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Summary:

While benchmarks on cloud-computing performance come with their share of caveats, new data from Compuware show smaller cloud service providers such as Layered Tech coming out ahead of the big dogs.

Source: Compuware Global Provider View
photo: Rani Molla

Big-name cloud service providers capture the tech-press headlines day after day, but lesser-known players might deserve more recognition, at least based on new benchmarks out from Compuware.

The company found that, although Rackspace and Windows Azure were consistently fast in taking an application request, processing it and delivering it back, a handful of competitors are actually faster and more consistently so, while other providers are available more often. The figures from Compuware represent the average response times over a year of monitoring performance on 38 cloud facilities, as part of Compuware’s normal Global Provider View cloud-benchmarking application.

Comparing average response time, consistency (as a standard deviation of response time) and availability, Compuware has found that three of the top five data centers are run by Layered Tech (in Illinois, Missouri and Texas). There’s also Qube with its New York data center and Connectria’s Missouri data center. Altogether, Connectria came out looking the best. It ranked fourth for speed, eighth in consistency and second in availability.

Source: Compuware Global Provider View

Cloud providers ranked from left to right, when factoring in average response time, consistency (standard deviation of response time) and availability. Source: Compuware Global Provider View. Chart: Rani Molla.

Rackspace took sixth place, while Azure was No. 9. As for Amazon Web Services, its EC2 service from Northern California and Northern Virginia data centers came in 26th and 29th overall, respectively.

Benchmarks don’t guarantee that companies will get the same results. Far from it — application type, price and other variables are in play, and interested parties would do well to run their own tests, as my colleague Derrick Harris explained in a 2011 GigaOM Research article that explores similar benchmark reports (subscription required). Another moving part is the number of features available in each cloud. AWS, for example, has DynamoDB, Redshift, CloudFront and others, which makes it more like platform than just a bunch of servers to use.

Even with these variables, Stephen Pierzchala, application-performance management technology strategist at Compuware, drew some insight from the data analysis. “If you’re just looking at pure performance, you can look at other vendors, rather than simply the names that you know,” Pierzchala said. “There are other cloud providers that seem to be delivering a standard application with pretty good performance, and it may fit into our budget, or may fit into our business needs a little bit more in terms of delivery.”

  1. Interesting article, but where’s the link to the source report? Quite a bit of googling later, I can’t find any obvious references to this data…?

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  2. The data is from the Global Provider View report linked on the page.

    Google CloudSleuth,

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  3. At Parallels we always believed that small providers will continue to play a key role in offering cloud services. Today over 9000 service providers and over 40,000 VARs use our software to do just that. To be successful they need to focus in 4 areas: 1. Increase revenues per user with upsell and cross sell, 2. Drive loyalty and stickiness, 3. Pursue operational excellence and 4. minimize customer acquisition costs. In July 2011, we participated in a paper written by McKinsey that also argued that smaller providers will continue to thrive. It’s worth a read even 2 years later. http://www.mckinsey.com/Client_Service/High_Tech/Latest_thinking/Winning_in_the_SMB_Cloud.aspx

    Size is not Destiny

    John Zanni, The Parallels Guy

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