Microsoft has recently unveiled an extensive overhaul of its Well-Architected Framework (WAF), a system designed for the creation and operation of optimized workloads on Azure.

The WAF from Microsoft encompasses a collection of quality-focused principles, key architectural decision points, and evaluation tools. These elements are crafted to aid solution architects in constructing a solid technical foundation for their workloads. The revamped framework not only furnishes guidance for making architectural trade-offs but also provides more precise instructions on how to implement this guidance within the organizational context.

Microsoft’s Corporate VP, Uli Homann, highlights the significant effort put into the refresh, stating that over the past six months, cloud solution architects at Microsoft have updated the Well-Architected Framework based on insights gained from over 10,000 engagements that utilized the WAF and its assessment. All five pillars of the framework now adhere to a common structure comprising design principles, design review checklists, trade-offs, recommendation guides, and cloud design patterns.

The design principles lay out goal-oriented foundations for the workload, the design review checklist offers codified recommendations to drive action, and the trade-offs delineate trade-offs with other pillars. Recommendation guides are linked to one or more design review checklists, and Cloud design patterns furnish designs based on proven common architecture patterns.

This refresh is specifically targeted at the “Core Well-Architected Review” option as part of the Well-Architected Review assessment, aligning with the new content structure in the Well-Architected Framework. Additionally, every question in every pillar now corresponds to the design review checklist for that pillar, with choices for the questions correlating to the recommendation guides for the related checklist item.

Stephen Sumner, an Architecture Content Lead at Microsoft, elucidates in an Azure Architecture blog that the assessment updates focus on universal workload design best practices. The assessment is applicable to any workload on any platform, not limited to those on Azure. It delves into more aspects of the workload at a deeper technical level.

Sumner further notes that the assessment now provides 20+ additional unique recommendations (totaling 375), compared to the previous version. Despite the increased recommendations, there are 124 fewer choices to navigate, resulting in more tailored guidance with reduced input requirements.

Notably, other major cloud providers like AWS and Google also offer platform-specific well-architected frameworks. AWS, in particular, recently underwent updates and restructuring of its Well-Architected Framework.