In this blog post we look at the best practices and expertise that sit behind a well architected framework and why it’s so important to get it right, because it will ultimately save your business from the massive headache of future IT issues.
We look at the five pillars of a well architected framework, using the Amazon Web Services framework and then share a checklist on what to look out for across your IT systems to make sure your IT systems are well architected.
Anyone can put some pieces of software together and ‘make it work’. You only require some basic skills to succeed with that. To do it well though, so the resulting application (or system, component, service) not only does what it is supposed to do, but fits well within the larger context, you need to go beyond developing software. You need to have mastered the skill of software engineering.
Software engineering is a real craft that requires skill, in much the same way as a craftsman learns his skills. Especially, as with the arrival of cloud computing, a very fundamental paradigm of IT has changed: Whereas in the past if an application did not perform well enough it would be scaled up, today, and especially in the cloud it will be scaled out. In fact, cloud computing is built around the infrastructure capability to scale out anytime with the least amount of effort and disruption.
With that shift in paradigms, every modern IT system is innately a distributed system, spanning potentially many different (hardware) nodes all networked together to deliver the expected business value. While this provides immense opportunity in creating very flexible and robust applications, at the same time it greatly increases the complexity and therefore potential for flaws and vulnerabilities in the resulting service.
What is needed is a supporting framework that guides how well the system will embed and operate within the existing IT landscape and deliver value to its owner. Among the many articles and white papers written, one stands out for us – which is Amazon’s “AWS Well-Architected Framework”. Whilst it is written against the background of AWS’s vast service portfolio, we believe the essence and approaches described are universal, and apply to all good and considered approaches to system architecture.
The framework establishes to consider five essential aspects or ‘pillars’ for a good contemporary IT infrastructure design covering 1) operations, 2)security, 3) resilience, 4) performance and 5) cost. It is intended as a guide for designing green field as well as transforming existing applications. As a high-level architectural document, it does not provide the detailed solutions as such, but guides the reader through covering all the essential aspects of good architecture and the set of requirements for the respective application.
Cloud computing offers compelling opportunities, but it behaves like a Swiss Army knife with 512 functions: If you don’t know how to use it, you’ll end up using the wrong tool for the job and hurting yourself, and the business in the process.
Driven by best practices: DCL and the well-architected framework
Digital Craftsmen (DCL) is an agnostic cloud managed service provider. That means, we provide solutions that are deployed in our own data centres, on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform or others.
For example, Digital Craftsmen in partnership with Big Blue Door operates and maintains the Grenfell Tower Inquiry website. To read more on how we built the well architected framework solution, please have a look at our case study.
Digital Craftsmen is here to support you not only with developing your bespoke hosting requirements, we can also:
Over the next few weeks, we will dive deeper into this topic and highlight the key elements of a successful cloud journey. If you have any questions to ask the Craftsmen team then drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to help.