new services that help you build and deploy workloads and respond faster to opportunities to invent

The Well-Architected Review is based on AWS best practices.  “Remediation” refers to improving your workload based on DevOpsGroup’s recommendations aligned with AWS best-practice.

After the review is done, we allocate two hours to review the results and provide the advice you need to prioritise tasks for improvement.

We recommend running a Well-Architected Review every three to six months for each distinct workload.  This will allow you to see the improvements, comparing the new review outcomes against the first review, and assess the current status of the workload against evolving best practice.

When scheduling the review, we need to notify AWS and provide them with the Account ID for your nominated workload.

To proceed with the review, we require access to the Well-Architected Review service within your AWS account console.  AWS now manage the Well-Architected Review process through the account portal so in order for us to complete the questions and submit these to AWS (and for you to qualify for remediation funding) we must submit these responses on your behalf through your AWS account.

DevOpsGroup can provide template IAM user credentials to allow us to securely review your AWS workloads.  Further details on the required IAM role are provided by AWS here.

AWS are currently offering service credits of up to $5k if you start remediation work within 30 days of a Well-Architected Review.  The credits will be applied to the account against which the review was completed.

DevOpsGroup need to notify AWS that work has started and provide a statement of work that details the remediation work being completed; and you must also complete AWS’s customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey.  Usage of credits needs to adhere to AWS’s terms and conditions.

You can find lots more information about the Well-Architected Framework, including the main whitepaper and articles and videos on each of the pillars, on AWS’s website here.

Or get in touch by phone or email if you have any questions regarding a DevOpsGroup Well-Architected Review (0800 368 7378 or waf@devopsgroup.com).

To arrange your review just get in touch by phone or email:

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