Cloud Migration: Measuring Success

August 11, 2022
Cloud, Data Migration


In the business world, the success of many initiatives is based on return on investment (ROI). The problem is that people tend to measure ROI based solely on dollar figures. When the initiative is a cloud migration, there’s much more to consider than cost in determining if it’s a success. That’s why using key performance indicators (KPIs) may be the better approach.

KPIs are the metrics used to gauge the completion of business-critical goals. For many organizations, a successful cloud migration is a key goal. While determining cloud migration success may involve achieving specific cost-related criteria, many other factors may be equally – if not more – important. KPIs help define those factors and gauge if achieving the business objectives associated with them are met.


Setting Business Objectives

Measuring cloud migration success with KPIs starts with setting business objectives. Consider what problems are expected to be solved by a cloud migration. Are they realistically achievable? What are the anticipated benefits? How do the objectives help meet or at least make progress towards meeting the company’s overall strategic objectives? What specific business requirements must be met? What are the drivers behind the cloud migration initiative?

Every organization has its own reasons for undertaking a cloud migration. For some, it’s a prerequisite or accelerator for digital transformation. For others, the move is driven by desired cost savings. Still, others see it as a necessary step for enabling greater innovation, productivity, efficiencies, or competitiveness. In most cases, there are multiple business goals driving a move to the cloud whether it entails moving everything or just a few selected workloads.

Moving to the cloud also affects various stakeholder groups differently, something that must be considered when setting business objectives. IT may have its view on what they should be. The C-suite has its perspective. But don’t forget about operations, finance, human resources, and other departments, as well as business units and particularly end users.

It's particularly important to include end users across all areas of the company, as well as across all facilities and geographies. Location and local company culture both influence business needs and goals. It’s fine for one group to take the initial pass at setting business objectives but success will be more likely if input is included from throughout the entire organization.

Free eBook: On-Premise vs the Cloud: Comparing Costs and Making the Move


Common Cloud Migration KPIs

To declare that a cloud migration is successful, the business objectives must be met. How do you determine if that’s the case? This is where KPIs come into play. KPIs serve as your success metrics. The following are among the most important ones to use in assessing the success of a cloud migration.


Application Performance

    Application performance metrics are the data collected from applications that tell you about the overall health of a system. When migrating systems to the cloud, you should be able to tell whether or not your systems are healthy because it is of utmost importance that your systems are either working the same or even better. Any degradation in performance is a sign that your migration was not successful which then requires you to troubleshoot or revert as necessary.

    Among the application performance metrics to consider:

    • Application availability, which is a matter of uptime and the downtime. Uptime represents the percentage of time an application is available and running without any issues. Downtime is the percentage of time the application is unavailable and not functional.
    • Response Time, the amount of time it takes to complete an individual transaction. It’s recommended that you measure both average response time, the average response time over a specified period of time, and peak response time, which indicates the longest recorded response time within a specified period of time.
    • Error Rate, which is the percentage of the number of requests that result in an error over a specified period of time. It is that one metric that tells you outright whether or not a system or application has successfully been migrated. Your application may be showing as available but if the error rate is too high, it clearly tells you that something is wrong.


    Infrastructure Performance

    Whether you go with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (SaaS), you need to understand your systems from a holistic view. This requires measuring network performance and server performance.

    For network performance, the key metrics to consider include:

    • Network availability
    • Network connectivity
    • Network security
    • Network bandwidth
    • Latency

    For server performance, look at:

    • CPU utilization
    • Memory utilization
    • Disk utilization


    User Experience

    Don’t underestimate the value of these metrics. Many business objectives either tie directly into user experience or are influenced by the needs of users. The following are common user experience metrics:

    • System usability indicates if the application or a system is available and functioning as expected.
    • HTTP Response Time is the time it takes to complete an HTTP request.
    • Page Load Time is the time it takes for a page to display all content on a web page.
    • Error rate shows how many requests to the application ended with some type of error status code compared to the number of requests that ended with a problem.
    • Logged exceptions shows the number of logged and unhandled application errors.
    • Thrown exceptions shows the total number of exceptions that have been thrown.
    • Latency shows how much time is passed between a user request and the application response.
    • Customer satisfaction scores measure user experience and satisfaction and can be obtained through usability tests, feedback surveys, polls, interviews, and focus groups.


    Security

    Security metrics aren’t just important for determining cloud migration success. They’re critical to protecting your organization’s data, applications, systems, and overall operations. Among the metrics to consider:

    • Data exposures, which show the number of a server's or application's data protection weaknesses and inadequacies.
    • Network I/O, which shows the average utilization of network bandwidth for network devices.
    • Indicators of compromise (IOCs), which shows the number of unusual activities that represent a potentially malicious activity on a network, server, or application.
    • Third-party services, which tracks contractors and other third parties that have access to your systems so you can strengthen your security.
    • Users, which entails conducting an audit to understand how many users are accessing your systems or applications, and what information or resources they access during each session.


    Other Metrics

    There are many other metrics that can be used to measure cloud success. They include: financial metrics, technology metrics, process metrics, and governance metrics. The ones that work best for your organization will be based on the business objectives you set.


    Beyond ROI

    ROI will almost always be an important criteria for measuring the success of a cloud migration. But it shouldn’t be the only consideration ─ or at least it shouldn’t only be seen in terms of cost figures. A successful cloud migration can generate immediate and ongoing benefits that aren’t easily quantified by dollar figures, particularly in terms of how they satisfy business needs or overcome business challenges.

    If a cloud migration is in your future, US Signal can help ─ and work with you to increase its chances of success. For information, contact us.