Our blog

How the AWS Well-Architected Framework Helped Scale Up InterMiles

How the AWS Well-Architected Framework Helped Scale Up InterMiles

As the ongoing shift towards cloud gathers pace, there is a need for companies to get both insights into how their investments are performing and, importantly, where they can be improved. And while recent industry research suggests that there are defined Leaders and Laggards in cloud adoption, it should come as no surprise that Amazon Web Services can provide the information that is required. 

AWS Well-Architected Review (WAR) is a framework designed to provide high-level best practices and guidance to optimize how an organization builds and maintains its applications in the AWS cloud. In addition, the AWS Well-Architected framework helps clients build secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient infrastructure for their applications and workloads. 

What is AWS WAR? 

At its core, the AWS WAR defines key concepts, design principles, and architectural best practices for designing and running workloads in the AWS cloud. These are based upon Five Pillars of SuccessOperational Excellence, Security, Reliability, Performance Efficiency and Cost Optimization. These pillars remain the foundations for the framework and are effectively set in stone.  

With that in mind, let us look at Apexon integrates the AWS WAR into our cloud offerings.  

Apexon AWS Well-Architected Review framework is based on the stated five pillars of success, all of which provide a consistent method for not only evaluating and remediating systems bit also ensuring that the organizations are getting the most from their AWS cloud environment. 

 These actions can be seen in the table below:
Apexon AWS Well-Architected Review framework
The Five Pillars of Success 

What is the Apexon AWS WAR process? 

Apexon is a long-time AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and an expert in building secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient cloud infrastructure for applications and workloads in the AWS environment. 

The visual below gives an overview of how we utilize AWS WAR to provide successful outcomes: 
overview of how we utilize AWS WAR

In addition, Apexon is an accredited AWS Well-Architected Partner and has developed a proven 10-step process for conducting effective Well-Architected Reviews with AWS customers.

These steps flow in a logical progression and can be defined as follows;

STEP 1 – Stakeholder Interviews to understand business requirements

STEP 2 – Self-Assessment using AWS architectural tool to gather all relevant information

STEP 3 – Architectural Review to understand environment and dependencies

STEP 4 – Well-Architected Review (WAR) Pillar Prioritization to focus resources where needed

STEP 5 – Current Workload State Assessment to understand requirements

STEP 6 – Standards Review to ensure guidelines are being met

STEP 7 – Risk Identification to assess the potential impact on the business

STEP 8 – Architectural Tool Notes to inventory services used

STEP 9 – Due Diligence leveraging AWS tools, e.g., nOps, CloudConformity

STEP 10 – Statement of Work (SOW) with Short (0-1 month), Medium (1-3 months), and Long-Term (3-6 months) improvement plans/deliverables

Apexon Well-Architected Review Implementation Roadmap

Apexon Well-Architected Review Implementation Roadmap

Apexon AWS WAR – a Real-World Example

Apexon recently performed AWS Well-Architected framework review for one of our clients, InterMiles. The company is a travel and lifestyle reward program that uses a ubiquitous currency – also called InterMiles – to help its more than ten million members realize their travel and lifestyle aspirations.

The InterMiles rewards program empowers members to earn and redeem these “InterMiles” across a vast network of global program partners, from airline and hotel bookings, shopping, dining, fuel, and more. InterMiles’ appeal is based on its ability to offer a more unique, comprehensive and rewarding (no pun intended) loyalty program in the form of both rewards and an engaging digital experience.

As InterMiles continued to grow, it became aware of a need for a scalable and cost-effective cloud-native option for their compute workload. Increased brand awareness is usually a sign of success and the company started to experience spikes in the usage patterns depending upon what was happening in its marketing campaign activity.

Such a sudden change in user activities required a solution that could scale up and down with that demand. As the company was built on delivering rewards, it was critical to provide end users with an optimal performance of their loyalty management platform to improve lifetime member value.

