Complete Guide to the AWS Well-Architected Framework Review
Business moves rapidly today in every industry, and companies can’t afford to stand still. To keep up with competitors and serve customers well, they must be agile, adaptable, and on the pulse of how their technology strategy is driving operational and strategic success.
Enter: The AWS Well-Architected Framework Review.
For SAP users who are moving or have already moved to the cloud, the AWS Well-Architected Framework Review is a valuable exercise for evaluating current workloads and optimizing SAP systems on the cloud to drive organizational success.
And as a leading SAP service provider, Protera offers an AWS Well-Architected Framework Review service with a SAP Lens to help SAP users leverage their systems for better performance and to consistently meet their goals.
This guide will deep dive into the AWS Well Architected Framework Review - SAP Lens and help you decide if and when your SAP organization should perform one. Specifically, we’ll cover:
- Why your cloud architecture design is so important
- The 6 key pillars of an AWS Well-Architected Framework Review
- Protera’s proven process for executing the review with clients
- Cloud architecture design is the foundation for all cloud operations and strategies.
- The 6 pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework Review are operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, cost optimization, and sustainability.
- Conducting your framework review with a trusted SAP partner boosts ROI, accelerates execution timelines, and empowers you to implement changes with confidence.
Cloud Architecture Design: What It Is and Why It Matters
Cloud architecture design is the structured framework you build for deploying and managing workloads on the cloud, and it sets the foundation for all future cloud operations and potential strategic success.
It encompasses a wide range of IT strategy focus areas, including scalability, reliability, security, performance, and cost optimization. It entails determining the appropriate cloud service models (i.e. IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, etc.) and deployment models (public, private, hybrid, or multi-cloud).
All of this, of course, is dependent on your unique goals, functions, and business requirements, meaning no single architecture framework is best across organizations—it’s up to your IT team or trusted partner to build one that aligns with your specific needs.
Further, cloud architecture design requires ongoing optimization, testing, risk management, and updating in order to stay secure, efficient, and relevant in changing business environments. It’s for this reason that architecture reviews (like the AWS Well-Architected Framework Review) are necessary.
Without frequent assessment, ongoing monitoring, and strategic improvements, your cloud environment can become costly and inefficient, not to mention vulnerable to risks like external cyber adversaries, misconfigurations, and unexpected downtime or data loss.
Framework reviews can prevent all of the above and enable smart, proactive planning for the future. Let’s look at the 6 key pillars included in the process.
The 6 Pillars of an AWS Well-Architected Framework Review
Alt-Text: Graphic displaying the six pillars of an AWS Well-Architected Framework.
The operational excellence pillar emphasizes running workloads efficiently and effectively by obtaining insight on the way your business operates on the cloud, then optimizing processes to maximize business value.
Companies that achieve operational excellence run SAP workloads with minimal defects, can easily remediate issues that do arise, and implement seamless, adaptable workflows.
This pillar is hallmarked by a strong understanding of how to operate based on readiness, people, processes, and related risks that exist across your cloud architecture. To maintain operational excellence over time, organizations must regularly validate and improve SAP workloads to keep them current and aligned with business goals.
The security pillar is focused on how SAP and AWS technologies can be used to improve cloud security and keep data, systems, and assets security. This pillar has become increasingly critical as cyber threats become more sophisticated and data breaches happen more often.
According to a Check Point research report, the number of cyber attacks on corporate networks increased by 50% from its rate in 2020, reaching an all time high of 900+ attempts per week.
Alt-Text: Line graph showing results from a Check Point Research Report, which found that cyber attacks per week on corporate networks increased by 50% from its rate in 2020, reaching an all time high.
Given this increased risk, the amount of data companies now use on a daily basis, and the rate at which it’s being moved and stored on the cloud, SAP on AWS users must take a more modern and agile approach to IT security that can be achieved by conducting an AWS Well-Architected Framework Review.
Security-related focus points during the framework review include building an understanding of security standards and their relationship to SAP workloads, using controls to reduce security misconfigurations, controlling access to SAP workloads, protecting SAP data both at transit and at rest, and developing a comprehensive strategy for handling security events.
