Cloud performance metrics

How to determine your cloud migration goals and KPIs

Reading time: about 6 min

We’re going to let you in on a secret about cloud migration: you can knock the technical aspects of a migration out of the park and still not make stakeholders happy. That’s because without knowing the goals of a migration you can’t truly be successful. There’s still security to worry about, end users to please, and team members whose jobs rely on app availability. 

We’ll show you how to determine cloud computing performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) around these benefits and offer you a list of popular KPIs to focus on so that you can not only perform a cloud migration, but prove how valuable that migration is to the business.

Why is it important to set KPIs for cloud migration services?

There was a reason—likely, several reasons—your business decided to migrate to the cloud. And it’s imperative to translate those reasons into KPIs for your cloud migration strategy so they can be measured. Beyond providing a measurement framework for goals, KPIs are also great for keeping track of the migration process. 

Since you’ll be setting up KPIs in advance of the beginning of the migration, they can also be used to get more stakeholders on board with the migration. Cloud migration is a complex process that costs quite a bit of time and money, so it’s important to have buy-in well in advance. 

Examples of cloud migration KPI categories

Now that you know why it’s important to establish KPIs, here are some examples of KPIs your business might use:

Compare costs: On-prem hardware is expensive. There are cooling costs, hardware costs, and labor costs. Then there are routine upgrade costs and the overhead of having a place to store that on-prem stuff in the first place. But cloud storage isn’t free, either. 

Customer benefits: How will you determine whether or not your cloud migration has benefited your end users? You could look at customer churn rate, shipping times, inventory management, and other KPIs.

User satisfaction: Your internal customers will likely experience changes to their app usage and performance. Measure this to determine if your team’s daily tasks are improved after the cloud migration.

Determine time to market: Customers have an ever-increasing need for computing power, and it’s nearly impossible to keep up with on-prem hardware. The cloud can help you meet the demands of bringing new features and apps to market much faster.

Setting cloud migration goals and KPIs

There are dozens of possible KPIs to focus on, so you won’t be able to measure everything. And different businesses will require different KPIs. Here’s a three-step process to start setting your cloud migration KPIs:

1. Determine migration reasons: To set cloud migration goals, you’ll first need to meet with stakeholders and determine why they decided to migrate to the cloud in the first place. It’s possible that some of their reasoning is unclear, so you’ll need to help them articulate this reasoning. This can be done in a brainstorming session during which stakeholders can list the reasons they initially wanted to adopt the cloud.

2. Refine your goals: Next, you’ll need to clarify what success would look like for each team. Would they have zero downtime? Endless storage? Keep track of this. You’ll also want to look at resistance to cloud migration and how to mitigate that resistance.

With your refined goals in hand, draft a list of potential KPIs.

3. Select your final KPIs: Finally, organize your KPIs by type and importance. If there are redundant KPIs, get rid of them. Compile the chosen KPIs and define each one. 

Types of KPIs

If your team has never participated in a cloud migration before, it’s possible they may be at a loss for what they should be measuring. It can be useful to have a list of common KPIs handy during your initial brainstorming session. There are essentially three different categories of KPIs for cloud migration projects:

  • Customer experience
  • Performance
  • Security 

Customer experience

These KPIs center around your customers’ interaction with your server. You may, for instance, look at:

  • Lag: If your cloud host is too far from your user, speeds will suffer. 
  • Errors: Track how many error messages your customer gets.

Net Promoter Scores are great for gathering insights into customer satisfaction. You can also look at polls, focus groups, and other feedback.

Performance

This measurement pits post-cloud migration performance against performance before the migration. Typical metrics include:

  • Load average: This measures CPU demand. It looks at whether the system’s load is an increasing or a decreasing trend.
  • Memory utilization: Memory is a finite resource. This KPI looks at how efficient your applications are.
  • CPU utilization: Again, CPU is a finite resource. A usage that’s close to 100% is an emergency.
  • Response times: This measures how quickly end users’ requests are completed. 
  • Uptime: No cloud hosting provider experiences 100% uptime. Measuring the uptime looks at how much time your cloud resources are available to end users.

Security

This is arguably the most important metric since a lack of security can undermine an entire business.  

  • Third-party services: Your digital footprint isn’t confined to just your immediate digital infrastructure. You’re also responsible for data that your contractors and other third parties have access to. This KPI tracks these collaborators so you can strengthen your security.
  • IOCs: IOCs, or Indicators of compromise, are red flags, and include things such as login anomalies, an increase in data read volume, and/or mobile setting changes. They mean a breach has taken place and they provide information about what happened. You can use this KPI to track IOCs after the migration as opposed to before.
  • Accessibility: If there were only one person who had access to your cloud data, the world would be much easier. But that’s not the case. S3 accessibility needs to be tightly managed to maintain control over your cloud.
  • Users: You may need to conduct a user audit that investigates the number of users that need access to your services or apps. Your internal users are usually your biggest risk to your digital infrastructure security.
  • Data exposure: This analyzes your servers and applications for vulnerabilities.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of KPIs, but they are a great starting place. Once you’ve determined which KPIs are most important to your business, you can begin measuring and monitoring. You can also use these KPIs to measure performance year over year, not just immediately before, during, or after the cloud migration. 

Cloud migration is much more complex than many businesses initially realize, so before beginning the process, spend a significant time not only analyzing your current processes, but determining how best to perform the migration. Designate a team specifically in charge of the migration that helps create and track the KPIs you’ve selected.

Cloud performance metrics

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