The Top 4 Ways to Use AWS to Improve Performance Efficiency

Amazon Web Services (AWS) employs a five pillar framework to guide and assist businesses in adopting continuous best practices through cloud services. You can use these conceptual pillars to improve the performance efficiency of a business.

The Performance Efficiency pillar is most crucial in developing performance. It involves using computing resources to improve the efficiency of a business’ systems and subsequently to sustain efficiency as the market changes and technologies advance.

At WOLK, we are AWS experts. With many years of experience designing complex network architecture, our team can help you leverage AWS to improve the performance efficiency of your business.

1. Allows Your Team to Focus on Core Competencies

Through the design principles of Performance Efficiency, businesses can use technology as a service rather than assigning members of their IT team to the task of learning, hosting, and running new technological services. Technologies such as NoSQL, a database that stores and retrieves data, can fulfil complex tasks quickly and efficiently, allowing members of your team to focus on the core competencies of your business. NoSQLs are used more in big data and real-time applications as they are faster and more flexible than other types of databases.

2. Lower Costs Through Serverless Architectures

Another product of the design principles of Performance Efficiency is the use of serverless architecture. This eliminates the need to operate using physical servers, which can be a tedious and costly operation. By managing services via the cloud, businesses can lower their costs, improving performance efficiency.

3. Optimise Architecture Through Service Selection

There are many types of AWS resources, from standard databases to artificial intelligence (AI) and data lakes. Through these systems, you can create and optimise an architecture to best suit your workload. Organisations can use data analysis software to find the most useful programs for their specific business or industry. AWS Partner Network (APN) suggests architecture selections based on industry knowledge. For example, it may recommend that you use Amazon Elastic Block Store for low-latency block cloud storage.

4. Improve Efficiency Through Innovation

Reviewing and monitoring are two of the best practices of Performance Efficiency. AWS is constantly innovating to meet customer demands. Through new innovative AWS services, regions, edge locations and other features, you can improve performance efficiency. Once you have implemented a new workload, you must monitor it and analyse its performance. AWS services like Amazon CloudWatch can monitor a workload and provide you with information and actionable insights, helping you determine opportunities to improve efficiency.

Get an AWS Well-Architected Review

WOLK is a partner of the AWS Well-Architected Program. With certifications to carry out framework reviews, we can help your business to improve performance efficiency. Contact us today to schedule a review.

How moving to AWS improves security for your entire organisation.

There are many good reasons why so many large organisations have moved their operations to the Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud platform. We touched on a few of them in a previous blog. But possibly the most important benefit AWS offers organisations is a first-rate security framework, security being one of the 5 pillars we’ve touched on before.

The security pillar of AWS is designed to “protect information, systems, and assets while delivering business value through risk assessments and mitigation strategies”.

7 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

The security pillar is based on the following seven design principles:

1) Implement a strong identity foundation: Implement the principle of least privilege and enforce separation of duties with appropriate authorization for each interaction with your AWS resources. Centralize identity management, and aim to eliminate reliance on long-term static credentials.

2) Enable traceability: Monitor, alert, and audit actions and changes to your environment in real time. Integrate log and metric collection with systems to automatically investigate and take action.

3) Apply security at all layers: Apply a defense in depth approach with multiple security controls. Apply to all layers (for example, edge of network, VPC, load balancing, every instance and compute service, operating system, application, and code).

4) Automate security best practices: Automated software-based security mechanisms improve your ability to securely scale more rapidly and cost-effectively. Create secure architectures, including the implementation of controls that are defined and managed as code in version-controlled templates.

5) Protect data in transit and at rest: Classify your data into sensitivity levels and use mechanisms, such as encryption, tokenization, and access control where appropriate.

6) Keep people away from data: Use mechanisms and tools to reduce or eliminate the need for direct access or manual processing of data. This reduces the risk of mishandling or modification and human error when handling sensitive data.

7) Prepare for security events: Prepare for an incident by having incident management and investigation policy and processes that align to your organizational requirements. Run incident response simulations and use tools with automation to increase your speed for detection, investigation, and recovery.

5 FOCUS AREAS

The design principles lay the foundation for the five focus areas of the security pillar:

1) Identity and access management
2) Detective controls
3) Infrastructure protection
4) Data protection
5) Incident response

There is plenty of overlap through these focus areas so it is important to consider how each area can build on or influence others. They should be viewed together as integrated components of your security program rather than individual siloed processes.

