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aws well architected framework loop

Mistakes to Avoid with AWS Well-Architected Framework

Understandably, AWS does require a high amount of specialized knowledge to work with. It is a highly technical platform and cloud computing is still a relatively new field of work and study. It is incredibly easy to make mistakes from both a business perspective and a technical perspective and could result in falling short of operational goals, superfluous designs, poor optimization, and vulnerabilities.

Reliability is Key

The point of abiding by the Well-Architected Framework (WAF) is to make an AWS environment more cost-effective, capable of dealing with the peaks and troughs of traffic, adjusting to new security needs, and summarily being able to recover from unpredictable shortcomings.  Even if they are not centered specifically around physically working in the environment, these factors do need to be taken into full consideration.  Check out our best practices page for more information on the pillars of WAF and the objectives that they outline for developers.

well-architected aws

Leaving Out Stakeholder Involvement

As menial as it might sound, all teams that might be even remotely involved should be keyed in on design aspects.  This includes the developers, operations, security, and business leaders.  From buy-in to launch, the end goals will dictate all of the design aspects and how those specific objectives will be dictated, and not giving all team members the whole picture could result in a lack of proper direction.  Obviously, poor coordination between all involved parties and no overall vision would be detrimental to the development of a project.

 

Lack of Understanding the Business Needs

In tangent with the previous topic, another point of contention in regard to designing a well-architected environment is not understanding what business objectives need to be reached and how they align with the design aspects of the architecture.  Especially relating to the development team, members need to understand what the goals are and what needs to be built to accomplish those goals.  Too much time spent in the dark on how certain objectives are approached could result in the construction of functionality that either does not optimally reach those goals or accomplishes ends that are completely irrelevant to the established objectives.

aws well architected framework pillars

Failing to Regularly Review and Update

Unfortunately, establishing an AWS environment is not a one-and-done activity.  While most basic functions can be automated, the environment will still need regular maintenance and inspections to ensure that it continues to meet compliance requirements and other pillars of best practices.  Leaving software unattended can result in a lack of proper updates and vulnerabilities to steadily crop up until issues exponentially compound.  Even with these functions automated, it should still be considered a priority to verify the updates have not negatively impacted the environment.

 

Using Automation Fully

AWS’s key feature is the automation of certain menial maintenance tasks to allow developers to more closely focus on innovating with new features and design aspects.  Additionally, automating when and how an application scales can help deal with an influx of customers, allowing the environment to keep its stability and save on funds spent having instances active.  Not utilizing automation can also lead to errors, such as making copies of data across different environments in multiple availability zones.

 

Cost Optimization and Security

While saving on unnecessary resources is a big draw for AWS, it should not compromise the need for performance or security.  Reliability and security can easily encompass half of the pillars of a well-architected framework and are necessary components to meet these standards.  Counterwise, environments should not burn holes into the monthly bill unnecessarily.  This is just a balance that developers will need to discover on their own as the balance does vary on a case-to-case basis depending on the business model being applied.

Maintaining Each Pillar

Because of how disastrous these mistakes can be, it is highly recommended that developers search out a third party that can help verify that their environment meets the best practices and standards set out by the WAF pillars.  Since we at AllCode are AWS Select Certified, our services also include a full review of an environment to ensure that it continues to meet these outlined standards.  For more information on this matter, feel free to look at our offering on the AWS Marketplace.

Dolan Cleary

Dolan Cleary

I am a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin - Stout and am now working with AllCode as a web technician. Currently working within the marketing department.

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