Managing Change With AWS

The AWS (Amazon Web Services) Well-Architected Framework encompasses the five pillars, Operational Excellence, Reliability, Performance Efficiency, Cost Optimization, and Security. By following each pillar’s best practices, you can implement designs that will scale with your business.

The AWS Well-Architected Framework helps you mitigate risks, build and deploy architectures faster, and make informed decisions.

AWS Framework and Reliability

The second pillar within the AWS Well-Architected Framework is reliability, which refers to a workload’s ability to perform consistently and correctly. Within the reliability pillar, these are the design principles to keep in mind for best practices:

Automatic failure recovery
Monitoring KPIs (key performance indicators) allows you to be notified immediately if a threshold is crossed or significant change occurs.

Procedures for test recovery
Testing how your workload might fail in the cloud allows you to see your recovery procedures’ effectiveness.

Scale horizontally
Distribute the workload across more small resources to decrease the impact of a single point of failure.

Stop guessing capacity
Accurately monitor demand to avoid over-saturating the workload.

Manage change in automation
Change infrastructure using automation.

Change Management
Change management is a critical aspect of maintaining reliability with AWS. Effectively managing change comes down to monitoring, preparing to adapt and implement the changes.

Monitoring Workload Resources
It’s possible to configure your workload to monitor performance metrics and provide updates if a major event or change occurs. The benefit of accurate performance monitoring is that you can respond quickly when negative changes occur, such as a low-threshold crossing or a system failure.

Monitoring comprises four phases which are generation, aggregation, real-time notification, and storage. In the generation phase, monitoring occurs for all parts of the workload, while aggregation refers to interpreting this data. Real-time processing allows you to have a timely response to changes in data.

The storage phase provides access to past logs for analysis of data on a larger scale. Effective monitoring means you can adapt to changes quickly.

Designing Your Workload to Adapt
You can use AWS services to automate scaling of your workload. A workload must be scalable because this provides flexibility to adapt to changes in function or performance by adding or removing resources.

Implementing Change
Changes that occur in the workload must be intentional. Run tests to ensure you can roll back a deployment at any time without disrupting service to your customers. This includes functional and resiliency testing performed in the pre-production pipeline to determine how changes you implement will impact the system.

Put Trusted IT Infrastructure in Place
AWS cloud-based software offers a scalable IT solution that can grow with your business. WOLK technology is a trusted AWS advanced consulting partner and can advise how best to manage your IT services.

How AWS Helps with Designing Operational Excellence

The AWS Well-Architected Framework is a system that helps build secure and efficient infrastructure in your company’s applications and workloads. It uses five pillars, operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, and cost optimisation, to streamline your workloads in the cloud.

By completing an AWS Well-Architected Review using WOLK, a Well-Architected Partner, you can ensure your application and workloads are working at their highest potential.

Operational Excellence: The First Pillar

Operational excellence is the first of five pillars in the AWS Well-Architected Framework. In this pillar, the Framework focuses on supporting business objectives, effectively running workloads, learning more about specific operations, and the ability to continue to improve procedures.

Within the pillar are five design principles: Perform operations as code, make frequent, small, reversible changes, refine operations procedures frequently, anticipate failure, and learn from all operational errors. With the AWS Well-Architected Tool, you can discover which of these principles need to be improved.

1. Perform Operations as Code

Performing all operations as code lowers the likelihood of human error from the entire workload. It creates a more streamlined system that can be easily updated and allows a faster response time.

2. Make Frequent, Small, Reversible Changes

Instead of making sweeping changes to fix a problem, the AWS Well-Architected Framework suggests beginning with small, reversible changes. If there is a problem, a small change is easily correctable and costs less time and money to address.

3. Refine Operations Procedures Frequently

Every time your business evolves, so should your operations procedures. Schedule regular meetings to ensure your workload is operating as efficiently as possible.

4. Anticipate Failure

Before starting, plan alternative options. Even after a system is in place, it can fail for many reasons. If your business has backup plans and a response plan in place, you can minimise any negative effects of a failure.

5. Learn from all Operational Failures

Just like a company should anticipate failure, a company should learn from it. Analyse the failure, and create new procedures to protect against it in the future.

Working with a Well-Architected Partner

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.

AWS Well-Architected Review: applying the Framework

AWS Well-Architected Reviews use the AWS Well-Architected Framework to provide a consistent approach to evaluate and remediate systems, based on best practices for designing and operating reliable, secure, efficient, and cost-effective systems for the cloud.

WOLK is a certified AWS Advanced Well-Architected Partner and is certified to provide AWS Well-Architected Reviews.

What to expect from a review:

– Free Initial Consult.
– No Commitment.
– Leading Partner of the AWS Well-Architected Program.

The process of the AWS Well-Architected Review is to take a specific workload and review it using an approach created to facilitate consistent, considered and excellent process and design. The review takes shape using a three step process:-

1) Learn – Gather information about your workload.
2) Measure – Review your workload with all the right people.
3) Improve – Create recommendations using a statement of works.

Stage 1: The Review

– You grant WOLK read-only access to your account and we complete the review with you.
– We create a document outlining the remediation work the workshop reveals.
– We present the High Risk Items (HRIs) to you along with the Scope of Work (SOW) for sign-off.
– Once signed-off, we allocate time to do the remediation, this typically takes up to two weeks.

Stage 2: The Remediation

– WOLK to complete the remediation work.
– We complete the second milestone of the WAR tool.
– We submit the result to AWS.
– AWS requires that WOLK complete the remediation to qualify for the service credit.

Stage 3: The Service Credit

– You complete AWS feedback review PLUS reply to email.
– AWS grants a service credit to you.
– We can usually complete the WAR and remediate the majority of high risk items within the service credit amount – making the exercise cost neutral to you.

Why use WOLK for your Well-Architected Review?

WOLK are a leader of the AWS Well-Architected Program and have a wealth of experience in reviewing and remediating High Risk Items within your workload. We have developed and maintain tools and unique internal processes that streamline our review and remediation process, reducing the cost and allowing for a cost neutral outcome.

As part of the Well-Architected Process, we highlight the requirement for ongoing measuring and monitoring of your compliance and workloads. WOLK offer a solution in the form of ongoing managed services that are specifically designed around the Well Architected Framework and could include:

– No out-of-pocket expenses for review and remediation.
– AWS spend invoiced monthly.
– Additional account controls or guardrails.
– Simplified and enhanced security features (Single Sign On / SSO).
– Ongoing access to updated tools, processes and monitoring.

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.