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What is the AWS Well-Architected Framework?

Amazon defines the AWS Well-Architected Framework (PDF) as a set of questions that you can use to evaluate how well your architecture is aligned to AWS prescribed best practices. At Cloud Conformity we provide Continuous Assurance that you are asking all of these questions of your architecture all the time, no matter the scale of your AWS usage.

Why is this important?

“Building a software system is a lot like constructing a building. If the foundation is not solid there might be structural problems that undermine the integrity and function of the building. When architecting technology solutions, if you neglect the five pillars of security, reliability, performance efficiency, and cost optimization it can become challenging to build a system that delivers on your expectations and requirements. When you incorporate these pillars into your architecture, it will help you produce stable and efficient systems. This will allow you to focus on the other aspects of design, such as functional requirements.”
AWS Well-Architected Framework, October 2015

In November 20, 2016 the framework has been updated to include the Operational Excellence pillar, and revised and updated others pillars to reduce duplication and incorporate learnings from carrying out reviews with thousands of customers.

The five pillars of the of the AWS Well Architected Framework are the five distinct categories that you need to be asking questions of your architecture and are defined as;


The Security pillar encompasses the ability to protect information, systems, and assets while delivering business value through risk assessments and mitigation strategies.


The Reliability pillar encompasses the ability of a system to recover from infrastructure or service disruptions, dynamically acquire computing resources to meet demand, and mitigate disruptions such as misconfigurations or transient network issues.

Performance Efficiency

The Performance Efficiency pillar focuses on the efficient use of computing resources to meet requirements, and maintaining that efficiency as demand changes and technologies evolve.

Cost Optimisation

The Cost Optimization pillar is used to assess your ability to avoid or eliminate unneeded costs or suboptimal resources, and use those savings on differentiated benefits for your business.