Why should all this matter to your organisation?

AWS offers a level of investment and expertise in cloud security that most organisations could not hope to achieve on their own. A few benefits include:

1) The most advanced digital security available.

2) AWS is scalable in every respect, so if there’s a change to your security needs, you can be sure you won’t “outgrow” AWS and need to look for another provider.

3) AWS customers number the tens of thousands, including leading financial organisations and government agencies, so you can be sure that your data is the safest it can be.

Cloud security is top-of-mind for organisations moving their workloads to the cloud or managing an existing application in the cloud. Reviewing an existing or planned application against the principles of the Security Pillar can help you determine what action your organisation needs to take to improve deficiencies and be as secure as possible.

The Ultimate Guide to Enhancing Performance Efficiency

The AWS Well-Architected Framework uses the premise of five operational pillars, Operational Excellence, Security, Reliability, Performance Efficiency, and Cost Optimisation. The AWS secure cloud services platform provides data storage, content delivery and compute power, among other services that benefit workloads. Using AWS, you can host applications in the cloud and deliver efficient, exciting websites to clients.

The Fourth Pillar
The Performance Efficiency pillar is the fourth pillar of the Well-Architected Framework, and it focuses on the proper allocation of resources to meet system requirements as changes occur.

To understand how to distribute resources for the optimal system response, it’s necessary to understand how the AWS Well-Architected framework functions. Knowledge of the other pillars, particularly Reliability and Cost Optimisation, will be exceptionally helpful in determining how you can use your resources most efficiently.

Improving Performance Efficiency With AWS
To maximise your workload’s performance efficiency using AWS, you must constantly review your selections because of the ever-changing nature of the cloud and newly available features.

To enhance efficiency in the cloud, there are five design principles you can follow:

● Global Deployment
When you deploy your workload to various AWS regions across the globe, you can decrease latency levels and minimise costs for maximum efficiency.

● Make it Accessible
You can make life easier for your team by assigning complex tasks to the cloud vendor instead. The technologies in the cloud become services for your team so they can direct their efforts to developing products.

● Make Use of Serverless Architectures
Going virtual means you no longer have to run and maintain a physical server in one location. Static websites and event services can host your system code, reducing the human power required for the system and minimising expenses.

● Experiment Frequently
Using various types of storage, configurations, and instances, you can execute the system’s frequent testing to see how the workload responds to change, allowing you to plan ahead. Virtual and automated resources make this flexibility possible.

● Understand Cloud Consumption
Having a working knowledge of how cloud content is consumed will help you make more informed decisions that don’t compromise efficiency. When you have knowledge of certain system aspects, you can apply that to your selections to increase storage capability or network function.

Work With a Certified AWS Partner
WOLK is a proud partner of the AWS Well-Architected Framework and is certified to perform system inspections. Using our feedback, you can find out where your system is most vulnerable and make decisions to improve its performance efficiency.

Call us today to schedule an initial review and learn how you can improve your business with AWS.

The AWS Well-Architected Framework’s first pillar, Operational Excellence, is all about ensuring your company runs optimally. To accomplish operational excellence, you can follow the four designated best practice areas of this pillar, organisation, prepare, operate, and evolve.

The first best practice area, organisation, is critical for Operational Excellence because having an organised system makes it easier to identify and solve problems and allows your team to work together seamlessly.

Organisation Helps Your Team Work Better
Knowing exactly what they should be doing at all times helps your team remain consistent and excel at their jobs. Without an organised structure, your team may not know what to do without asking a supervisor, slowing down their pace.

You can also benefit from organised goals. If your team knows your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals, they can alert someone if they notice your output falling behind. Additionally, knowing the goals can empower your team to work harder.

Having an organised plan for emergencies can help reduce the damage since you won’t need to spend time devising a way to deal with the problem. If you follow the organisation best practice, your team should know the process for dealing with most contingencies. Ensure you create contingency plans for a variety of problems, including physical ones like a fire in the building or loss of electricity, and virtual ones, like a hacking attempt or a virus in your system.

Ensures You Meet All Regulations
Another significant benefit of following organisational best practices is that you minimise your chances of missing an important deadline or failing to fulfil an industry regulation. Some industries have extensive regulations, from reporting requirements to maintaining certain standards.

