Bitcurrent’s Latest Report on Cloud Performance

Last month Bitcurrent issued the findings of a comprehensive study on cloud computing performance. The Rackspace Cloud was among the five top providers targeted for rigorous testing and we’re proud of how we came out.  The other cloud platforms were Salesforce’s, Google’s App Engine, Terremark’s vCloud, and Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud.

Given the growth of the cloud market and the fact that the term “cloud” has come to mean many things—from hosted web applications to fully-fledged platforms—Bitcurrent wanted to assess the current state of cloud performance.  They wanted to see if the promise of pay-as-you-go economics and elastic capacity could live up to the demands of large-scale enterprises.

As part of their testing regimen, Bitcurrent teamed up with Webmetrics, a web monitoring firm. They tested four aspects of performance across the five cloud networks. The test agents are described below:

  • A simple web request, to measure the responsiveness of the system for a trivially small, static object.
  • A request for a large (2 Megabyte) object, to test the network throughput.
  • A request that triggered a million mathematically-intensive calculations, to test computing power.
  • A request that searched 500,000 rows of a database for a string, to test the back-end I/O of the system.

The tests were executed, using the agents, from multiple locations around the world. The results of the tests can be illustrated in the diagram below.

The Rackspace Cloud performed well across all categories—responsiveness (1-pixel GIF), network throughput (2MB GIF), computing power (CPU), and I/O (database search).  While no provider was a clear winner in every category, Rackspace Cloud was in the top tier for each test. We even managed to surprise the testers on the CPU front:

“The PaaS providers did well, largely because of their shared storage model that is optimized for large data sets across many machines.  We were surprised by how well Rackspace’s cloud handled the simultaneous traffic despite being a PaaS-based solution.”

The summary of the Bitcurrent report as well as the complete report, with all the testing details, are available for download.

Dominic Smith is a writer and content strategist. Before joining Rackspace Marketing, he worked for many years as a technical writer and freelance copywriter, covering software, innovation and customer success stories for companies big and small, from startups to the Fortune 100. He also moonlights as a novelist and has taught writing at several universities, including Rice and the University of Texas at Austin.


  1. I agree this is quite an interesting report, and there needs to be more information on how all of the various components of these platforms fit together.

    Although it seemed to me the test cases lack quite a bit of detail such as how many samples did they take per day, and a two day period is certainly not enough sample space to make an assessment. Also, from which geographic locations and ISPs (for the network related metrics) did they run their tests?

    See for an example of a more comprehensive testing methodology.

    The more detail one provides in their testing methodology, the easier it is to validate, the more credible the test is.



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