Mind the gap between your environment and Cloud best practices

Chand Tailor 9th February 2021

Introduction

The truth is, when COVID hit, the reliance on cloud to solve a cosmic number of business problems spanned across all industries.

Not only did the pandemic validate cloud’s value proposition, “the ability to use on-demand, scalable cloud models to achieve cost efficiency and business continuity is providing the impetus for organisations to rapidly accelerate their digital business transformation plans.” Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner also notes that “the increased use of public cloud services has reinforced cloud adoption to be the ‘new normal,’ now more than ever.”

According to Gartner, the aftermath of the COVID crisis will spark an acceleration of IT spending in the cloud – with cloud predicted to make up 14.2% of the total global enterprise IT spending market by 2024, up from 9.1% in 2020.

Of course, cloud is not the only solution available.

In fact, there remains huge appetite to use a combination of both a public cloud and a private environment, an approach known as hybrid cloud. Adopting multiple deployment models is popular, with more than 90% of global enterprises expected to rely on hybrid cloud by 2022.

The appetite for cloud is there. The problem therein lies not in the use of cloud, but how cloud is being used.

When you consider the pace of IT and BCP decision-making since March 2020, you begin to question the longevity of solutions put in place. Are the chosen models resilient, capable of supporting changing business user and customer demands, affordable? Or do they resemble a sticking plaster, solving one problem in the moment?

If you’re unsure, or you fall into bucket two, keep reading.

Well-Architected Review designed for the cloud-era

From experience, it’s cheaper and easier to remedy if you can answer the above question sooner rather than later. This is why ECS has partnered with AWS to provide a free Well-Architected Review.

ECS has a wide range of experience helping large enterprise customers adopt Public Cloud in a safe, reliable and scalable manner. We have often found that customers aren’t always aware of the specific gaps between their environment and Cloud best practices. Where gaps are discovered, it can also take time for adjustments to be implemented because customers are sometimes nervous about making changes or don’t give them enough priority.

The Well-Architected Review provides a quick and targeted analysis based on the AWS Well-Architected Framework to help highlight specific gaps between the current state and AWS best practices.

ECS, in Partnership AWS, is offering to conduct Well-Architected Reviews for free to strategic customers and in addition, AWS is offering up to $5000 service credit per workload addressed as described below.

Why carry out a Well-Architected Review?

The AWS Well-Architected Review offering by ECS has the following benefits for customers, AWS and ECS:

What exactly is the Well-Architected Framework and Review?

The AWS Well-Architected Framework is a set of standards set out by AWS for benchmarking workloads and their environment in line with the following pillars:

  • Operational Excellence – The ability to run and monitor systems to deliver business value and to continually improve supporting processes and procedures
  • Security – The ability to protect information, systems, and assets while delivering business value through risk assessments and mitigation strategies
  • Reliability – 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 ability to use computing resources efficiently to meet system requirements, and to maintain that efficiency as demand changes and technologies evolve.
  • Cost Optimisation – The ability to run systems to deliver business value at the lowest price point.​

More information about the framework can be found on the AWS website here.

The Well-Architected Review is best targeted towards a production workload which could be running in AWS, on-prem or another Cloud Provider. The review assesses the workload’s environment, operations and deployment mechanisms against those five pillars to provide detailed insight into exactly where, if any, gaps exist.

ECS use its experience and expertise to suggest practical ways in which these could be immediately improved to close the gaps in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Is the Well-Architected Review for me?

If you’re using cloud, yes.

Having launched the Well-Architected Review offering in late 2020, ECS has successfully carried out pilots in-house as well as a number of reviews for customers. These reviews provided customers with assurance in areas where they were already meeting best practices. They also highlighted areas of improvement with suggested remediation actions.

In one case, a Tier 1 Financial Services company was initially sceptical of how useful the AWS Well-Architected tool could be for them. However, once the review got going, they quickly understood the extra value ECS were bringing to the process. With our broad experience in financial services and cloud, the client was able to tap into our expertise during the review, and were particularly impressed with the backlog of remediation tasks that were generated as a result.

This backlog helped them secure quick wins and prioritise actions to ensure the most effective cloud strategy for their business, user and customer needs. They also took comfort that best practice guidelines were being met and operations were being undertaken in a secure and reliable environment.

In some cases, customers have chosen ECS to help with implementing the remediation activities which also made them eligible to receive the $5000 service credit from AWS per workload reviewed.

Next Steps

ECS is looking to scale out this free offering in 2021 and would like to invite customers to take advantage of the offer. If you have a production workload you would like reviewed, book an introductory call with a member of the team here.

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More about the author

Chand Tailor is a leader in Cloud Consultancy and Business Strategy. Having been at industry leading cloud native consultancies, Chand has developed technical, strategic, and commercial skills through working for a variety of blue-chip customers, especially in regulated industries such as Financial Services and Public Sector. He is currently Head of Portfolio in the Cloud practice at ECS.

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