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Thinking of getting started with AWS cloud computing or migrating your existing workloads to AWS? Here is a quick guide on how the 5 pillars of AWS well-architected framework will help you build a secure, high performing, resilient and efficient cloud infrastructure for your workloads.

So basically, the AWS well-architected framework describes the main design principles, concepts, and the best architectural practices to run your workloads in AWS cloud.

The 5 pillars of AWS well architected framework are:

  1. Operational Excellence
  2. Security
  3. Reliability
  4. Performance Efficiency
  5. Cost optimization

Let’s take a closer look at each of these pillars.


Operational excellence pillar outlines how DevOps / cloud  teams should run and monitor systems to deliver business value and to continually improve supporting processes and procedures in order to deliver business value.

To achieve these objectives,  operational excellence pillar utilizes the following principles:

  • Perform operations as code.

The entire cloud environment can be defined as code. Operations procedures can also be defined as code and updated as code.  This helps in limiting human error and enabling consistency in event response.

  • Making frequent, small and reversible changes.

This makes it easy to determine the cause of a problem if it occurs as compared to making large changes all at once. The reverse changes made should not affect customers – if possible.

  • Refine operations procedures frequently.

Frequently reviewing operations procedures helps the entire team to be familiar with them and participate in areas that can be updated.

  • Anticipate failure. 

In order to ensure future failures are curbed, the team should carry out a pre-mortem exercise to assess where failure could occur.

  • Learn from all operational failures

Sharing with the team past failures helps to derive key lessons to be learnt.


The security pillar focuses on setting mechanisms that protect data, systems and assets.

There are 7 key design principles that help in enhancing security in AWS cloud. These are:

  • Implement a strong identity foundation

Here the principle of least privilege is implemented and separation of duties enforced.

  • Enable traceability

Metrics collection and log integration helps  in investigation and remediation in the event a problem occurs.

  • Apply security at all layers

Ensure security is applied in all aspects of cloud infrastructure; compute, storage, networks etc

  • Automate security best practices

Automation helps to scale easily, quickly and in a secure way in the cloud.

  • Protect data in transit and at rest

Data should always be protected whether in transit or at rest using the appropriate controls. These controls include tokenization, encryption and access control.

  • Keep people away from data

This involves eliminating the need to access data directly or processing data manually. Ultimately the risk of mishandling data, modification or human error is eliminated.

  • Prepare for security events

In case of a security event, ensure there is speedy detection, investigation and recovery through use of automation and response simulations.


A well architected framework outlines mechanisms for any application or system to provide services to users or customers when expected to.

To achieve this the reliability pillar has 5 design principles:

  • Automatically recover from failure

Based on the needs of a business, there may be requirements in place to have recovery control in place and time taken to recover to be very minimal.

  • Test recovery procedures

A successful backup can only be termed as so when restoration can be done successfully.

  • Manage change in automation

In order for change to occur, there should be a proper plan, documentation, testing, approval and a backup plan in case the changes made break the environment.

  • Stop guessing capacity

Use only the capacity needed for production and avoid saturation or over provisioning.

  • Scale horizontally to increase availability

This simply eliminates a single point of failure.

AWS defines availability as a percentage uptime such as 99.9% over a period of time mainly a month or year


The performance efficiency pillar guides the effective use of computing resources to meet system and business requirements. 

The performance efficiency pillar revolves around five design principles:

  • Decentralize advanced technologies

You may want to consider consuming some of the advanced technologies as a service. This helps you to focus on developing the product rather than provisioning resources and managing them.

  • Go global in minutes to ensure ensure services accessed by users are close to them as possible

By leveraging on AWS global footprint, deploy your applications to multiple regions to reduce latency and for better customer experience.

  • Go serverless and leave management of physical servers to cloud providers

Serverless architecture helps you to run code directly without running and maintaining servers used.

  • Experiment more often

Doing experiments more oftenly helps to discover which configuration works best for the business

  • Consider mechanical sympathy

Use an approach that aligns best with your goals from a data-centric perspective.


The cost optimization pillar aims at providing optimum and resilient business solutions at the lowest possible cost to the user. When using cloud services, money is spent on services used. 

There are 5 principles that guide users in cost optimization:

  • adopting a consumption model

This helps to pay only for services used and to scale upwards or downwards based on demand.

  • Always monitor application efficiency

Use tracking metrics to assess business output of the workloads you are running.This will increase efficiency and overall performance.

  • Stop spending money on undifferentiated heavy-lifting

Let AWS do all the heavy lifting of data center operations such as racking and powering of servers. Your main focus should be on customer and business logic.

  • Analyze the attributed expenditure using a tagging method

For accurate return on investment calculations, AWS cloud makes it easy to identify the cost and usage of workloads attributed to specific departments.

  • Implement cloud financial management

Cloud financial management should be set as one of your company’s financial goals. This will accelerate business value and help achieve financial success.

We have gone through the 5 pillars of an AWS well architected framework. We at boldlink can help you in your journey to AWS cloud by doing a well architected review end-to-end. Schedule a call with us TODAY!

Happy cloud computing -:)

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