As cloud computing matures -- meaning it is being used by increasingly larger companies for mission critical applications -- companies are shopping around for cloud providers with requirements that are more sophisticated than merely price and ease-of-use. One of these criteria is performance.
Performance has consistently been one of the main concerns enterprise buyers have had about cloud computing, as indicated from the chart of the responses to a survey conducted by IDC in Q3 of 2009.
To address this concern, and help potential cloud users in selecting their cloud provider, a number of research, measurement and academic groups have initiated efforts to actually measure and compare the performance of various cloud providers under a variety of circumstances (application use case, geographical location and more).
Here are some of the more interesting performance benchmarks out there today:
Compuware Gomez: CloudSleuth
Still in beta, Gomez CloudSleuth is likely to be one of the more important reference points for customer and media cloud performance testing. Gomez has developed a benchmark Java ecommerece application and measures the end-to-end response time of various cloud providers and locations. The tests are run from 125 end-user U.S. locations in all 50 states and from 75 international locations in 30 countries and are conducted 200 times per hour. Gomez is planning on adding the ability to benchmark a user’s own application.
Although just a startup, if it succeeds CloudHarmony is likely to be an important resource for customers and the media for evaluating cloud provider performance. CloudHarmony has a service called Cloud SpeedTest, which allows users to benchmark the performance of a web application across multiple cloud providers and services (servers, storage, CDN, PaaS). This service is currently in beta and is quite simplistic, but CloudHarmony is working on a more sophisticated version with additional features.
In addition, the CloudHarmony staff conducts a variety of performance benchmarks for specific scenarios such as CPU performance, storage I/O, memory I/O or video encoding and publishes them on their blog.
UC Berkeley: Cloudstone Project
Cloudstone is an academic open source project from the UC Berkeley. It provides a framework for testing realistic performance. The project does not publish as of yet comparative results across clouds, but provides users with the framework that allows them to do so. The reference application is a social Web 2.0-style application.
Duke University and Microsoft Research: Cloud CMP Project
The objective of the Cloud CMP project is to enable “comparison shopping” across cloud providers -- both IaaS and PaaS -- and do so for a number of application use cases and workloads. To that end, the project combines straight performance benchmarks as well as a cost-performance analysis. The project has already measured computational, storage, Intra-cloud and WAN performance for three cloud providers (two IaaS and one PaaS) and intends to expand.
BitCurrent: The Performance of Clouds
BitCurrent conducted a comprehensive performance benchmarking study commissioned by Webmetrics and using their testing service entitled The Performance of Clouds. The study covered three IaaS providers (Amazon, Rackspace and Terremark) and two PaaS providers (Salesforce.com and Google App Engine). It measured four categories of performance: raw response time and caching, network throughput and congestion, computational performance (CPU-intensive tasks) and I/O performance.
The Bit Source: Rackspace Cloud Servers Vs. Amazon EC2
According to its website, The Bit Source is an “online publication and testing lab”, which appears to be a one-man show and may not play a significant role going forward. It conducted a one-time benchmark comparing Rackspace Cloud Servers and Amazon EC2 performance.
What are your thoughts about cloud performance and these benchmarks? Please share in the comments below.
[P.S. I added a new category to the blog called "Shopping the Cloud", which will include posts that discuss various aspects of comparison shopping for cloud providers.]