Cloud Cruiser Blog

May 8, 2017

Cloud Metrics That Matter: 3 Tips to Get You Started

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By Deirdre Mahon  |  CMO and Head of Customer Success  |  @dbmahon


In my previous blog, I discussed some of the challenges that organizations face when trying to measure your cloud performance. It’s not just a matter of establishing agreed-upon key performance indicators (KPIs) across the business, it’s also about ensuring that the metrics that “feed” those KPIs are timely and accurate. So where do you start? My advice is to start with some simple building blocks and grow from there. Here are 3 tips to get you started:


Context is Critical


Once the business agrees on the most important metrics to track over what timeframe, you can start to review those as a team and agree if they are the right set of measurements.  If an organization is potentially going through a major migration from say an on-premise application to one running on AWS, the team will need context and an understanding as to what is really going on and what the business drivers are to measure against.  Or perhaps there is a new product being launched and the development team doesn’t have a good sense of uptake and scale over the long-haul. They may overestimate market responsiveness and err on the side of caution by purchasing too much compute and storage than what is actually needed.  Often, time is the only factor to correct this.  However, resetting within a billing window is critical so you don’t waste resources and throw budget down the drain. Context setting is important when reviewing usage and spend over a specific timeframe.


Start Simple


As with most new disciplines, start simple and get more sophisticated as you grow and mature.  Begin with basics such as cloud usage and spend by department or project team.  Then compare time period over say month to month or quarter over quarter.  You could then further break down by service provider or service type.  Every organizational structure differs so having a solid understanding of organizational hierarchy will make a big difference.  Do the legwork upfront and map to your processes.


Once you get the hang of simple reports shared across the relevant teams, you can then adjust and move forward with more sophisticated reports and analyses.  Doing a report by business function, by service provider, by service type, and summarized over different timeframes may be a little more challenging.  Also seeing the data by geography and down to project type and exact resource type may require some data augmentation with tags collected.  All that will be discovered once you see what fields and data you have to work with from the distinct provider.


Make it Matter


Last but not least if you go to great lengths to build rich reports and dashboard views for all stakeholders – then do something meaningful with it.  Hold users accountable and drive behavior.  Spend the time to understand what the data is really telling you.  Do you need to modify how you purchase services from AWS?  Do you need to adjust for the next budget period and commit to fewer RI’s (AWS Reserved Instances)?  Cloud is still a new world for many but there’s one thing we can take advantage of and that’s having rich data at our fingertips.  Pay as you go and pay for what you need is something we should take seriously.  Now we just need to live by the metrics and not let cloud’s easy access dictate our behavior.


For more on this topic, view this on-demand webcast, Cloud Metrics That Matter: An Introduction to Cloud Analytics.