Blog Post

Visibility Is Critical During Cloud Migrations

Successfully planning for cloud migration includes a plan for monitoring complex and distributed cloud application architectures.

Organizations planning a cloud migration must have confidence they will be able to match or exceed the performance and availability levels they have provided from their own systems. The key to doing that is having visibility into their end users’ experience of that performance.

There’s a good chance that you’ve either done it or are in the process of migrating services to the cloud. It’s a move that increasing numbers of businesses are making; a 2019 study from Denodo revealed that 36% of organizations were currently in the process of migrating workloads to the cloud, while 20% were already in the advanced stages of implementation.

The Challenges in Monitoring Service Levels During Cloud Migration

Traditional APM tools, which rely on code-level instrumentation, are not suitable for modern, complex, cloud-native applications; these APM tools are simply incapable of monitoring SaaS. For monitoring complex and distributed cloud application architectures, it’s essential that you implement a modern performance monitoring solution, especially one that focuses on outcomes, which is great customer and employee experience. Some modern Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) solutions can help.

Before a migration begins, it’s essential to implement a solid performance monitoring phase to gain visibility across the entire journey. You must be able to ensure that whatever changes you’re implementing really do improve customer experience.

Successful Planning for Cloud Migration

Planning for a successful cloud migration journey is essential. In this blog, we will discuss how measuring, baselining, and monitoring performance can help you successfully manage the transition of your workloads to the cloud without negatively impacting performance.

Performance degradation is a common side effect of cloud migration. Organizations often fail to realize the necessity of thorough planning. You will need to fully anticipate the impact of moving applications and networks to the cloud on both the enterprise network and end user.

Five Key Factors to Measure

When monitoring performance during cloud migration, we recommend specifically measuring five key factors:

  1. Average Webpage Response Time – The average time from when the request is sent to the when the first packet of response data is received from the server.
  2. Cost and Throughput – The cost of migration (to provide clear evidence of the economic benefits cloud can provide compared to on-premises) and the amount of data being accessed via the cloud.
  3. Response Time and Latency – The amount of time involved in responding to a user request.
  4. Geo Load Balancing – How quickly application requests are being distributed across cloud resources across various geographies.
  5. Allocation of Resources – How efficiently cloud resources are being implemented to deliver top-level performance.

The Three Phases of the Cloud Migration Journey

There are three distinct phases of the cloud migration journey. The cloud vendors refer to these as Plan, Migrate, and Run. We’ll look at each in turn and actionable steps you can take to ensure adequate performance monitoring is in place to help you at every step of the journey.

PLAN: Pre-Migration

During the Plan phase, it is vital to understand your application’s performance levels pre-migration.

By understanding in-depth how your pre-migration workloads are functioning and the current state of user experience, the data you collect will allow you to clearly establish performance baselines and benchmarks. These baselines (including page load times, error rates, slow transactions, and metrics tracking the server on which your app runs) can be put to use when configuring alerts to track outages across the cloud migration journey and quickly diagnose why they’re happening.

By understanding current performance levels, you’ll better ensure application health during and after the cloud migration journey.

To kick off the PLAN phase, ask these three critical questions:

  1. How is the application performing right now? What is my application baseline?
  2. How will migrating the application affect users? Will latency be reduced? What potential technical challenges might arise regarding latency, throughput, or performance?
  3. Is the corporate network able to support the additional bandwidth needs that using the cloud will engender? Are any additional steps necessary prior to starting cloud migration?

MIGRATE: During Migration

During the migration process itself, you’ll want to continually assess performance to verify that your customer experience stays within the baselines you established during planning. During this complex transition, whether it involves migrating data from on-premises, legacy infrastructure or a different cloud solution, being able to guarantee continuous service is important. An application in the cloud should perform as well as or better than it did before. However, because you no longer control the infrastructure supporting your application, this can be a delicate area.

By drawing on a holistic DEM solution beyond traditional APM, you can trust that during migration, you can:

  • Identify potential issues and roadblocks.
  • Validate improvements due to cloud service.
  • Test the factors most relevant to your business e.g. app response time, call counts, error rates.
  • Troubleshoot problems quickly to avoid degradation of customer experience.

RUN: Post-Migration

Once migration is complete, it is critical that proactive monitoring continues. You’ll want to compare pre- and post-migration performance levels in order to verify that your cloud service provider is indeed providing agreed-upon service levels. By tracking Service Level Agreements (SLAs), you can hold your new cloud provider accountable if necessary.

Migrating an application to the cloud can result in unexpected changes, so all individual variables must be taken into consideration when reviewing whether or not there are new issues now that your application is running in the cloud.

Post-migration, ask these three critical questions:

  1. Are all connections and linkages between applications the same following migration as they were previously?
  2. Are performance levels the same or better across individual variables and in total?
  3. Are my vendor SLAs being met?

By continuing to implement a holistic visibility solution post-migration, you can ensure your end users, wherever they are, are achieving the same consistent experience they had when the application was in your datacenter. Another benefit to continued monitoring is the ability to measure and prove the business value of your cloud migration.

Not Every Monitoring Solution is the Same

Not every monitoring solution is the same. Last year, Dynatrace joined other monitoring vendors like NewRelic and AppDynamics to run narrow solutions for convenience, with their only synthetic monitoring nodes now located inside the major cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and Google. Cloud-only synthetic monitoring leads to significant visibility blind spots as it is failing (by design) to simulate realistic user transactions.

Why Catchpoint’s Solution is Unique

Unlike traditional APM-centric solutions, which rely on highly complex instrumentation of hundreds and thousands of application code components with software agents to monitor performance and user experience, Catchpoint focuses on monitoring performance from the ‘outside-in’ using our own (the world’s most extensive) monitoring infrastructure that requires no agents, probes, or any other instrumentation from you. With APM-centric solutions, each software agent must migrate alongside every instrumented app component, which during cloud migration can be a painfully complex, lengthy, and error-prone process. This is particularly true if your applications are being re-architected. The risks here are considerable!

With Catchpoint, you can completely eliminate risk, as our instrumentation is entirely independent of your systems.

Catchpoint’s nodes, by contrast, reflect customer diversity and are located in 825 locations worldwide, allowing our clients – which include long-running sophisticated DevOps teams at Google and Microsoft – to proactively monitor user experience and the availability, reachability, performance, and reliability of their services from literally anywhere.

Over 20 different tests deployed from over 825 nodes around the globe offer visibility not only into application performance, but also the complete delivery chain. This includes the world’s most popular public clouds (we provide 111 cloud nodes deployed on the six major cloud providers, comprising the most comprehensive cloud provider coverage available), but is not limited to them, as it also encompasses backbone providers, consumer-facing ISPs, and mobile networks.

This means that DevOps teams can identify performance issues before they affect real users.

Catchpoint’s Holistic DEM Solution

Moreover, our DEM solution is holistic. Not only do we offer the most reliable and far-reaching worldwide synthetics monitoring solution out there, but Catchpoint couples synthetic and network monitoring with real user monitoring (RUM) so that you can identify in real-time the impact your application and infrastructure performance in the cloud is also having on real users.

Catchpoint’s holistic solution combines different data types to allow you to feel confident at every step of the cloud migration journey that you have a comprehensive monitoring partner with visibility into all aspects of application performance AND the entire delivery chain.

To learn more about Catchpoint’s Digital Experience Monitoring Platform,

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