AWS Well-Architected Tool
User Guide

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What is AWS Well-Architected Tool?

AWS Well-Architected Tool (AWS WA Tool) is a service in the cloud that provides a consistent process for measuring your architecture using AWS best practices. AWS WA Tool helps you throughout the product lifecycle by:

  • Assisting with documenting the decisions that you make

  • Providing recommendations for improving your workload based on best practices

  • Guiding you in making your workloads more reliable, secure, efficient, and cost-effective

Today, you can use AWS WA Tool to document and measure your workload using the best practices from the AWS Well-Architected Framework. These best practices were developed by AWS solutions architects based on their years of experience building solutions across a wide variety of businesses. The framework provides a consistent approach for measuring architectures and provides guidance for implementing designs that scale with your needs over time.

This service is intended for those involved in technical product development, such as chief technology officers (CTOs), architects, developers, and operations team members. AWS customers use AWS WA Tool to document their architectures, provide product launch governance, and to understand and manage the risks in their technology portfolio.

The AWS Well-Architected Framework

The AWS Well-Architected Framework documents a set of foundational questions that enable you to understand how a specific architecture aligns with cloud best practices. The framework provides a consistent approach for evaluating systems against the qualities that are expected from modern cloud-based systems. Based on the state of your architecture, the framework suggests improvements that you can make to better achieve those qualities.

By using the framework, you learn architectural best practices for designing and operating reliable, secure, efficient, and cost-effective systems in the cloud. It provides a way for you to consistently measure your architectures against best practices and identify areas for improvement. The framework is based on five pillars: operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, and cost optimization.

When designing a workload, you make trade-offs between these pillars based on your business needs. These business decisions help drive your engineering priorities. In development environments, you might optimize to reduce cost at the expense of reliability. In mission-critical solutions, you might optimize reliability and be willing to accept increased costs. In ecommerce solutions, you might prioritize performance, since customer satisfaction can drive increased revenue. Security and operational excellence are generally not traded off against the other pillars.

For much more information on the framework, see the AWS Well-Architected website.

Definitions

In AWS WA Tool and the AWS Well-Architected Framework:

  • A workload identifies a set of components that deliver business value. The workload is usually the level of detail that business and technology leaders communicate about. Examples of workloads include marketing websites, ecommerce websites, the backend for a mobile app, and analytic platforms. Workloads vary in their level of architectural complexity. They can be simple, such as a static website, or complex, such as microservices architectures with multiple data stores and many components.

  • Milestones mark key changes in your architecture as it evolves throughout the product lifecycle — design, testing, go live, and production.