I managed thousands of partners from independent software vendors (ISVs) to system integrators (SIs) during my tenure at Amazon Web Services (AWS). Partners that consistently experienced success were the ones that embraced the AWS Well-Architected Framework. Following the Well-Architected Framework is a team sport that requires multiple stakeholders to contribute and cooperate.

In this blog post, I give a brief overview of the AWS Well-Architected Framework, share why it is important to AWS partners, demonstrate how MontyCloud helps organizations adhere to the Framework, and provide a walk-through of using MontyCloud DAY2™ to automate and simplify an AWS Well-Architected Framework review.

A Brief Overview of the AWS Well-Architected Framework

Designing and evaluating environments requires time and AWS expertise. AWS offers over 200 fully featured services with 100s of configuration options. It is easy to see how infrastructure can quickly become complex. The AWS Well-Architected Framework (WAF) is a collection of best practices that guides organizations on evaluating and improving the design, implementation, and operations of their cloud environments. WAF is comprised of Six Pillars: Operations Excellence, Security, Reliability, Performance Efficiency, Cost Optimization, and Sustainability. The key concepts of each pillar guide organizations and help them implement elastic infrastructure with guardrails to optimize costs and performance, maintain secure and compliant infrastructure, and reduce carbon footprints.

AWS Well-Architected Framework Reviews (WAFR) are designed to help organizations evaluate workloads against WAF. Reviews consist of approximately 60 questions mapped to the six WAF Pillars. The reviews can identify High Risk Issues (HRIs) that require organizations to dedicate experienced AWS resources to remediate. These reviews can be time intensive as organizations collect evidence, review findings, and remediate issues. While I was at AWS, I saw ISVs take weeks to collect evidence before conducting a review with AWS Solutions Architects. It could take months to remediate the findings as engineering teams adjusted roadmap priorities.

MontyCloud recommends that organizations conduct an annual baseline assessment for all cloud workloads and a review every 6 months for all workloads designated as having a critical or high business impact. Additionally, it is a best practice to conduct a review each time the underlying infrastructure of a critical or high business impact workload changes significantly such as architectural changes or implementing new AWS services.

Importance and Benefits of the AWS Well-Architected Framework for AWS Partners

During re:Invent 2022, the AWS Partner Network (APN) shared that it has more than 100,000 partners in over 150 countries. The AWS Well-Architected Framework provides a foundation for AWS partners to build differentiated practices to meet the dynamic needs of their customers and trust with AWS teams. Partners should not expect to participate in AWS go-to-market programs without first demonstrating expertise with the framework.

Adherence to the Framework is foundational for AWS ISV partners. ISVs follow the Framework to design elastic infrastructure that enables them to quickly scale as they grow. Elastic infrastructure provides security, compliance, and cost benefits so ISVs can focus on innovating for their customers. For partnerships with AWS, AWS requires ISVs to conduct a Well-Architected Framework Review as part of the Foundational Technical Review (FTR). ISVs cannot participate in programs without passing the FTR. An ISV’s familiarity with WAF accelerates Innovation Sandbox requests as AWS reviews proposed architectures and development plans before granting AWS credits.

Additionally, AWS customers can see which partners passed Foundational Technical Reviews in the AWS Partner Finder. In my first few months with MontyCloud, both partners and enterprise customers have asked me to show that MontyCloud passed the review. WAF found its way into customer buying cycles as customers expect to see that ISVs are meeting best practices before conducting proof of concepts (POCs).

For SIs, Well-Architected Framework expertise builds trust with customers and helps identify customer projects. The ability to create and remediate customer environments that are following AWS best practices leads to opportunities such as migrations, application refactoring, data modernization, compliance projects, security implementations, and more. Approximately 62% of AWS Migration Competency partners are part of the AWS Well-Architected Partner Program. The ability to show Well-Architected expertise helps win projects and accelerates funding claims from programs such as the Migration Acceleration Program (MAP). Partners with Well-Architected Partner Program designations demonstrate technical expertise and customer success identifying and remediating HRIs.

