VIAcode CEO Victor Mushkatin recently hosted a webinar for cloud developers and operations professionals to explore operational excellence in the context of the Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Framework and Azure Cloud Centers of Excellence.
In the webinar, Victor describes the role operational excellence plays within a comprehensive cloud optimization framework. He then shows Azure users how to prioritize operational excellence best practices, using product maturity as a guide.
Finally, Victor demonstrates how VIAcode applies the Well-Architected Framework’s principles to optimize operational excellence for the VIAcode Incident Management System (VIMS).
What is the Well-Architected Framework?
The Azure Well-Architected Framework is a set of best practices and guiding principles businesses can use to improve the quality of cloud workloads and applications. The framework is based on five fundamental pillars: cost optimization, operational excellence, performance efficiency, reliability, and security optimization.
The operational excellence pillar focuses on the day-to-day operation of a workload in the cloud. Its goal is to maximize application reliability and predictability through automation, efficient and effective development processes, and monitoring.
Despite the name, operational excellence principles aren’t entirely about ops. They can be broken down into development-focused and operations-focused principles. On the development side, they concern source control, continuous integration and deployment, testing, containers, and telemetry instrumentation. On the operations side, they include infrastructure as code, blue-green and canary deployments, governance, and monitoring and support.
As you can see, the Well-Architected Framework offers a comprehensive cloud optimization and management strategy. Business leaders often worry about the complexity of implementing such an extensive framework and whether they need to implement it all, not to mention the cost.
However, it’s not usually necessary to implement the framework’s every aspect. Businesses can and should prioritize, as Victor explains in the webinar’s next section.
Prioritizing for Operational Excellence
VIAcode recommends that businesses prioritize framework implementation according to the maturity of their cloud workload and their available resources. Product and process maturity often dictates which principles are applicable.
One way to think about product maturity is Geoffrey Moore’s Technology Adoption Lifecycle.
As your product matures, user expectations change. Innovators and early adopters understand the product is evolving rapidly, and they’re happy to work with you to solve problems. At this stage, you should be focused on implementing operational excellence tools that contribute to efficient development and fast iteration, such as source control, CI, and telemetry.
Later in the product life cycle, your customers are looking for a reliable solution, which leads to an increased focus on testing, infrastructure as code, monitoring, and support. Even further down the line, your solution becomes a truly mature product, at which point focus shifts to standardization and scale, implementing operational excellence principles such as feature flags, blue-green deployments, and governance.
There is a clear progression from project to product, allowing DevOps professionals to apply the aspects of the Well-Architected Framework that are most relevant to their business needs.
How VIAcode Approaches Operation Excellence in its Products
After explaining the Azure Well-Architected Framework’s operational excellence principles and how to prioritize their implementation, Victor provides some in-depth examples drawn from VIAcode’s development and operations experience on Azure. You can watch the webinar to learn how VIAcode successfully applied the Well-Architected Framework to its Azure-hosted products and processes.