Learn About the AWS Well-Architected Framework

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the Five Pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework.
  • Use the AWS Well-Architected Tool.


This module was produced in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, which owns, supports, and maintains the Amazon Web Services products, services, and features described here. Use of Amazon Web Services products, services, and features is governed by privacy policies and service agreements maintained by Amazon Web Services.

What Is the AWS Well-Architected Framework?

AWS Well-Architected Framework icon depicting three adjacent hexagons with bisecting lines

It’s important to build a system that delivers on your expectations and requirements. AWS developed the AWS Well-Architected Framework after reviewing thousands of customers’ architectures on AWS and identifying what common themes made their architectures successful.

The result is a framework that gives you a consistent approach for designing and evaluating architectures through design principles and AWS best practices. It helps you build the most secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient infrastructure possible in a cloud-native way.

The framework spans five principles, or pillars, with design principles that scale with your needs over time.


Two connected gearsOperational

Run and monitor systems to deliver business value. Continually improve supporting processes and procedures.
A shieldSecurity
Protect information, systems, and assets. Deliver business value through risk assessments and mitigation strategies.
Interconnected chain linksReliability
Recover from infrastructure or service disruptions, dynamically acquire computing resources to meet demand, and mitigate disruptions such as misconfigurations or transient network issues.
A gauge with the needle pointing to the upper limitPerformance Efficiency
Use computing resources efficiently to meet system requirements, and to maintain that efficiency as demand changes and technologies evolve.

A dollar bill cut in halfCost Optimization
Run systems to deliver business value at the lowest price point. Avoid unnecessary costs, analyzing spend over time, and scaling to meet business needs without overspending.

 To apply the best practices of the AWS Well-Architected Framework, you use the AWS Well-Architected Tool.

Use the AWS Well-Architected Tool

AWS Well-Architected Tool icon depicting three adjacent hexagons with bisecting lines against a magenta backgroundThe AWS Well-Architected Tool is a free service that provides a consistent process for you to review and measure your architecture. This tool asks a series of questions about your architecture and provides recommendations for applying best practices to make your workload more reliable, secure, efficient, and cost-effective.

You access the tool through the AWS Management Console. Check out AWS Cloud Basics to learn more about the console.

AWS Management Console with well entered in Find Services and AWS-Well Architected Tool highlighted with a red box

With the tool open, you then define your workload and answer a set of questions regarding operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, and cost optimization.



A workload is a collection of resources and code that make up a cloud application.

AWS Well-Architected Tool screen

The tool then provides a plan on how to architect for the cloud using established best practices.

Explore the Building Blocks for a Well-Architected Infrastructure

AWS offers services in the compute, storage, database, and networking categories that work together to support a complete workload. The rest of this module focuses on these services and uses cases.

An architecture diagram showing the Internet pointing to an Internet gateway network service in the AWS Cloud, connecting to an Elastic Compute Cloud web application, which is pointing to a Simple Storage Service bucket containing static content and an Amazon Relational Database Service.