How MontyCloud helps organizations adhere to the AWS Well-Architected Framework

MontyCloud’s automated approach upskills organizations with limited AWS experience and enables them to operate as a cloud expert. With MontyCloud DAY2™, organizations enable self-service consumption, standardize deployments, optimize cloud costs, deliver granular governance, reduce security and compliance issues, and automate incident management following guidance from the AWS Well-Architected Framework.

For the AWS Well-Architected Framework Review, MontyCloud users evaluate and remediate their environments against the Six Pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework, launch Well-Architected Blueprints, and set up guardrails and notifications to help maintain a Well-Architected environment. MontyCloud DAY2™ automatically maps checks to any number of resources in a selected environment and pinpoint issues. Over 70% of the questions in a review can be supported with instantaneous, automated checks from MontyCloud DAY2™ that provide a pass/fail recommendation. Early adopters are already sharing that MontyCloud is already leading to over 50%-time savings conducting reviews with more automation being released throughout the next year.

Customers and partners must scan their workloads for the configuration and condition of their resources to meet WAF. Determining the specific workload resources to conduct a WAFR against is a time-consuming process as workloads can span within the same or multiple AWS accounts. Without automation, determining the current state of resources present can be laborious and error-prone. Manual scanning can take weeks and resources may be dynamically modified because of ongoing deployments. MontyCloud’s Projects and Managed Environments make it easy to perform a WAFR on only required environments in a few clicks

After an issue is identified in a WAFR, organizations might take weeks to dedicate resources to complete remediations. Customers and Partners often switch between AWS accounts and regions using the AWS Console or CLI, and they must take their time to obtain the necessary access to the resources and to carry out tasks. With MontyCloud, a quick evaluation of the condition of all resources across target workloads can be completed in a matter of minutes. With the use of built-in No-Code remediation playbooks, findings can be fixed with a few clicks.

The AWS Well-Architected Framework Review with MontyCloud

In 15 minutes, organizations can connect their AWS accounts to MontyCloud DAY2™ and begin an AWS Well-Architected Framework Review. To start an AWS Well-Architected Framework Review, DAY2™ users select AWS accounts or MontyCloud Projects to scope the review. MontyCloud’s automated checks collect evidence and map to corresponding WAFR questions. Currently, there are over 430 automated checks spanning 55+ AWS services to deterministically verify 100s of configuration options for adherence to WAFR. The MontyCloud team is rolling out additional checks to continue automating more of the Well-Architected Framework Review to reduce the number of items requiring self-service assessment.

 

 

The team conducting the review can take the evidence to answer WAFR questions and add relevant notes. Once the review is complete, a report can be generated in PDF format to share with key stakeholders. Additionally, the report can be exported as a CSV file that provides a granular list of all resources and their corresponding insights, making it easy for Operations teams to review and approve actions. Finally, the report can be published to the AWS WA Tool for further review and record keeping.

 

 

During or after the review, teams can remediate the findings rapidly using targeted play books in the MontyCloud DAY2™ Tasks Library, without writing code. The purpose-built remediation tasks significantly reduce the time and effort needed to remediate WAFR findings, without the need for specialized cloud talent.

 

Conduct an AWS Well-Architected Review with MontyCloud

Achieving and maintaining infrastructure that follows the AWS Well-Architected Framework is an achievement because it provides benefits to organizations and their customers. The Framework helps optimize performance and costs, secure resources, and limits environmental impact.

We invite you to try MontyCloud DAY2™ and conduct an AWS Well-Architected Framework Review for free here. If you have questions on how your team can simplify and optimize Cloud Operations without specialized talent, contact us. Our team is always here to help.

 

About the Author: Mitchell Ivanicki

Mitchell Ivanicki
Mitch Ivanicki is the Director of Strategic Alliances at MontyCloud. Mitch's focus is on building bi-directional partnerships through cloud solutions. In his free time, Mitch enjoys long walks, traveling, and painting.
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