By Kevin Kareth, Director, Cloud IaaS at Ingram Micro Cloud - Global
It’s tough to understate the importance of Well-Architected Reviews. The popular framework, coined by AWS but also used by the likes of Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, helps cloud architects build the most secure, high-performing, resilient and efficient infrastructure possible.
The value proposition of the review is simple - to go under the hood of any company’s cloud environment and measure its security, reliability, performance efficiency, operational excellence and cost optimization. I compare it to a regular check-up with the doctor as it offers an overview of cloud health and a remedy to any issue. Also, much like a regular health check, many fail to do it as often as they should.
Prevention is better than the cure, and this is especially true when companies with weak cloud frameworks run the risk of financial losses and cybersecurity breaches. Well-Architected Reviews enable proper oversight and prevent cloud environments from growing too large, too quickly.
The Basics Of Well-Architected Reviews
Faster speed, lower cost, greater flexibility, better agility - these demands are driving businesses in all markets to cloud-based solutions. Cloud computing empowers builders with a platform supported by unique services, features and functions that can be used to configure almost any workload to deploy and manage applications at scale.
It is in this context of increased adoption and breakneck evolution that the Well-Architected Review helps companies to establish good architectural habits, eliminate risk and respond faster to changes that affect designs, applications and workloads. Each of the five pillars of the framework - security, reliability, performance efficiency, operational excellence, and cost optimization - counts its own design principle and best practices, which are supported by implementing various services from the main cloud providers.
In its essence, this is a tool, a method, a process that ensures companies get the most out of the cloud. For example, the review digs into each pillar to confirm that the cloud foundation is indeed strong. For security, the review asks: How are networks set up? And who has access? And whether or not encryption is used in the environment? Meanwhile, for operational excellence, the review considers: Who can approve what and who can deploy what?
Staying Optimized And Up To Date
Unfortunately, there are end customers that opt-out of the review. Some fail to see the value, while others think they are better off saving their time and getting on with it. Both are sorely mistaken. This is because the sheer complexity of cloud can result in customers moving so fast that they overlook the basics. It is when this happens - when customers are up and running before they are even ready to walk - that issues arise.
The truth is that cloud environments without proper governance can grow exponentially and become tough to quantify. Consider that reviews regularly uncover orphaned capabilities like storage, databases and services that aren’t being used and yet consume resources. Like leaving the lights on, it’s wasteful and costs money. In fact, orphaned capabilities are such a widespread problem in IaaS that an estimated $2.6 billion is wasted every year. Meanwhile, companies with lower cybersecurity standards can fall victim to ‘cryptojacking’ - where hackers co-opt computing power for illicit cryptocurrency mining at the company’s expense.
Risks like these can be detrimental to companies in the cloud, costing not only financial capital but also brand capital. Therefore, end customers should view the benefit of the Well-Architected Review as two-fold. First, reviews help companies not overlook the little things, like changes or new capabilities, which are especially important in the context of cybersecurity. Second, reviews ensure that the cloud environment is up to date and optimized as much as possible.
The Value Going Forward
As cloud continues to grow, so too must customer engagement. Ultimately, it is up to end customers to be proactive and identify the gaps in their cloud posture. Not only that, they must work consistently to close these gaps through remediation.
For companies to progress following the review, areas of remediation must be monitored and tested to lead to true growth and value of choosing digital transformation in the cloud. Back to the doctor analogy, remediation is akin to health advice telling you to eat less red meat and do more exercise - it offers a pathway to improve holistic wellbeing.
This is where Ingram Micro Cloud can help. We provide the people, processes and platforms to help partners in the cloud do more with less. We enable partners to have that end customer conversation about reviews and encourage them to take place at least annually. In essence, we train the trainer and stand side by side with our partners to take this capability to market.
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