With these challenges continuously re-shaping their business optimization strategy, InterMiles was looking to introduce a mechanism that could regularly evaluate workloads, identify high-risk issues, enhance task prioritization and record where these improvements were being made. In addition, one of the main challenges was innovating faster and maintaining control over rising digital solution costs, compliance and security requirements.

Fortunately, InterMiles was a long-time AWS customer and wanted to build on its existing AWS environment. Being a valued customer of AWS, the company had envisioned improving visibility and operations at scale across resources, data and applications in a dynamic cloud environment. The Loyalty Management Platform was one of the key products, and keeping it well-architected, performant and secure was crucial to engage customers, improve lifetime value and enrich their experience.

When Apexon started working with InterMiles in 2019, the engagement covered multiple aspects of the new mobile experience, starting with assessing the situation and developing the strategy. Apexon introduced AWS Well-Architected Framework (WAR Program) to InterMiles, with the intention being to address the digital challenges that the company was facing.

By analyzing a set of foundational questions, the Apexon team helped InterMiles identify how well its architecture aligns with cloud best practices and provided guidance for making improvements.

What We Did

In this case, Apexon analyzed some of the key pillars of the AWS WAR program. These results were as follows:

  • Operational Excellence Pillar
    • The key focus area was running and monitoring systems to deliver business value and continually improve processes and procedures.
    • More than two high-risk issues were identified and fixed concerning configuration management solutions.
  • Security Pillar
    • The key focus area was on protecting information and systems.
    • More than three high-risk issues were identified and fixed to reduce an Annual Expectancy Cost that could be impacted by security breaches.
  • Reliability Pillar
    • The key focus area was on ensuring a workload performs its intended function correctly and consistently when it’s expected to.
    • Identified and fixed more than three high-risk issues with respect to disaster recovery architecture.
  • Performance Efficiency Pillar
    • The key focus area was on using IT and computing resources efficiently.
    • Identified and fixed more than three high-risk issues pertaining to application performance workflow.
  • Cost Optimization Pillar
    • The key focus area was on avoiding unnecessary costs.
    • Identified and fixed several high-risk issues with respect to cost-intensive resources by tagging and using optimization techniques.

Workload Analysis of 5 Pillars for InterMiles
Workload Analysis of 5 Pillars for InterMiles

The Impact

Apexon’s AWS WAR identified and fixed high-risk issues concerning Performance, Operations, Reliability, Security, and Cost.

The direct impact of these activities was a significant improvement in customer engagement and lifetime value. In fact, Apexon employed new AWS services to address high-risk issues observed during the discovery phase. In addition, Apexon enabled continuous monitoring and automation of tasks with a high impact on mission-critical functions.

Delivering Actionable Insights

Apexon is among a select few AWS advanced consulting partners worldwide that have been approved as a certified AWS Well-Architected Partner. Being a partner means that we can provide deep AWS knowledge and hands-on experience architecting, building, migrating, and optimizing architectures that follow the AWS Well-Architected Framework.

It should be noted that while AWS’ Well-Architected Framework is a powerful tool, the framework itself is only a starting point. To date, Apexon has already delivered several reviews, helping customers obtain actionable insight into their environment’s security, reliability and performance, as well as their cloud operations and return on cloud spend.

Our approach incorporates automatic feedback loops and encourages active involvement from all stakeholders. These methods also keep underlying AWS-guiding principles 100% intact to deliver significant cost-saving, resiliency, performance, operational efficiency and security on a constant basis. at all times.

And while actionable insights should always be the goal, companies that take a proactive attitude to improvement in their cloud investments will inevitably come out on top.

Wherever you are in your digital journey, Apexon can guide and augment your team with expertise in different digital ecosystem areas. To find out  more please submit your request on AWS or fill out the form below to schedule your AWS Well-Architected review today.

Interested in our Cloud Services?

Contact Apexon +1 408-727-1100

By submitting this form, you agree that you have read and understand Apexon’s Terms and Conditions. You can opt-out of communications at any time. We respect your privacy.