Design Principles for the 5 Pillars of Azure Well-Architected Framework

azure well architected framework

The Azure Well-Architected Framework is a set of best practices to help design, test, and monitor the Azure cloud. Azure’s internal team built these principles after studying various patterns from cloud costs to security.

Resources that meet Azure Well-Architected best practices are more likely to recover from failures while adapting to changes in workloads. The principles provide a solid foundation for anyone using the Azure infrastructure. As a result, users can get applications that resist common cyberattacks.

This set of best practices ensures Azure systems continue running with minimal interruption. Here’s a description of the five main pillars of Azure’s Well-Architected Framework:

Five Pillars of the Azure Well-Architected Framework

Azure’s documentation has a detailed explanation of testing and monitoring each pillar. This article highlights key practices to help you design a good application.

Cost Optimization

Cost optimization is the main architectural pillar for almost any cloud user. Even though the primary way of optimizing costs is to downsize resources, Azure users have to ensure that their cost-optimization options do not affect performance. This pillar also keeps cloud costs in control by eliminating possible cost spikes and bill shock.

Azure uses the pay-as-you-go model to help you pay for what you use. Azure also has pricing calculators, budgeting tools, and reporting tools to help you set and manage your cloud spend.

Design Principles for Cost-Optimization

  • Select the Right Resources: Azure recommends using compute-optimized and storage-optimized resources. These services will give you the best value for your budget.
  • Have A Flexible Budget: Azure users should also understand how an increase in performance affects costs. A fixed budget may only work with short-term workloads. As a best practice, plan for scale early enough.
  • Use Dynamic Allocation: Azure bills may vary from month to month. Instead of allocating your cloud budget equally, use dynamic allocation to spend more on the most productive time of the year.
  • Optimize Workloads: Always terminate zombie resources, as these will reflect on your cloud bill. You can also reconfigure resources with low utilization.
  • Use Real-Time Monitoring: Always do frequent cost audits to know the health status of your cloud. Azure has real-time monitoring tools that can notify you of any cost spikes.


Cyberattacks are getting more sophisticated and difficult to counter. Azure’s Security pillar helps to counter the evolving nature of cyberattacks. Azure’s documentation provides best practices for both new and advanced cloud users. You can enhance security by practicing sound cyber hygiene. These include using encryption, IAM policies, setting strong passwords, and regulating inbound traffic.

Design Principles for Security Pillar

  • Use Least-Privileged Access: Azure allows you to set policies that limit the freedom to use resources. You can prevent data exfiltration by configuring rules that allow access to only authorized users.
  • Encrypt Information: Use end-to-end encryption to secure communication between cloud users.
  • Plan for Disaster Response: Have a control center to anticipate an incoming cyber threat. Implement recommendations from security audits to minimize the spread of an incoming attack.
  • Protect Transition Nodes: Azure recommends classifying information according to risk. Use micro-segmentation techniques to protect each cluster of data.


Implement these best practices to have applications end-users can rely on:

  • Design for the Customer: Ensure that your applications solve an urgent problem. Azure recommends using an interface that allows users to find what they’re looking for easily. Always meet or exceed user requirements as agreed in the SLA (service level agreement).
  • Have Robust Applications: Your infrastructure should easily anticipate what the user wants and help them correct mistakes. Use predefined Azure remediation processes to help in the self-healing of crashed applications.
  • Automate Solutions Flaws: Use Azure’s horizontal and vertical scaling to ensure 99% availability.

Performance Efficiency

Using progressive web apps can help your cloud applications perform as god as naïve apps. Some common design principles include:

  • Use media query and viewport technology to make responsive web applications on mobile, tablet, and desktop clients.
  • Ensure your desktop applications run on all browsers.
  • Setup performance metrics and run tests to evaluate performance against set metrics.
  • Use data and recommendations from monitoring tools to help increase performance.

Operational Excellence

The operational excellence pillar keeps applications running without disruptions.

Some best practices involve:

  • Using continuous development and continuous integration to produce quality applications consistently
  • Always conduct disaster recovery operations and optimize applications after frequent testing
  • Use a good hierarchy to minimize complexity in code
  • Automatically increase the allocation of resources as demand increases

To achieve Azure’s well-architected framework, you have to implement hundreds of action items manually.

The Bottom Line

The Azure Well-Architected Framework allows you to build and deploy resources that are secure, reliable, low cost, high performing, and resilient. It ensures your applications meet

nOps operates on the Azure Well-Architected Framework to help users achieve cost optimization, security and compliance, and more. nOps helps you to check your cloud resources against the Well-Architected best practices to ensure you are running robust workloads.

Start your nOps free trial today to get started, or schedule a demo to see it in action!