AWS:reInvent 2016: Well-Architected Framework for a non-Architect

On my first day at AWS:reinvent 2016 I completed the AWS Well-Architected Framework bootcamp. Now I am a developer, and I have no plans to become an Architect, however, I was fairly interested in learning the recommendations of AWS when moving existing systems to the cloud, and potentially provide a positive impact on the move my current project plans to make to the cloud.

I expected a lecture on best practices and valuable lessons-learned from the various AWS solution architects who moderated the class.  The bootcamp turned out to be more collaborative then I had envisioned.  The class was definitely structured more like a graduate-level course, complete with a business-case, team problem-solving activities and reporting the results.  I guess I should have expected that when I signed up for an advanced-level bootcamp.

Many useful tools where provided throughout the class.  The best part of the course was the questionnaire they provided as a roadmap for making a move from existing systems to AWS.  These questions are divided into pillars that provide the foundation for a cloud solution:

Security
Reliability
Performance
Cost Optimization
Operational Excellence

(For more details on each see the Well-Architected Blog: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/are-you-well-architected/)

Following a short discussion by the moderator on each pillar, they described the various service offerings that could be used in the solution.

For each pillar, we answered the questions by defining the current-state of the system in the business-case and building a future state using AWS.  During the team discussions my team members often reflected on their own AWS solution and debated their ideas to support our answers for the business-case.  I personally did not have much to add, but I took plenty of notes. I would have welcomed more constructive feedback from the experts on the solutions we developed for the future state of the system, however, there was a lot of material to fit into 4 hours.

Overall, I enjoyed the bootcamp and highly recommend it for those with all levels of AWS experience.  My primary take away from the course is that AWS offers a variety of solutions at each pillar to help define your cloud solution, and while each pillar in the foundation is important you need to decide where you can be flexible as costs can have a big impact if not given careful consideration.

[Whitepaper: http://d0.awsstatic.com/whitepapers/architecture/AWS_Well-Architected_Framework.pdf]