In 2012 Philip "Fitz" Fitzsimons started the Well-Architected initiative as he explains in his blog. In this blog Fitz references Roman Architect Vitruvius Pollio and Henry Harrison Suplee, who in his view formed the basis for architecture reuse.
Both authors wrote books that captured the current knowledge on design principles and best practices (in architecture and engineering) to improve awareness and adoption.
Design principles and best practices form the basis for Well-Architected. The initiative was started to share best practices for architecting in the cloud. AWS Architect start writing and sharing architectures that were cloud native.
During Re:Invent 2015 Amazon CTO Dr. Werner Vogels announce the white paper AWS Well-Architected Framework.
Where frameworks like TOGAF and Zachman concentrate on a centralized enterprise architecture capability. AWS prefers to distribute capabilities into teams rather than having a centralized team with that capability. The Well-Architected Framework therefor talks about practices and mechanisms which should be adopted by all teams.
The white paper describes the 4 pillars of:
- Performance efficiency
- Cost Optimization
In September 2016 Enterprise support customers get access to the Well-Architected Review.
Delivered by an AWS Solutions Architect, the review provides guidance and best practices on the four pillars of the Framework.
The Framework introduces Operational Excellence as the fifth pillar. This pillar looks at the ability to run and monitor systems to deliver business value and to continually improve supporting processes and procedures.
During Re:Invent 2017 Well-Architected Partner Program was announced. With this program the conduction of the Well-Architected review was moved to the AWS partner network. AWS partners were now responsible to carry out the review instead of the AWS solutions architects.
At the moment 31 partners were selected Launch Partners.
On the global movement of decarbonization AWS announced during Re:Invent 2021 the 6th Pillar of the Well-Architect Framework. The Sustainability Pillar focusses on the environmental footprint of your workload. It introduces the Shared Responsibility Model of Cloud Sustainability.