Enhanced security and stability, reduced expenses and business risks, and greater agility and flexibility are what the cloud offers in this new normal. These are the handy exigencies when it comes to operating dynamically in the ever-changing terrain of doing business

Undoubtedly, cloud adoption has witnessed unprecedented growth. 67% of enterprise infrastructure is now cloud-based. And of course, the growth is fuelled by the growing need for cloud-native apps that must be highly performant and resilient. On average, enterprises deploy 1295 cloud services regularly, an increase of 26.7% in the past five years. However, business leaders are constantly looking for new and innovative solutions to refine growth with the cloud’s dynamic nature.

But how can enterprises ensure that their apps are architected in a way aligning with business needs and are cost-effective?

This is important to develop a methodology that fulfils the enterprise's expectations and requirements for the present and in the long run without fail. The correct approach is a framework that evaluates cloud blueprints via pre-defined metrics and standards, ensuring that the transformation is within industry-best practices.

This blog details two such frameworks and their difference from each other: Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) and Well Architected Framework (WAF).

What is Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF)?

CAF offers documentation, implementation guidance, best practices, and tools to facilitate the cloud adoption journey. Different cloud providers offer different versions of CAF-based strategies that guide how enterprises should the adopt cloud confidently.

Some key benefits of using CAF:

  1. It offers a baseline for cloud migration and supports enterprises to meet business goals on cloud.
  2. It provides a standard approach to execute migration plans successfully as well as implementing and optimizing them in a new cloud environment.
  3. It offers customized documentation and instructions for several instances, such as insights applicable to the specific operating model.

What is Well-Architected Framework (WAF)?

WAF aims to improve the quality of workloads and applications using a set of principles around the design and implementation of cloud services. Incorporating these best practices and guiding principles help produce a resilient, cost-effective, and high value cloud transformation.

Here're some benefits of WAF:

  1. It follows industry best practices to ensure an app running in the cloud is deployed and architected correctly.
  2. It empowers stakeholders with a set of capabilities to manage their own cloud transformation journey.
  3. It offers a consistent approach for inspecting workloads and identifying high-risk elements impacting business growth.

Comparing Key Frameworks of Major Cloud Providers

In this section, we will review how cloud adoption framework offered by leading cloud players-Microsoft, Azure, and Google, is different from a well-architected framework.

Microsoft Azure: CAF vs WAF

Any of the Azure frameworks allows organizations to follow architectural best practices to design and manage reliable, secure, and cost-effective systems on cloud.

In order to abide by the Azure Cloud Adoption Framework, an organization must follow seven key pillars:

  1. Strategy: Stating business justification along with desired outcomes while adopting the cloud.
  2. Plan: Aligning appropriate cloud adoption plans with business outcomes.
  3. Ready: Ensuring that the cloud environment is prepared for pre-planned technical or business changes.
  4. Adopt (Migrate/Innovate): Migrating and modernizing existing workloads or apps, or building new cloud-native or hybrid solutions.
  5. Govern: Properly governing the workloads and cloud environment.
  6. Manage: Managing major business operations for cloud and hybrid solutions.
  7. Organize: Collaborating associated teams and roles to support and facilitate the organization’s cloud adoption efforts.

Similarly, the Azure Well-Architected Framework incorporates the following pillars to develop a highly resilient and fail-proof cloud architecture:

  1. Reliability: This defines a system’s capability to recover from failures and perform steadily.
  2. Security: This secures apps from malware while preventing data from breaches and vulnerabilities.
  3. Cost Optimization: This handles operational and infra expenses to maximize the business value.
  4. Operational Excellence: This keeps a system functioning in the production phase with optimized operational processes.
  5. Performance Efficiency: This is a system’s ability to adapt to changes in load.

While Azure’s WAF targets specific workloads and instructs at the workload level to validate architectural decisions are made wisely, its CAF focuses on the portfolio level which means delivering a well-managed operating model across the portfolios.

Amazon Web Services: CAF vs WAF

From transforming a business digitally to improving cloud readiness, the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework uses the following best practices:

  1. Business: Supporting stakeholders to gain the knowledge required to educate their IT staff while modernizing organizational processes to achieve maximum business values.
  2. People: Guiding business managers in developing their people, and technical capabilities while making their communications better.
  3. Governance: Instructing stakeholders assigned the duty of implementing technology for improved business processes as well as assisting them to manage cloud investments.
  4. Platform: Supporting stakeholders to fortify the business processes for optimized cloud and services while strengthening revenue streams.
  5. Security: Streamlining core business procedures while ensuring that architecture has adhered to security and compliance requirements.
  6. Operations: Transforming business processes for a healthy cloud adoption journey while functioning with agile cloud best practices.

