Building a Well-Architected Cloud

When looking for quantitative standards to hold your virtual environments to, it’s best to start by studying how cloud providers— like AWS, Microsoft, and Google —have successfully harnessed the power of cloud.

According to Amazon Web Services, a well-architected cloud is built on the following pillars:

  • Operational Excellence

  • Security

  • Reliability

  • Performance Efficiency

  • Cost Optimization

If a cloud environment is not built on these pillars—or if it is missing one or several—it will be nearly impossible to establish a cloud that meets industry standards and your future needs.

Before you can start building well (or remediating what you haven’t), it is important to understand what these pillars look like in functioning environments.

Operational Excellence

The Operational Excellence pillar represents the cultivated ability of your IT team to monitor existing systems, anticipate when components are going to fail, and how quickly and effectively they can respond to the issues at hand.  Before you can establish operational excellence, you have to understand the nature of your workloads and of their anticipated performance and behaviors in cloud. Our team of cloud experts will help your IT team gather the pertinent cloud competencies and experience to better support and con gure your future virtual environments.


The Security pillar represents your ability to protect your assets (without crippling your OPEX, thwarting production, or over-working your IT staff). Even when you are launching your applications on a public cloud platform with its own in-line security tools, it’s important to remember that the security burden is on your IT team alone. While the physical security of the public cloud infrastructure is kept secure, you can’t rely on the cloud provider to secure your digital assets without additional input on your end—that’s why it’s a shared responsibility model. This is also why the Security pillar is critical to get right from the start.


The Reliability pillar revolves around your ability to efficiently maintain a steady state, adapt to operational changes, and recover from downtime, misconfigurations, and network issues. As such, this pillar also represents the automation and self-healing measures you have taken to ensure the fastest and most comprehensive recovery from these disruptions.

Performance Efficiency

The Performance Efficiency pillar refers to the utilization of your cloud resources across industry fluctuations (e.g. How well do your networks leverage cloud resources for spikes and lulls in demand?). In year’s past, IT teams were praised for having long uptimes because it meant that their systems had not crashed in weeks or months. However, modern cloud environments work most efficiently when their resources are only running for minutes or hours at a time—only using what is necessary to complete the current compute demand.

Cost Optimization

The Cost Optimization pillar’s primary focus is on cloud spend, but it shares quite a few similarities with the Performance Efficiency pillar. Both pillars, together, represent a continual process of refinement and optimization for the greatest output at the lowest cost. Cost optimization in cloud is your ability to reduce unnecessary costs and the over-provisioning of resources. A truly cost-optimized system will fully utilize all of its cloud resources while still meeting performance demand at the lowest price point.

Categories: Cloud