At 2021’s Re:Invent, Amazon announced an update to the Well-Architected Framework with the addition of a new Sustainability Pillar, focused on helping teams, organizations and companies understand and improve the impact their workloads have on the environment. Computing resources can have a significant environmental impact due to energy expenditure, cooling resources, the embedded energy in the construction of data centers, and other consumptive processes. The new pillar provides best practices and questions focused on how the design and architecture of workloads function with respect to how well they align to a sustainable future.
The Sustainability Pillar also defines a shared responsibility model which defines what areas AWS is responsible for vs. customers who are running workloads in the cloud. In this model, AWS is responsible for the sustainability of the cloud and the customer is responsible for the sustainability in the cloud. This means AWS handles the sustainability process for things like the energy and cooling of the data center, whereas the client is responsible for the efficiency of the workload itself. Picking the most efficient method for deploying the workload up to and including allowing the system to scale to zero during low load times and using resources efficiently when the application is running will ensure increased sustainability and reduced consumption by the application.
This pillar does not currently generate any High Risk Issues (HRIs) in a Well-Architected Framework Review (WAFR), but we expect that will change in the future.
Well-Architected Framework Review Changes
In addition to adding the Sustainability Pillar, AWS has implemented a change in the WAFR process. Going forward, 45% of the HRIs that are identified when reviewing a workload will need to be remediated on an SOW with the WAFR partner in order for the client to receive $5,000 in service credits. At this point, the service credits available have not increased, but we will update this article if that changes.
We are also excited to announce that we have a new offering around the completion of WAFR work. One area of ambiguity for clients is the cost of remediating the HRIs that are found during the workload review. In order to make this more predictable for clients who want to perform their own remediation work we now have a fixed cost offering where we will review the HRI resolutions and confirm they are completed in order to allow for accessing the funding associated with the review. If a client wants to have us resolve the issues this would still be a separately scoped engagement that we would work through with the client.