4 min to readCloud Services

Optimising basic operations on AWS

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Ivan NikolovSenior Cloud Engineer
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When you move to the cloud, it’s important to build a solid foundation for basic operations to make sure your business stays secure, efficient and cost effective. Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides a wealth of tools, services and resources to help you do this, starting with the AWS Well-Architected Framework.

The framework provides detailed guidance for optimising your cloud infrastructure, and is built on six pillars: operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, cost optimisation and sustainability.

The operational excellence pillar focuses on how to support your business objectives, run workloads effectively, gain insights into your operations and continuously improve in the cloud. Doing this means monitoring and managing your systems so you have visibility into how everything is working. With the right metrics and insights, you then have a wealth of AWS tools to help optimise how you manage applications, patches, performance, capacity, incidents and more.

Here at SoftwareOne, we can help customers deploy and configure the right tools when they migrate to AWS – or we can help optimise an existing setup if they’re already using AWS. We start with a deep dive into the requirements of stakeholders across the business, using both discussions and questionnaires, then develop a migration or implementation plan based on AWS best practices.

Among the tools we often use at this initial stage are an AWS Well-Architected review and the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP).

Essential AWS tools

For customers already on AWS, an AWS Well-Architected review can provide a high-level view of what tools and services they’re using, where systems aren’t properly configured and where there are gaps or unnecessary spending. We might discover, for example, that a business has enabled a service with empty dashboards they’re paying for but not using, or has configured alerts that are being sent to non-existent or disused mailboxes.

There are many other tools and services you can use to make sure your cloud presence is optimised for effective operations. Let’s look at how some of these can help your organisation.

AWS Systems Manager

The best place to start is with AWS Systems Manager, which is the operations hub for your AWS applications and resources. Using this, you can control how you manage incidents, configure applications, schedule maintenance windows and deploy patches, among other things. It provides you with a high-level view of all your workloads and comes with many no-cost features.

AWS Systems Manager offers a secure way to manage hybrid cloud environments, helping you to integrate your on-premises systems with your services on AWS. It allows you to automate activities like patching, freeing your engineers of time-consuming manual maintenance. You’ll have to put in a bit of effort upfront to configure it to meet your needs, but after that’s done, you’ll find that it’s highly effective for operating large-scale workloads efficiently.

AWS CloudTrail

With AWS CloudTrail, you can track your user account activity across AWS. It works by monitoring the API calls that are made directly to your various AWS services – no matter which AWS Regions these are active in – and providing a visualisation of this activity on a single console. In addition to helping you understand your user activity and events, AWS CloudTrail makes it easy to generate reports for internal audits and regulatory compliance, as well as watching for unusual account activity.

Amazon CloudWatch

Another useful tool is Amazon CloudWatch, which monitors your resource and application activity – not just on AWS, but on your on-premises infrastructure and any other cloud services you might use, too. You can customise Amazon CloudWatch to receive alarms for critical workloads and to notify relevant stakeholders about any abnormal activity within those workloads. You can also automate responses to different types of events: for example, it can automatically provision additional capacity for different services when usage reaches a specified level and then notify any stakeholders who need to know.


AWS X-Ray is a tool that lets you view requests for your applications, with low-code/no-code ways to visualise that data across APIs, payloads, services and more. This helps you to you analyse applications end to end, identify bottlenecks and debug issues causing performance degradation. You can also configure AWS X-Ray to meet your auditing requirements for security and compliance.

Other AWS services

You can use AWS Cloud Map to get a clear picture of what services you’re running across your different AWS accounts. And AWS Compute Optimizer can help you identify areas where you might be using too many – or too few – AWS resources. For instance, it can show whether you have under- or over-provisioned instances for compute capacity in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).

As you can see, AWS provides a wide range of tools to help you optimise your basic operations and your cloud presence. And it’s continually updating and adding new capabilities to give you even more control over your resource usage and costs. Put all of these together, and you have an extensive toolkit at your fingertips to continuously improve your processes and procedures to deliver real business value.

SoftwareOne has deep expertise in how to make the most of AWS to benefit your business. Do you need help or would like to learn more?

Reach out to our AWS experts

Read more about moving to the AWS cloud

Want to learn more? Look for all future blog posts that will go deeper into how to build a strong foundation for cloud modernisation. We'll focus on several key areas:

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Optimise your path to the cloud

Choose an experienced partner for your cloud transformation. Find out how SoftwareOne can help you start on a strong cloud foundation and accelerate your results.

Optimise your path to the cloud

Choose an experienced partner for your cloud transformation. Find out how SoftwareOne can help you start on a strong cloud foundation and accelerate your results.


A silhouette of a person on a white background.

Ivan Nikolov
Senior Cloud Engineer

AWS Certified Solutions Architect owning AWS Learning certifications in data protection and disaster recovery, serverless, storage core, file storage and object storage