Jan Brass Takes a Hard Look at the Cloud

Cloud Comparisons Made Easier?

Cloud Comparisons Made Easier?Cloud technology is everywhere but it doesn’t mean that choosing the right one for an office is an easy task. While the varied services and providers offer plenty of choice, it also makes choosing the right one more difficult. There are various factors that should be taken into consideration such as the needs of the company, the services being offered by the vendor, the price at which they are available, reliability, and performance among others.

A small business is more likely to be concerned about the total cost of moving to the cloud while a larger enterprise may be willing to pay extra for outstanding reliability and customer service. No matter the IT budget, no one wants to miss out on the potential benefits of the cloud or enter into a contract only to find that the cloud offerings do not match up to expected standards. Regardless of the individual organizational needs, security, reliability and performance are likely to be the top concerns for any business when it comes to selecting the vendor/cloud service.

However, performance is not easy to track or measure, especially when comparing different combinations of technologies (public vs. private vs. hybrid) or vendor specific offerings (AWS vs Azure vs GCE). Unlike web browsers, PC components, or video games, there are very few – if any – objective comparison tools available that can accurately benchmark the various types of cloud services available in the market. Even comprehensive reviews in popular technology columns can only offer a subjective opinion on the topic, making it difficult for enterprises to accurately compare alternatives.

Recently Google announced a set of tools to measure performance across different cloud services called PerfKit. The stated aim of the project is to enable accurate comparisons for potential/current customers. Of course, the company has a vested interest in promoting tools which highlight the performance of its own cloud platform but on the other hand, PerfKit is open source software that is open to scrutiny by independent developers. It has also been designed in collaboration with educational institutions like MIT, Stanford and technology companies like Cisco, ARM.

The company has also said that PerfKit will be continuously developed and updated to reflect the current benchmarking standards in the industry. The framework can measure the time taken to provision services in the cloud as well as report on the most common metrics of performance. In addition, it also provides numbers related to latency, overhead, and throughput. It goes without saying that any organization will need to evaluate the available alternatives on its own before committing to a contract, but benchmarking tools like PerfKit can be a good starting point to whittle down the field.

In spite of the extensive developments in cloud computing over the last decade, many experts consider the field to be in its infancy. There are still thousands of organizations and millions of consumers who have not yet experienced the benefits of cloud technology. Being able to accurately measure performance, security, and other aspects will go a long way in persuading potential enterprise customers to make the transition.

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