The Cloud Computing - IaaS industry has numerous providers offering virtualized compute, cloud storage and cloud networking infrastructure. It’s a young industry and there is little standardization in offerings which makes it difficult for cloud buyers to easily compare and find the best price/performance ratio to match or exceed application and workload requirements.
Performance testing and benchmarking of IT infrastructure has been a part of the buying process for decades. Vendors and 3rd party testing companies would build labs full of gear and run a series of tests using different methodologies. Those were the days of physical infrastructure in controlled environments. Today, virtualization and Cloud computing and multi-tenancy are redefining performance testing of IT infrastructure. There are dozens of variables that can affect cloud performance, and Cloud buyers are completely beholden to their providers to optimize everything from CPU core allocation, to RAM speed to network and storage speed. And then there are the now infamous “noisy neighbor” problems, because in the Cloud, you are sharing resources with other Cloud customers, who are often never vetted by the Cloud provider.
Benchmarking cloud computing platforms is a complex task, compounded by the differences between providers and the use cases and performance needs of individual workloads. You can take two paths to assess the performance of different cloud providers: first, you can run a series of tests on the providers, which takes time and budget to acquire, configure environments and test or you can download or pay for a 3rd party report by a Cloud computing performance assessment company.
One key benefit of gaining access to 3rd party reports is that many of them are run 24/7 365 days a year, allowing you to see any performance variability they experience over time. There is no point in running your applications and databases with a provider that is also servicing a significant number of consumer retail sites during the holiday season, or any time for that matter, due to network latency or unpredictable performance many cloud providers suffer from. Slow network performance and slow servers with “noisy neighbors” equate to unhappy users and/or lost customers.
Here are some key questions you’ll want to understand when reviewing Cloud computing performance:
- Does the Cloud provider have any verification policy on who get’s on their cloud – not having any control opens the doors to malicious users and
- Does the Cloud provider talk about performance and offer products and services that are designed around high performance? For example”
- Cloud servers with dedicated CPU cores?
- Cloud servers with dedicated RAM?
- Cloud servers with InfiniBand network technology and 80 GB/s performance between servers and storage
- Does the Cloud provider provide access to free Cloud performance benchmark tests by 3rd parties?
- Does the Cloud provider offer the ability to test the Cloud platform for a trial period? Do they provide assistance during that period to ensure performance tests can be run?
These are just some of the Cloud performance focused questions you’ll want to ask your Cloud provider. Remember, performance is more important than any of the “big 4” factors (Memory, CPU Core, Storage, or bandwidth). Performance is where the “rubber meets the road.” It is, in essence, like the final grade one would receive at the end of a course of study. Learn more about Cloud performance - download a 3rd Party Performance Report comparing ProfitBricks with Amazon EC2.