Particularly if you operate across national borders, remembering and following all the necessary regulations is challenging. Having an organised structure that tracks deadlines and requirements is essential to keeping your company’s practice aligned with legal requirements. Additionally, you can organise a structure that continues to check for any changes in regulations that could affect your operations.

Work With WOLK to Ensure Your Organisation is Top-Notch
WOLK is an AWS Well-Architected Program Partner and can offer you an AWS Well-Architected Program Review. Starting with an initial, free consultation, we review all your business practices and ensure that you comply with the AWS Well-Architected Program.

We can identify any problem areas and offer solutions, whether you need help organising your structure or improving your cloud security protocols.

Call us today on 03 8669 1414 to learn more about how we can help your company excel with AWS.

Whether you’re working with an internal team or an outsourced consulting partner, the AWS Well-Architected Framework is an educational tool that builds awareness of steps and best practices for architecting for the AWS Cloud.

In our experience, using well-architected best practices and design principles helps you:

Plan for failure

Architecting for failure is one of the primary design principles of Well-Architected. In other words, knowing how to mitigate risk, prevent data loss, eliminate downtime and defend against security threats.

Lower or mitigate risks

Reducing or mitigating risk = minimising surprises. The Well-Architected Framework provides a thorough and comprehensive process establishing options and analyzing your choices as well as for evaluating how a particular decision could impact your business.

Make informed decisions

Specifically, helping you to understand the trade-offs involved in your decisions. Well-Architected workloads gives you choices for responding to changing business requirements or external issues. It also helps you decide the best option by evaluating the trade-offs of every one of your options. As an organisation, you should never feel forced into one option when it comes to improving your workload. The process and questions posed by the Well-Architected Framework can help both your business and technology departments examine all options and identify the route that will lead to the most favourable business impact.

Build and deploy faster

Well-Architected best practices facilitate a DevOps approach that leads to closer collaboration between engineers and business stakeholders, ensuring that your business requirements are aligned with technical goals. This saves time, resources and ensures an integrated approach allowing to build and deploy faster. Taking your business further and faster.

WOLK is a leading partner of the AWS Well-Architected Program and is fully certified to provide AWS Well-Architected Reviews. After the review, which will highlight high-risk items, WOLK will begin the remediation stage. Typically, most high-risk items can be remediated using your AWS service credit, so your company will not be out of pocket. Contact us today to arrange a review.

How AWS Can Help you Deliver the Best Value for the Lowest Price Point

The AWS Well-Architected Framework is designed to give you a consistent way to apply design and architectures that can evolve with you and your organisation. Through the use of five pillars, AWS is dedicated to maximising efficiency and keeping your costs at a minimum so your business can perform at its best.

Five Pillars of AWS and Your Money
The five pillars of AWS are designed to give you the best value for your money. They are a solid foundation that allows for stable growth as you build your cloud-based system. Cost optimisation is the pillar founded on ensuring you get back what you put into AWS.

Operational excellence refers to supporting the development and running workloads with efficiency. Operation can be optimised through organisation, preparation, and evolution of the system once mistakes are recognised.

Security requires that we protect assets, systems, and information in the cloud. With real-time detection, infrastructure and data protection, and incident response, you can solve security problems before impacting your clients. Investing in security now will save you time and money later.

Reliability is vital to maintaining the lowest possible costs. With a workload performing its function correctly, as expected, it is easy to anticipate values that will come in and go out. The workload needs to evolve and self-repair when failure is detected to maximise its value.

As demands change and evolve, your performance efficiency must adapt too. Understanding the computing resources available and using them in a way that best meets system requirements is a concrete way to receive back the value that you are putting into AWS.

Cost optimisation is the main area where you can ensure you receive the best value for the lowest price point with AWS.

Cost Optimisation
There are five best practices for cost optimisation with AWS that will assist in maximising your costs. Practising Cloud Financial Management, being aware of expenditure and usage, using cost-effective resources, managing demand, and supply resources, and optimising over time are the actions that should be taken for cost optimisation to be successful.

Cost-effective resources have a positive economic impact and can reduce overhead costs through their efficiency. Moving to the cloud, you are only incurring the necessary expenses. By tailoring your resources to match the workload, you are eliminating the tendency for wasteful spending.

Reviewing your architecture over time allows you to optimise continually. The cloud is ever-changing, and there are always new technologies to examine and see how they align with your own needs.

