Facebook LinkedIn Instagram Vimeo WeChat WhatsApp YouTube
Back to Blog

A guide to the Azure Well-Architected Framework - Part 2


Learn how the Azure Azure Well-Architected Framework (Azure WAF) can provide best-practice guidance on Reliability, Security, and Performance Efficiency, and how an Azure Well-Architected Review (WAR) can position your company for success.

Parallo’s Cloud Specialists are at the coalface, assisting customers as they scale and advising them on the best solutions for their challenges.

Part 1 of this guide covered the importance of two pillars of the Azure Framework – Cost Optimisation and Operational Excellence. Haven’t read it yet? Read A Guide to the Azure Well-Architected Framework – Part 1.  

Pillar 1: Reliability

It's a fact: excellent customer experience is key to retaining customers – which is critical for the growth of any software company. Why? An intermittently inaccessible app or a single severe outage can result in:

•    The loss of existing customers 
•    A significant revenue drop 
•    Damage to your reputation

While some level of failure is unavoidable with technical solutions, regardless of their hosting, it's important to strive for the most reliable solution possible. Often, system failures occur under peak load, which is the most inopportune time for downtime.

The Azure WAF Reliability pillar focuses on a workload's ability to function correctly and consistently. It outlines all the ‘reliability’ factors you need to consider and address, including:

•    High-availability solutions, like redundant multi-availability zone solutions
•    Disaster recovery solutions, ranging from multi-region architectures to active-passive recovery setups

Reliability is deeply connected to operational excellence. Operational excellence means being aware of and understanding the state of your environment. However, knowing when systems go down or behave poorly is just a piece of the puzzle. Companies need reliable systems that enable them to react appropriately when a technical failure occurs.  

The advantages of engaging specialists:

Parallo has successfully designed, implemented, and supported numerous customers to ensure their applications and systems stay online and available. With an understanding of a wide range of architectures, risk profiles, and cost considerations, we can help customers make well-informed decisions in this area.

Our Cloud Platform Management service not only reacts to incidents as they arise but also proactively identifies opportunities to reduce risk on a daily basis.

Customer Example
Merlot Aero, a global airline software provider, serves 33 airlines across 15 countries. Given its global customer base and the critical nature of its software, Merlot Aero needed to ensure the highest levels of service delivery and constant availability. Parallo managed Merlot Aero's Azure platform, optimising the infrastructure and considerably improving the overall service delivery. Read the full story here.

Pillar 2: Security

In today's digital landscape, most organisations face heightened security risks, especially software companies.

Software providers often host their applications and data in the cloud. Without proper and continuous cloud security practices, customers could be vulnerable to threats related to network security, user access controls, encryption, detection and response.

The security pillar outlines methods for leveraging cloud technologies to protect data, systems and assets and enhance security posture.

Often, we see companies concerned about compliance or regulation security concerns. However, most are unaware of the extent of their vulnerabilities until they start peeling back the cybersecurity onion layers.

By conducting an Azure WAF review we can identify common security issues like publicly accessible endpoints, unencrypted data, inadequate observability, or weak governance and access controls. We can then offer best-practice recommendations on the architectural changes, policies, or initiatives to bolster or enforce security practices within your environment.

The advantages of engaging specialists:

Software providers must continuously monitor for security threats and vulnerabilities, ensuring that their Azure architecture adheres to and aligns with established best practices. This requires a high level of expertise and capacity, which many software companies may find challenging to commit towards non-functional outcomes like security. 

Parallo has collaborated with customers from almost every industry, including highly regulated sectors like health, government and finance, offering specialised security services such as Security Posture Reporting, Security Assessments, security-centric architecture design, and Zero-Trust engagements.

Pillar 3: Performance Efficiency

Traditionally, self-hosted hardware solutions or those in less elastic private data centres operated on over-provisioned hardware. However, the public cloud offers the flexibility to scale infrastructure on-demand and adopt a pay-as-you-go model, which means that the provisioned infrastructure can be dynamically optimised to the workload’s requirements.

The Performance Efficiency pillar emphasises the use of computing resources to meet system requirements and maintain that efficiency as demand fluctuates and technologies advance. This involved embracing modern architecture patterns, often supported by cloud-first technologies, to improve application scalability and processing speed through methods like caching, queuing, and fanning asynchronous requests, as well as choosing appropriate storage and database solutions and implementing data compression.

Time and again, the focus comes back to maximising cost efficiency to enable fast growth, even when operating on tight margins. For software companies, scaling efficiently with a high-performance system while incurring costs only for the minimum infrastructure requirements is crucial.  

The advantages of engaging specialists:

Tightly linked to the pillars of Cost Optimization and Operational Excellence, Performance Efficiency necessitates ongoing assessment and enhancement informed by telemetry. Parallo offers specialized guidance on this data, drawing from its extensive experience in refining the architecture across various customer settings.

Closely linked to the pillars of Cost Optimisation and Operation Excellence, Performance Efficiency requires constant evaluation and optimisation informed by telemetry. Parallo offers expert guidance on this data based on our extensive experience in optimising the architecture across many customer environments. 

Optimise your cloud environment to maximise scalability

Parallo takes pride in being a top 10 global Microsoft Partner and an Azure Expert MSP Partner. Our team, with extensive experience from technical and leadership roles in SaaS companies, leverages that expertise to help scale your SaaS business.

You don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s why the Azure Framework is so important for ambitious software companies. “The framework gives you confidence that you’re consciously considering and addressing all the elements of the five pillars,” states Paul Ryan, Parallo Cloud Architect. “Without following something like the Azure Framework, you’re likely overlooking several elements.”

At Parallo, we’re proud to be a Top 10 global Microsoft Partner and Azure Expert MSP Partner. Our highly experienced team with extensive experience in technical and leadership roles for software companies, leverage that expertise to help you scale your business. 

Do you know the state of your cloud environment? Get in touch with the experts at Parallo today to discuss an Azure Well-Architected Review.