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A guide to the Azure Well-Architected Framework - Part 1


Parallo works directly with customers to design and develop well-architected cloud workloads. Here is how it can help ambitious software companies get to market faster – without blowing budgets.

The Azure WAF is a set of guiding principles that improve the quality of a workload. The framework comprises five pillars: Reliability, Security, Cost Optimisation, Operational Excellence and Performance Efficiency. Together, these pillars produce high-quality, secure and efficient cloud architecture.

Your software company wants to release a product to the market.

So, why is the Azure WAF so important?

We believe the most important reason is you’re following Microsoft’s best practices.

This has two benefits:

1. Time efficiency

Traditionally, this would involve various stages of planning and scouting hardware vendors. Once you have the budget, you place your order and hopefully receive your delivery within a few months (sometimes, it can take up to a year). Then, you install the hardware and start loading your software. At some point, you can finally start to think about launching your product.

“That whole life cycle could take a few years to complete,” Sean Li (Parallo Cloud Architect) explains. “With cloud platforms like Azure, you can deploy the infrastructure as you need it, allowing software companies to release several production versions to market quickly.”

But how does one begin this journey? The Azure WAF helps software companies leverage Azure cloud capabilities to achieve time efficiency in various product development and deployment processes.

2. Cost efficiency

That traditional build and launch method also requires upfront infrastructure investment, which can hamstring you for the next two decades. With a cloud platform like Azure, you can pay for the infrastructure you need now at a minimal cost. This is especially important for software companies operating on tight margins.

The Azure WAF is essential for cost efficiency because it gives software companies a structured approach to managing costs and optimising spend in your cloud environment.

An overview of the Cost Optimisation and Operational Excellence pillars

Pillar 1: Cost Optimisation

When you design a cloud solution, you want to focus on generating incremental value early. That means accelerating your time to market while avoiding budget-draining solutions.

However, migrating to the cloud doesn’t necessarily guarantee full cost efficiency. Implementing cost-efficiency practices across the company is critical to help maximise profitability for a software company.

Here’s a scenario where an Azure WAF contributes to designing a cost-effective solution. A growing software company has decided to modernise its workload by migrating its core platform to Azure. The company wants to optimise costs while delivering an efficient and reliable customer experience.

In this scenario, the Azure WAF is pivotal in helping this software company optimise costs while modernising its workload. By following the guidance on resource selection, auto-scaling, cost management tools, and reserved instances, they can ensure that their modernised core platform operates efficiently and cost-effectively in the Azure cloud. This ultimately enables them to deliver an enhanced customer experience while maintaining control over their cloud expenses.

But, there are labour costs to consider, too:

“After you make those decisions, you’ll need an expert to help you design and implement them. There are two options: hire people or find a trusted and global Microsoft partner specialising in ISV or SaaS category to fill the gaps,” Sean advises.

Customer Example

Like many fast-growing software businesses, our customers are laser-focused on developing their products, acquiring new customers, and optimising costs. But they also need infrastructure support from a trusted partner with a strong track record of implementing and managing Azure environments. With one customer, we worked with their team over six months to implement several cost-saving initiatives, reducing overall costs by $87 per day or 45%.

Interested in exactly how we did this? Reach out to our team, we’re happy to have a chat.


Pillar 2: Operational Excellence

Production launch is not the end of your cloud-native platform journey. On the contrary – it’s the beginning. After you finish your production launch, you’ll switch your focus to operating your infrastructure on a daily basis, and there are many tasks involved, including:

  • Operation as code: Implementing and maintaining your infrastructure through code, ensuring consistency and efficiency in your operations.
  • Disaster recovery: Creating robust disaster recovery plans to safeguard your application against unforeseen events.
  • Auto-scaling, monitoring and alerting: Fine-tuning your system to automatically adjust resources based on demand, while proactively monitoring and responding to potential issues.
  • Application performance management: Ensuring optimal performance and responsiveness for a seamless user experience.
  • Log management: Efficiently collecting, analysing, and storing logs for troubleshooting, auditing, and compliance.
  • Regular infrastructure updates: Keeping your technology stack and dependencies up to date to mitigate vulnerabilities and maintain security.

Operational Excellence covers the operations and processes that keep an application running in production. If you’re a larger, more established software company, you may be able to establish your own team tasked with daily operational tasks.

But, for software companies with tight budgets, this isn’t likely an option. Instead, work with a trusted and global Microsoft Azure partner.

“When choosing a partner, ensure it’s a certified Azure Expert Managed Service Provider. This signifies their expertise in designing and implementing Well-Architected workloads and effectively managing your infrastructure’s daily operational tasks” says Sean.

Experts in helping software companies scale effectively

The Well-Architected Framework offered by Azure is a methodical approach informed by best practices, resulting in reliable, efficient and secure application infrastructure. At Parallo, we’re proud to be a Global Azure Premier Consulting Partner, our highly experienced team members cut their teeth working in technical and leadership roles for other software companies. That expertise is what we use to help you scale your software business.


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