Schedule a Review
WOLK is a leading partner of the AWS Well-Architected Program and is certified to perform reviews. An inspection can give you insight into the high-risk areas of your system so that we can begin working to resolve them. Staying up to date on your reviews is the most effective way to make sure you’re still benefiting from cost optimisation within your system.

Networking and AWS: What You Need to Know to Improve Overall Performance

The AWS Well-Architected Program centres around five pillars comprising operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, and cost optimisation. Where reliability is concerned, managing your network is essential to the continued performance standard of your business.

For architecting systems using IP address-based networks, it’s necessary to build your network system to anticipate possible issues down the line. The Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) makes it possible to launch your AWS services in a private virtual network for added security.

Direct Connect
AWS Direct Connect is a cloud-based service that allows a secure connection from your physical system to AWS via a network. By utilising the AWS Virtual Private Cloud, you can connect your on-site data to different AWS regions.

A few questions to ask yourself when preparing your network for maximum efficiency are:

● How are you going to protect yourself against failures of network elements?
● What happens if there are configuration or connectivity issues?
● Can your network handle fluctuations in traffic?
● Can you combat a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack if it occurs?

A secure network is a key to improving overall performance with AWS.

Network and Workloads
Your network is the bridge between all workloads, guiding traffic, and as a result, it can significantly impact your efficiency and client experience. Understanding your workload needs in terms of bandwidth, latency, and other technical communications are critical to increasing performance.

AWS delivers virtual networking, making it flexible and accessible in a way that can meet your specific needs. By targeting your network to your system’s performance demands, you will maximise your reliability and performance efficiency.

A cloud-based network’s benefit is that it is easy to make changes to it over time as your organisation’s needs evolve. Where you choose to deploy your resources can also have an impact on the efficiency of performance. Ideally, if you know where the resources will be in use, the majority of the time, you can choose to set them up in a way that reduces the distance, eliminating a host of issues with the delay. Take advantage of your resources with deliberate decisions so that you are designing an improved performance model.

Improve Performance With a Review
To maximise your overall performance, schedule an AWS Well-Architected Review. WOLK is certified to perform this action and provide you with information on your areas of risk. By identifying these areas, measures can be carried out to ensure they do not jeopardise your network’s efficiency.

6 Ways AWS Can Help You Evaluate and Manage New System Costs

The fifth pillar of AWS is cost optimisation and focuses on making sure you don’t spend more than you need to. This principle also applies to cost analyses of new services.

Choosing the correct service can make a significant difference in your overall costs. Amazon offers many services at varying price points that can increase your reliability and performance efficiency, improve your security and help you achieve operational excellence.

However, it’s essential to ensure achieving the first four pillars doesn’t overwhelm your budget. The Well-Architected Framework has six best practices that can help you evaluate new services for cost and efficiency.

1. Identify Organisation Requirements
You should identify your organisation requirements for each of the five pillars of the Well-Architected Framework. Work with members of your team who are in product management, applications, development and operations, management and finance.

Determine what your requirements are in terms of each pillar, weighting them to find the balance between cost and the other pillars.

2. Break Down Your Workload
Break down your workload into components and analyse the cost and importance of each one individually. Include all parts, even the small or old ones.

Prioritise your components by cost and importance to prepare for the analysis.

3. Analyse The Components
Work your way down the list of components, only moving on after you have completed a thorough analysis.

For the high priority components, also analyse the options that could improve them. Determine how much they would cost, how much they would benefit the component, and what their long-term impact would be.

For lower priority components, determine what if any improvements you could implement, and if those improvements would push the component into the high priority category.

4. Find Cost-Effective Licensing
First, look into open-source software to eliminate licensing costs. Amazon has several options like Amazon Linux or Amazon Aurora. If you can’t find appropriate open-source software, choose software that is bound to output or outcomes. Instead of paying per CPU, you will only be paying for what you use.

Check historical prices of the provider to see if they regularly increase or have remained stable. You want to ensure that this software will stay in your budget in the future.

5. Select Your Components
Once you’ve finished analysing, you can select your components. Be sure to prioritise the cost analysis when making your final choices.

6. Perform Cost Analysis
Regularly perform a cost analysis of your workload, since it can change over time.

As your workload grows, you might want to bring on more managed services like Amazon RDS or Amazon DynamoDB that will reduce your overhead and enable you to focus on other aspects of your business.

