Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Framework

The Azure Well-Architected Framework is a set of guiding tenets that you can use to improve the quality of a workload. The framework consists of five pillars of architectural excellence:

Incorporating these pillars helps produce a high quality, stable, and efficient cloud architecture:

Pillar Description
Reliability The ability of a system to recover from failures and continue to function.
Security Protecting applications and data from threats.
Cost optimization Managing costs to maximize the value delivered.
Operational excellence Operations processes that keep a system running in production.
Performance efficiency The ability of a system to adapt to changes in load.

To learn about how to architect successful workloads on Azure by using the Well-Architected Framework, watch this video:


The following diagram is a high-level overview of the Azure Well-Architected Framework:

Diagram of the Well-Architected Framework and supporting elements.

In the center is the Well-Architected Framework, which includes the five pillars of architectural excellence. Surrounding the Well-Architected Framework are six supporting elements:

Assess your workload

To assess your workload using the tenets found in the Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Framework, see the Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Review.

Screenshot of the Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Review.

We also recommend that you use Azure Advisor and Advisor Score to identify and prioritize opportunities to improve the posture of your workloads. Both services are free to all Azure users and align to the five pillars of the Well-Architected Framework:

  • Azure Advisor is a personalized cloud consultant that helps you follow best practices to optimize your Azure deployments. It analyzes your resource configuration and usage telemetry. It recommends solutions that can help you improve the reliability, security, cost effectiveness, performance, and operational excellence of your Azure resources. Learn more about Azure Advisor.

  • Advisor Score is a core feature of Azure Advisor that aggregates Advisor recommendations into a simple, actionable score. This score enables you to tell at a glance if you're taking the necessary steps to build reliable, secure, and cost-efficient solutions. It helps to prioritize the actions that yield the biggest improvement to the posture of your workloads. The Advisor Score consists of an overall score, which can be further broken down into five category scores corresponding to each of the Well-Architected pillars. Learn more about Advisor Score.


A reliable workload is both resilient and available. Resiliency is the ability of the system to recover from failures and continue to function. The goal of resiliency is to return the application to a fully functioning state after a failure occurs. Availability is whether your users can access your workload when they need to.

For more information about resiliency, watch the following video that shows you how to start improving the reliability of your Azure workloads:

Reliability guidance

The following resources offer guidance on designing and improving reliable Azure applications:

For an overview of reliability principles, see Reliability design principles.


Think about security throughout the entire lifecycle of an application, from design and implementation to deployment and operations. The Azure platform provides protections against various threats, such as network intrusion and DDoS attacks. You still need to build security into your application and into your DevOps processes.

Learn to ask the right questions about secure application development on Azure by watching the following video:

Security guidance

Consider the following broad security areas:

For more information, see Overview of the security pillar.

Cost optimization

When you design a cloud solution, focus on generating incremental value early. Apply the principles of Build-Measure-Learn to accelerate your time to market while avoiding capital-intensive solutions. See What is the build-measure-learn feedback loop.

For more information, see Cost optimization and watch the following video on how to start optimizing your Azure costs:

Cost guidance

The following resources offer cost optimization guidance as you develop the Well-Architected Framework for your workload:

For a high-level overview, see Overview of the cost optimization pillar.

Operational excellence

Operational excellence covers the operations and processes that keep an application running in production. Deployments must be reliable and predictable. Automate deployments to reduce the chance of human error. Fast and routine deployment processes don't slow down the release of new features or bug fixes. Equally important, you must be able to quickly roll back or roll forward if an update has problems.

For more information, watch the following video about bringing security into your DevOps practice on Azure:

Operational excellence guidance

The following resources provide guidance on designing and implementing DevOps practices for your Azure workload:

For a high-level summary, see Overview of the operational excellence pillar.

Performance efficiency

Performance efficiency is the ability of your workload to scale to meet the demands placed on it by users in an efficient manner. The main ways to achieve performance efficiency include using scaling appropriately and implementing PaaS offerings that have scaling built in.

For more information, watch Performance Efficiency: Fast & Furious: Optimizing for Quick and Reliable VM Deployments.

Performance efficiency guidance

The following resources offer guidance on how to design and improve the performance efficiency posture of your Azure workload:

For a high-level overview, see Overview of the performance efficiency pillar.

Next steps

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