AWS Architecture Blog

What’s New in the Well-Architected Performance Efficiency Pillar?

We recently published a significant update to the AWS Well-Architected Framework, and as part of that update, the Performance Efficiency Pillar whitepaper has been streamlined and improved. The questions in the whitepaper are now better aligned with those in the AWS Well-Architected Tool, making it easy to cross-reference between them when reviewing workloads. With clearer headings and each best practice highlighted, you can quickly find what you need and then dive deep on any topic.

We also updated the Performance Efficiency pillar to reflect the evolution of AWS and the best practices we are seeing in the field. In each best practice, we have added—and in many cases expanded on—these innovations to improve your performance in the cloud. New services, such as the AWS Nitro System, AWS Global Accelerator, AWS Local Zones, and AWS Outposts, can help you achieve this goal.

AWS Outposts network

The Performance Efficiency pillar now describes hybrid networking options, such as the AWS Outposts network setup shown here.


Enterprise environments are often a mix of cloud, on-premises data centers, and edge locations. To address this, we modified the networking best practice to include performance considerations for hybrid cloud architectures. We also highlight AWS services that can increase your networking performance.

In addition to those changes, we have also added an additional focus to help address common performance bottlenecks in cloud architectures. New explanations are included to help address common situations, such as compute selection, storage selection, and database selection. With database selection, we added new information to help you choose between our 15 purpose-built database engines, which include relational, key-value, document, in-memory, graph, time series, and ledger databases. We now stress that performance optimized workloads should pick the best database to solve a specific problem or group of problems, and not simply utilize one-size-fits-all monolithic databases.

Lastly, we have included new information regarding performance monitoring. For example, we describe using CloudWatch Synthetics to check the latency of your workload endpoints, AWS X-Ray to capture performance-related metrics, and CloudWatch ServiceLens to integrate traces, metrics, logs, and alarms into one place to measure against critical key performance indicators (KPIs). These services allow you to gain a deeper insight into workload performance and ensure that the services are performing as expected.

This update to the Performance Efficiency pillar of the AWS Well-Architected Framework gives you additional insight into the tools and services needed to continuously improve your workload performance. I encourage you to use the AWS Well-Architected Tool to continually measure and improve your cloud workloads over time, measuring the impact of your performance improvements, and documenting those changes as milestones in the tool.

A special thank you to Tom Adamski, Nick Matthews, Steve Seymour, and Allan Clark for their help on this update. We would also like to thank everyone who has given us feedback on the AWS Well-Architected Tool and whitepapers. We would love to hear your feedback on our latest update!

Learn more about the new version of Well-Architected and its pillars

Eric Pullen

Eric Pullen

Eric Pullen is the global Performance Efficiency pillar lead for the AWS Well-Architected Framework. He leads creation and sharing of best practices that enable customers to deliver sustained performance over time. Based in Louisville, KY, he has spent time as a Senior Cloud Infrastructure Architect within the AWS ProServe practice. He has over 20 years of software development and management experience prior to AWS, working with both commercial, state, local, and federal customers.