5 top aspects you need to consider designing your Cloud solution

2021 11 16

Author: Nerijus Pažereckas

Business environments are becoming increasingly complex. Many software applications now have different run-on systems located on-premises, off-premises, in multiple clouds, and at the edge.  

Proper planning, implementation, and management of these diverse environments are critical factors in helping your users and organizations make the most of them.  

In this blog post, we will focus on presenting major public cloud providers’ best practices and guidelines for hybrid and multi-cloud solutions—in particular. 

5 Pillars of the Well-Architected Cloud Framework 

Major public cloud service providers such as AmazonMicrosoft, and Google have created 5 Pillars of the Well-Architected Cloud Framework, generally best practices for using and managing cloud and hybrid-cloud services. Each manufacturer describes a Well-Architected Framework in its way, but the five key Pillars are treated in the same way:  

  • Operational Excellence  
  • Performance Efficiency  
  • Reliability  
  • Security  
  • Cost optimization  

Google has defined four pillars and merged performance efficiency and cost optimization but discusses the same principles. The pillars provided above are the main pillars of the Well-Architected Framework.  

Operational Excellence  

Usually, more extensive systems with internal operations and multi-cloud or on-premises integrations are forgotten to monitor and often improve. Monitoring the system’s operations and continuously improving supporting processes and procedures to deliver the highest business value are the key topics for the operational excellence pillar.  

Architectural documentation and baseline and target architectures preparation are concurrent parts of the best practices and successful cloud journey. It is essential to document the current situation and anticipate development to prepare for the target system and technology architectures.  

By guiding existing and target architectures, it is easier to automate business processes, implement long-term monitoring tools, and improve primary business operations by learning from failures and measured thresholds. Operations as a code and infrastructure help deploy faster and redeploy in seconds to any cloud or hybrid-cloud services when needed. 

Performance Efficiency  

Performance efficiency best practices talk about best cloud services choices to ensure required performance to meet business needs and meet the systemic requirements existing.  

The same as operational excellence, performance efficiency needs continuous monitoring and improvements for the system globally or its services. There is no need to order a bigger plan or enormous resources for the system when it is not needed. Cloud services have to be chosen when a business has requirements to market as soon as possible. Starting from the MVP project, improve systems to their target architecture and functionalities.  

When target architecture is prepared and well documented, it is easy to improve existing products by deploying additional functionalities, not losing the performance. Multilevel architecture where front-end, business operations, back-end and data layers are separated opens access to the latest technologies and helps implement performance efficiency. Cloud providers have lots of tools to measure deployed systems’ performance. We just need to configure it, understand the provided results, and take appropriate decisions to improve our product.  

Reliability  

Successful recovery after disaster situations, automatic horizontal and vertical scalability of the system is one of the recommended good practices in the Reliability pillar and the main factors that lead to the system’s successful operation and user satisfaction. Every business owner wants to have the best product in the market and happy clients. When the application has automatically adapted to factors and conditions in effect at that time allows giving a stable and reliable system. By designing new or migrating applications to one of the public cloud services, it is crucial to foresee non-functional requirements and application parts loads.  

It cannot be thought that a public cloud will solve all the current and future problems of the system and there will be no need to think about how to ensure stability and reliability. The well-architected system has designed infrastructural and operational procedures and services which allows maintaining non-functional business requirements.  

Properly used public cloud services will enable the application to run smoothly under any loads and changing conditions and recover automatically even if a disaster occurs in the public cloud data center where the application is hosted. However, all this must be taken care of by the system owner himself because public cloud providers like Amazon, Azure, or Google provide tools but not the configurations.  

Proper use of services can save a company from headaches during the holiday season and when the systems experience the highest user load only at certain times of the year or day. All you have to do is make the right architectural decisions and the system itself will expand when you need it most.

Security  

Security throughout the system process’ development and at all stages and levels of the system is another integral practice of a Well-Architected Framework. Some system developers and engineers think that public clouds are very secure on their own and do not require extra security, but that is a myth.  

Just as we care about the security of on-premises systems, we need to think about the security of cloud services. Public clouds have the same networks, databases, or virtual machines and best practices for their protection. Access control and the need to know what is needed to do the job are basic security principles that should be applied when migrating an existing system or building a new one in the public cloud. The least privileges and system services segmentation to separate network layers principle helps us prevent data loss and unauthorized access.  

Compliance with GDPR requirements is an integral part of security, so it is crucial to design your system correctly right away to meet these requirements, even if you decide to deploy the system to a public cloud service.  

As the number of lost or stolen information and customers’ data increases in the public media, it is essential to know the manufacturers’ recommendations and security practices for the services used and properly configure and apply continuous penetration testing practices. Security pillar in Well-Architected Framework is talking that security must be ensured every time and everywhere.  

Cost optimization  

Typically, public cloud services cost as much as appropriately configured on-premises infrastructure solutions. Still, with proper management of service plans and leased resources, the cost of hosting a system under development can be significantly reduced. Public cloud services will be much cheaper than maintaining and maintaining an on-premises data center in the long term.  

The cost optimization pillar in all public cloud providers’ documentation provides the same recommendations and guidelines:  

  • Choose required services and their plan at the existing application evolution moment. 
  • Check the pricing of all services used now.  
  • Review the invoices issued every month.  

It is always possible to discover where to save or optimize without losing the quality of service and at the same time modernizing the system. The most common mistake for most customers is using virtual machines and reserving resources ahead until the system requires it.  

All-in-one digital experience starts with a public cloud 

Public clouds are beneficial for startups wanting to get out of the market as quickly as possible and for all companies with a product. Still, businesses are not sure if it will live up to expectations or for companies just looking for additional infrastructure capacity. Public clouds, like any other data center, need to be managed and maintained. While there is no need to worry about physical security or hardware failures, all architectural aspects and best practices from both programming and manufacturers must be adapted and implemented.  

While you need to think of public cloud-like any other data center, you also need to take advantage of the services created by public cloud providers and try to get rid of old technology and modernize the system. System’s modernization and workloads optimizations allow the best advantages that can be taken from any public cloud provider. This will get rid of part of the cost and be sure that the system is ready to withstand any conditions and expand when the business needs it most.  

Azure, Amazon, or Google Well-Architected Framework provides the guidelines on how to use public cloud services and design a well-architected system.  

As a one-stop-shop technology partner, Baltic Amadeus is ready to help you in this cloud journey. Start your business’s digital transformation now!