The reliability pillar ensures that workloads perform their intended functions both correctly and consistently to keep organizations functioning properly. It involves assessing the business drivers behind workloads to align functionality with purpose (and in a larger sense, business goals).
It also requires an understanding of related risks and impacts for given workloads so they can be designed to withstand failures and recover quickly from adverse events (examples: automation software to quickly detect and prevent potential failure scenarios, and disaster recovery plans to minimize data loss and reduce time to recovery).
Given that a staggering 96% of companies experienced unexpected downtime in the past three years, reliability measures are absolutely critical to avoid major issues that impact operations.
The performance efficiency pillar is all about driving smart, optimized resource utilization to meet business requirements as efficiently as possible. It requires an agile, data-driven approach that keeps up with changing internal impact factors like demand trends, technology advances, and end user preferences.
Some specific focus areas included in the performance efficiency pillar are: the selection of optimal compute and storage solutions, evaluation of tuning options and their impact on system performance, the establishment of baseline performance metrics and automated deviation alters, and procedures and solutions to prevent deviations from occurring.
Perhaps the most straightforward pillar, cost optimization involves the continuous improvement of SAP workloads and operations to drive cost savings wherever possible across their lifecycles. It requires evaluating SAP architecture design, patterns, and functionality for cost efficiency on a regular basis and using high-visibility planning and governance tools to effectively manage costs.
Sustainability is a recently added pillar in the AWS Well-Architected Review Framework that focuses on best practices related to environmental sustainability—a top priority today for every stakeholder group, from customers to employees to investors (and more).
A recent Gartner survey found that for the first time ever, CEOs named sustainability a top three priority, emphasizing the need for shared responsibility to use sustainable technologies. They also reported that it pays off for companies that prioritize sustainability effectively—74% of CEOs said increasing environmental, social, and governance efforts attracts investors.
Finally, Gartner found that sustainability is an effective competitive differentiator, on par with brand trust among survey respondents.
An AWS Well-Architected Framework Review enables companies to find organic opportunities to incorporate sustainability measures into their cloud environments and leverage ESG efforts for better business outcomes.
Protera’s Well-Architected Review Process
As a trusted SAP and AWS partner, Protera has developed an AWS Well-Architected Framework Review offering rooted in industry best practices and supported by the knowledge and expertise of our internal subject matter experts and technologists.
Our review process includes three key phases:
Discovery Workshops: When we embark on a review with a client, we start with a series of immersive and interactive discovery workshops to gain a full understanding of the organization’s current state. We explore the answers to questions such as
- What are your application performance requirements? How are they defined?
- How do you test applications during updates or other change periods?
- How do you collect and manage data to inform decisions and enable scaling?
- Do you currently have procedures in place to optimize SAP environments?
- How do you budget the cost of running SAP on AWS and work to optimize it?
- Do you have defined security strategies and tactics in place?
This list is not exhaustive. Discovery workshops are meant to give the Protera team a detailed and complete picture of the client’s current SAP on AWS operations before moving on to finding potential improvement opportunities and new solutions.
SAP on AWS Environment Assessment: Next, the Protera team obtains direct access to the client’s SAP environment to evaluate its functionality and how well it is meeting its intended purpose. Specifically, we focus on alignment between strategic goals and technical implementation.
This review occurs over 2-5 days and includes three key deliverables:
- Inventory and description of SAP workloads in scope
- Analysis of workloads against the AWS Well-Architected Framework’s 6 pillars
- Summary report on findings and recommendations for the future
Execution Plan Development: At the end of an AWS Well-Architected Framework Review with Protera, clients have detailed resources to guide their future strategies and an actionable plan for improving and optimizing their SAP on AWS environments.
Protera also provides support in launching the executional plan on an accelerated timeline (days or weeks vs. months or years). This is one of the most important benefits of working with a SAP partner organization rather than embarking on comprehensive improvement efforts on your own.
By partnering with Protera, you gain objective, expert insights, the ability to execute your plan with confidence, and the support of a trusted team to help you succeed.
A full overview of Protera’s AWS Well-Architected Framework Review is available on Amazon Marketplace. See it here and contact the Protera team to learn more and get started.