As Australian organisations adopt cloud technology and microservices architecture with speed, many quickly notice an uptick in cloud spending at the same time as an increase in operational complexity. To guide organisations through their cloud journey and to achieve best practice the major cloud vendors such as Microsoft Azure and AWS have released their Well Architected frameworks that set benchmarks across pillars of importance.
In this blog, we will outline Microsoft Azure’s Well Architected Framework and how a robust integration strategy and supplier will help your organisation achieve it.
What is the Azure Well-Architected Framework?
The Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Framework is a set of guiding principles that organisations can use to evaluate their architecture, security and implementation plans that will enable their cloud and multi-cloud environments to scale over time. Microsoft’s version consists of 5 pillars as described below:
- Cost Optimisation
This pillar encourages organisations to align their business goals with a measurable form of return on investment across their cloud spend and wider technology environment. To help customers achieve this, IntegrationWorks Australia works with customers to:
- Choose the right amount of compute and resources aligned with business and data goals that can handle the workload’s performance;
- Continually monitor cost and optimise capacity needs, using integration and data egress monitoring to proactively manage any potential cost blow-outs or bill shock;
- Utilise Azure integration tools such as Logic Apps and Azure Integration Services to ensure resources are used effectively and can scale up and down as needed.
- Operational Excellence
The operational excellence of the Azure Well-Architected Framework focuses on implementing systems and best practices to keep the cloud platform and its applications running in peak performance. This often means continual evolution of the DevOps and IT Service Management processes, as well as visibility. IntegrationWorks works with their Microsoft customers to automate mundane tasks in this area using Azure Logic Apps, while integrating multiple data feeds into a visible real time dashboard that can be continually monitored. Using bespoke API feeds, real-time metrics, logs and tracing – the team at IntegrationWorks can build operational performance monitoring solutions that can identify the root cause of any cloud downtime or operational issues.
- Performance Efficiency
The Performance Efficiency pillar of the Azure Well-Architected Framework outlines how and why organisations must ensure the workloads they run on the platform are built for continual modernisation, integration and migration. They must meet the changes in demand from the business and scalable usage over time.
IntegrationWorks helps customers make informed decisions by first connecting the data sources and application feeds to then:
- Establish current runtime performance baselines;
- Build monitoring capabilities to spot standard usage versus anomaly usage;
- Detect workloads that can be supplemented via integration into another application or cloud environments; and
- Use our cloud and integration maturity models to design future-proofed computing resources and plans that allow for rapid change in a dynamic environment.
With this pillar, organisations must ensure they build resilient, cybersecure and available applications within their Azure environment. Integration is key to this especially in a world of hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Microsoft provides guides and resources to ensure defined availability targets (i.e. Service Level Agreements), how to ensure applications recover and monitor errors and general guides on measuring application health.
Microsoft, however, does not provide any guidance on integration health and the quality of the APIs and workflow automations that keep these applications running. IntegrationWorks has specialist expertise in this area including:
- A Microsoft Azure API and integration strategy assessment for assets in design, test and production;
- Expertise across Azure Integration Services including Logic Apps; and
- A demonstrated Azure Integration Maturity Model that is built on the basis of the Azure Well Architected Framework.
The final pillar of the Azure Well-Architected Framework calls on organisations to consider security throughout every stage of cloud development – including in hybrid cloud and multi-cloud transformations. The basic principles that Microsoft champions include:
- The ability to monitor and track security alerts;
- Detect threats early and remediate immediately;
- Manage security as a shared responsibility and configure correctly (i.e. do not assume that Azure compute will cover your cloud security end-to-end); and
- Block attacks against exposed vulnerabilities by ensuring endpoints, APIs and patches are continually up to date.
Although not a cybersecurity specialist, IntegrationWorks partners and advises internal security teams on how to best develop and deploy a secure cloud platform, APIs and integration capability across many cloud environments.
IntegrationWorks Australia and Microsoft Azure Well Architected Framework
Together, IntegrationWorks and Microsoft help Australian organisations to achieve Azure cloud optimum performance through integration, monitoring and continual cloud evolution aligned with the Azure Well Architected Framework. We help organisations at all stages of the Framework by managing their Azure compute, monitoring their services, guiding and deploying to serverless through Azure App Server and Azure Functions, enabling containerisation through Azure Kubernetes Service and enabling Azure Automation.
IntegrationWorks is also an early adopter and market leader in strategising, architecting and deploying Azure Integration Services (including Logic Apps, Service Bus, Azure Event Grid and Azure Service Bus) across manufacturing, mining, retail, local government, state government, federal government and healthcare organisations in Australia and New Zealand.
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