AWS Architecture Blog

Well-Architected: “To thrive, to evolve, to delight”

Today we published a subtle but significant update to the AWS Well-Architected Framework. We looked to see where AWS Solutions Architects and customers diverged in how they judged something to be Well-Architected, and we restructured our questions and answers to help close that gap.

There are many definitions of IT architecture, but, at its core, a good architecture is like a well-designed building: It creates a space that we love to be in. In technology, good architecture creates a space that allows our code to thrive, to evolve, to delight. Bad architecture inhibits the ability of our code to meet our expectations, and it exposes us to risk, wasted effort, extra costs, and bad outcomes. How do you know if your architectures are good?

In 2012, we created the AWS Well-Architected Framework as a way to answer that question. AWS Solutions Architects review thousands of workloads every year using the framework. We learn from these reviews: new ideas, bad ideas, and constant innovation. We curate those learnings, from our customers and our teams, to create a framework that remains current but also tested and pragmatic.

We use Kaizen to help us continually improve the framework. We bring data—your anecdotes and challenges—and use it to understand where we can improve the framework. We experiment, ask five whys, draw pictures of fish, and whiteboard, whiteboard, whiteboard. We draft guidelines for writing best practices, we shape our best practices to fit, we iterate. We have it reviewed by our principal community, taken for a spin by AWS Solutions Architects, and then we publish an update to the framework. We joyfully spin round a Deming cycle.

With this update every question has been refined, and some have been split into two to ensure they focus on a single topic. The framework has also been updated to reflect new services and features, and is available as a whitepaper PDF and free as Kindle books. We believe that if you follow the well-architected way, your architectures will create a space where your code and functionality will delight your customers. You can find free training and all of the whitepapers on the AWS Well-Architected homepage.

Philip Fitzsimons is the leader of the AWS Well-Architected Team