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Azure Well-Architected

Design and build well-architected cloud workloads—optimized to meet your ongoing business needs.

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Make informed decisions about cloud workload design, technology, and implementation

Run high-performing Azure workloads that continuously achieve business value over time with the Well-Architected Framework—a set of proven best practices, guidance, and resources. Get the documentation, tools, assessments, and programs you need to build and operate more secure, higher-performing cloud workloads in a cost-efficient manner.

Understand the five pillars to high-quality workloads

The five pillars of the Azure Well-Architected Framework are reliability, cost optimization, operational excellence, performance efficiency, and security. While each pillar is important, the pillars can be prioritized based on your specific workload.

Build and manage high quality workloads using resources that align with Microsoft best practices, guided by these five pillars. These tools, programs, and guidance include:

  • Azure Well-Architected Review
  • Azure Advisor
  • Documentation
  • Partners, support, and service offers
  • Azure Architecture Center
  • Well-Architected recommendation process

Reliability: Meet commitments you make to users and customers

Enable applications to recover from failures at any scale, by architecting reliability into your application framework. In traditional app development, reliability meant purchasing layers of redundant, high-end hardware to prevent app failure completely. Because failure inevitably happens, we seek to minimize the impact of a single component failing. When you build for reliability in the cloud, you ensure a highly available architecture as well as recovery from failures such as data loss, major downtime, or ransomware incidents.

Learn more about reliability:

See documentation on reliability

Review resiliency checklists for Azure services

Read the Mark Russinovich blog series

Cost optimization: Get the most value from your cloud investment

Cost optimization for well-architected workloads means reducing unnecessary expenses and improving operational efficiencies. Create economically efficient workloads by balancing business goals with budget justifications. Manage your Azure spending with the tools, offers, and guidance to help you optimize workload costs, save money, and understand and forecast your bill.

Learn more about cost optimization:

Overview of cost optimization on Azure

Microsoft Cost Management

Reducing waste with Azure Advisor

Setting cost controls with Azure Policy

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Operational excellence: Keep apps running as expected

In the Well-Architected Framework, operational excellence covers the operations processes that keep applications running in production. Deployments must be reliable and predictable. All systems must be observable because in a large application, logging into virtual machines to troubleshoot an issue or sift through log files is impractical and sometimes impossible. Monitoring and diagnostics give insight into the system, so that you know when and where failures occur.

Learn more about operational excellence

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Performance efficiency: Scale to meet demands dynamically

To achieve performance efficiency for well-architected workloads, you need to be able to anticipate load increases for your cloud environment to meet business requirements. Contrary to on-premises environments, though, you may no longer need to make long-term predictions for expected changes to ensure capacity. Take both performance requirements and budget into consideration through well-architected principles as you scale up or out with Azure solutions.

Learn more about performance efficiency

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Security: Strengthen your posture

Well-architected workloads rest on a foundation of highly secure services and practices. Security is a fundamental pillar that enables organizations to operate, innovate and scale. As one of the most important aspects of any architecture, security provides confidentiality, integrity, and availability assurances against attacks and abuse of data and systems. Protect workloads with the multilayered security of Azure—across physical datacenters, infrastructure, and operations—and stay ahead of evolving threats using AI. Plus, enlist a team of +8,500 global Microsoft cybersecurity experts to help safeguard your assets and data in Azure, allowing your SecOps teams to spend time focusing on what matters most to your business.

See Azure security documentation

Watch: Azure security best practices

Review security best practices for IaaS

Learn how to secure PaaS deployments

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Make effective design choices for your cloud workloads to deliver value

As you plan your cloud workloads, discover the potential impact of your design decisions—and where to optimize them based on the five pillars of the Well-Architected Framework—with an Azure Well-Architected Review.

Receive an assessment tailored to your workload type, such as IoT, SAP, data services, machine learning. Plus, get specific recommendations you can act on—whether you’re implementing and deploying an application or reviewing an existing application.

Jump-start workload architecture with reference guides

Start designing and developing well-architected cloud workloads using reference architectures and implementations. Build confidence in your peers that your choices will meet business goals with proven best practices and design patterns.

With hundreds of reference architectures in the Azure Architecture Center, you’ll find design principles and GitHub-hosted code samples that serve your app’s purpose and unique context.

Get started:

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Maintain optimized cloud workloads to meet your business needs

After deployment, monitor all aspects of your workload using Azure Advisor, which is based on the Well-Architected Framework. Get an evaluation of your resources deployed in Azure with personalized recommendations alongside industry best practices.

An Advisor Score report in Azure
A person holding a tablet displaying charts and graphs in Azure

Continually demonstrate value to the business

Prioritize recommendations from Azure Advisor using Azure Advisor Score. Assess how well you’re adopting Azure best practices, comparing and quantifying the impact of the Azure Advisor recommendations you’re already following with the ones you haven’t implemented yet. The gap analysis shows where to optimize your deployments by taking the most impactful actions first. Compare your evaluation with previous results to see changes over time, evaluate progress, and learn of new ways to optimize as they arise.

A diagram showing the loop of steps: assess, integrate, triage, implement, and monitor.

Resolve issues with confidence

Implement recommendations from Azure Advisor and Well-Architected reviews more easily with guidance and tools from the Well-Architected recommendation process. Bring recommendations into Azure DevOps, GitHub, or other work management tools as tasks and autogenerate a presentation to share recommendations with your team.