Similarly, the AWS Well-Architected Framework counts on following best practices for resilient and sustainable systems.

  1. Operational Excellence: A system’s ability to develop and run workloads while improving operational processes and procedures for best business values.
  2. Security: A system’s ability to protect data, apps, and core assets from threats while improving enterprises’ security postures.
  3. Reliability: A workload’s ability to function as intended continuedly including operating and validating workloads through their lifecycles.
  4. Performance Efficiency: Employing the computing resources according to system requirements while maintaining their efficiencies as demand changes.
  5. Cost Optimization: A system’s ability to deliver the best ever business values at optimized cost.

While AWS CAF focuses on organizational capabilities for fruitful cloud transformation, its WAF provides industry-standard best practices to optimize the way enterprises produce and maintain apps on the AWS cloud.

Google Cloud Platform: CAF vs AF

Google’s Cloud Architecture Framework offers recommendations and standardized best practices to design and operate a cloud topology in a cost-effective way.

The framework is categorized into six pillars:

  1. System design: Defining the architecture, modules, and data required to build a cloud system and comprehending GCP products and features supporting system design.
  2. Operational Excellence: Implementing, monitoring, and managing business-critical workloads on the cloud efficiently and more effectively.
  3. Security, Privacy, and Compliance: Ensuring data and workloads security in the cloud and aligning them with global compliance requirements.
  4. Reliability: Operating highly resilient and available workloads in the cloud.
  5. Cost Optimization: Maximizing business values of cloud investments.
  6. Performance Optimization: optimizing cloud resources for best performance.

Similarly, in order to drive innovation and establish a foundation based on people, processes, and technology, Google’s Cloud Adoption Framework comes with three phases and four themes.

Here are the three phases:

  1. Tactical: Individual systems are in place but lacks with a fail-proof strategy. Reducing the cost of individual systems by migrating them to the cloud without any disruption.
  2. Strategic: Governing multiple workloads while focusing on future needs and scale with an efficient IT team.
  3. Transformational: With a well-running of cloud operations, amalgamating the data and insights obtained from working with cloud environments to transform technological changes in the cloud.

Here are the four themes:

  1. Learn: Assessing the existing learning plans to upskill technical teams as well as an ability to connect with experienced partners to bridge knowledge gaps.
  2. Lead: Determining the extent to which IT teams are supported by leaders for a successful cloud migration. Additionally, IT teams must be cross-functional, and collaborative.
  3. Scale: Ensuring that an organization uses cloud-native services that diminish operational costs while automating processes.
  4. Secure: An ability to protect business services from unauthorized access with a multi-layered, identity-centric security model.

While Google CAF is applicable to apps specifically built for the cloud as well workloads migrated from on-prem to Google Cloud, its architected framework targets on increasing business values delivered by IT while securing and optimizing cloud workloads.

Find Your Right Cloud Architecture Framework with Cloud4C

Today multiple enterprises are experiencing major roadblocks in migrating and modernizing their technology stack. How could they choose which architecture framework is appropriate for their businesses?

Modernizing infra, apps, and platforms using cloud technology is only achievable with the vendor providing comprehensive cloud capabilities accordingly.

Cloud4C is a leading application-focused multi-cloud managed services provider with deep expertise in mission-critical workloads migration and business transformation. As a global Cloud MSP, we thrive with a pool of certified cloud experts who work dedicatedly to make your cloud adoption journey painless. We evaluate the client’s architecture for security and compliance and provide remedial actions. We deploy suitable frameworks governed by 40+ security controls and best practices to build and transit several workloads to the cloud. Connect with us for a free assessment of your cloud infrastructure.

author img logo
Ravi Tank

Senior Vice President – Cloud Practice, Cloud4C

With more than two decades of experience in IT Infrastructure development, modernization and Managed Services, Ravi has held a variety of leadership roles.  He has played a key role in setting up nation-wide networks for leading ISPs in India and SaaS services for US federal agencies. Ravi also steers the wheel of modernization by developing hybrid cloud adoption and transformation framework.

author img logo
Ravi Tank

Senior Vice President – Cloud Practice, Cloud4C

With more than two decades of experience in IT Infrastructure development, modernization and Managed Services, Ravi has held a variety of leadership roles.  He has played a key role in setting up nation-wide networks for leading ISPs in India and SaaS services for US federal agencies. Ravi also steers the wheel of modernization by developing hybrid cloud adoption and transformation framework.

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