Work With an AWS Partner
If you want help analysing services, an AWS Partner like WOLK can help you with your cost analysis and ensure your company is compliant with the Well-Architected Framework.

How AWS Can Assist in Managing Demand and Supply Cost Effectively

Cost optimisation, the fifth and final pillar of the AWS Well-Architected Framework, contains guidelines that allow you to deliver your products at the lowest price point. By working in the cloud, you can lower your costs and increase your productivity.

The cloud also allows you to pay only for what you need, when you need it, giving you the flexibility to pair down or amp up. To ensure that your workload is balanced, follow these best practices.

Analyse the Workload Demands
First, you need to know what your current workload demands are. Do a complete analysis of your workload. Use current and past data, and look at your customer logs to see how customers usually interact with your workload.

Be sure to include a full cycle’s worth of data. If you have a busy season and a slow season, you’ll need to change your supply accordingly.

AWS suggests that you use the actual demand in requests per second, when the rate of demand changes, and the rate of change of the demand as your metrics.

You should also forecast outside influences by meeting with team members in marketing, sales or business development. They can tell you about upcoming events that might increase or lower demands.

Manage Demand with a Buffer or Throttle
If there are sudden jumps in demand, a buffer or a throttle can help to smooth them out, enabling your workload to function normally. If a client retries, you’ll want to use a throttle. Buffering allows you to store the request and process it later.

Ensure that you always process your buffered requests within the expected time scale. You can use Amazon Simple Queue Service to implement buffering and Amazon API Gateway for throttling.

Dynamically Supply Resources
You can supply resources using either a time-scale or an auto-scale. For some businesses, a combination of both approaches works best.

Use time-based scheduling when you have a steady, even demand. If you know that the demand will rise or fall on a specific date, you can schedule your supply to increase at that time.

Auto-scaling scheduling works better with more unpredictable levels of demands. You can configure your systems to automatically detect a change in demand and increase or decrease supply.

Use AWS Auto-Scaling to configure both types of scheduling.

Work with an AWS Partner
If you aren’t confident about your workload analysis or simply want to confirm that you are operating within the guidelines of the Well-Architected Framework, consult with an AWS Partner like WOLK to learn more and highlight areas of non-compliance.

How to Improve Awareness of Expenditures and Usage with AWS

The fifth pillar of the AWS Well-Architected Framework is cost optimisation, and it’s all about lowering your price point.

Working in the cloud gives you more flexibility and creates more opportunities for innovation. You no longer need to manually research new hardware, purchase new hardware, schedule shipments or process shipping orders. You can create systems to do all of that automatically.

However, the way you monitor expenditures and usages will have to change. Several AWS programs can help you improve your awareness and better monitor your expenses and usage.

Accurate Cost Attribution
You need to know the exact cost of each department or product owner. This knowledge will give you insight into which products are more profitable, and which are losing money.

Use AWS Organisations or AWS Control Tower to separate your teams and products by costs and usage. These programs have several organisational options, including tagging to enable sorting by category, team name, business name or other information.

Cost Attribution Categories
You want to create organisation categories and functional categories to sort your costs.

To determine your organisation categories, meet with your stakeholders and follow your existing organisational structure. You might want to include topics like budget, department, or business unit.

The functional categories might include topics like your workload name, areas of focus in the business (production, shipping, etc.).

There is no limit to the number of categories one item can have. Be as detailed as possible when defining your categories.

Establish Organisational Metrics
You should clearly state what the workload outcomes are. Use business outcomes to determine the metrics. For example, the number of web pages served to customers could be a workload metric.

If your workload is large or complicated, consider breaking your metrics down for each component.

Billing and Cost Management Tools
AWS provides several tools that aid in billing and cost management. Train representatives of each team that works with an application in AWS Budgets and AWS Cost Explorer.

Use Workload Metrics
Using your workload metrics, allocate your costs. You can use Amazon Athena to create an efficiency dashboard, making it easy to evaluate your cost efficiency regularly.

Consult an AWS Partner
If you are new to AWS or want to confirm that you are following all the guidelines, a Well-Architected Review can help. WOLK is an experienced long-term AWS Partner and can check for high-risk items and mitigate them for you to ensure you’re operating as efficiently as possible.