What are the frameworks used for?

Recently I’ve done quite a bit of work on the Azure Well-Architected framework (WAF) as part of my role in the Technical Strategy team. Working on WAF also meant that I needed to revisit the Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF).

Both of these frameworks are commonly used to structure customer and partner conversations around cloud adoption at Microsoft, so this is how I had come across them while working in various different Microsoft field roles.

The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure is proven guidance that’s designed to help create and implement the business and technology strategies for cloud adoption.
The framework provides best practices, documentation, and tools that cloud architects, IT professionals, and business decision makers need to successfully achieve their short- and long-term objectives.

The Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Framework is a set of guiding tenets that can be used to improve the quality of a workload. This framework is built on five pillars of architectural best practices for cloud workloads.

One question that comes up frequently is when to use which framework.

When to use which framework?

In my opinion a good way to differentiate between the two is based on the language that is used around the customer engagement. Whenever we talk about an estate, a platform, a scalalble set of templates, or a portfolio, then CAF will most likely contain the appropriate guidance.

CAF comes with great guidance on how to achieve good practice at scale. This enables businesses to run sustainable cloud operations.

Well-Architected – on the other hand – is all about the workload. If you are not familiar with the term “workload” you might use other words like solution, application, or deployment. The way I like to think about it is “the components that are required to make a cloud application work”.

The guidance in WAF enables you to build high-quality workloads on Azure. There is also a set of reviews that can be used to check whether a workload complies with the best practices around cost, performance, and other areas of WAF. Best practices that are learned once can then be applied to workloads that may be built in future.

At first glance it might seem like there is quite a bit of crossover, but there is usually one framework that fits the scenario much better than the other.

You can find out more about the pillars of either framework and when which framework is applied here.

My role when it comes to Well-Architected

I look after the Well-Architected Operational Excellence pillar as well as several associated field offerings. This includes some cross-pillar offerings too.