News & Insights for the AI Journey|Wednesday, March 27, 2019
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Benchmark Survey: Cloud Performance Up, Prices Vary 

Public cloud offerings vary widely in terms of price and performance, but a cloud survey finds that overall performance is improving while prices among leading public cloud vendors continue to drop as they jockey to help enterprises shift to hybrid deployments.

The benchmarking study released by technology consultant Cloud Spectator looked at infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) performance features such as differences in virtual machine performance, price variability and overall value delivered by the top ten public cloud vendors.

Public cloud vendors are striving to differentiate their services beyond price in response to the enterprise embrace of hybrid and multi-cloud strategies. The latter approach seeks to avoid vendor lock-in by using different cloud vendors for specific workloads types. That competition, the survey found, is improving “cost efficiency.”

"IaaS performance continues to be a major consideration of enterprises when implementing a hybrid cloud— and benchmarking private and public infrastructure is a critical step in an organization's overall evaluation process,” said Cloud Spectator CEO Ken Balazs.

The benchmarking study considered factors such as performance and stability results for CPU, “block storage” and memory for several virtual machine sizes. It examined 1.5 million data points collected over a 24-hour period in January 2018.

The Boston-based cloud consultant found that differences in virtual machine performance, including CPUs and memory, varied modestly among the top ten public vendors by a factor of 1.5. However, price swings were more pronounced, varying by as much as a factor of four.

Other public cloud trackers have noted increased price competition in areas such as object storage. Market analyst 451 Research said last year it detected a reduction in object storage prices offered by IBM SoftLayer (NYSE: IBM). Rivals Amazon Web Services, Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Microsoft NASDAQ: MSFT) responded in kind, prompting the research firm to predict that prices for virtual machines—long the focus of cloud price wars—will continue to decline along with object storage. Relational databases "are likely to be the next competitive front," 451 Research added.

Meanwhile, Synergy Research Group reported in February that enterprise spending on cloud infrastructure services jumped 46 percent year-on-year during the last quarter of 2017. “In large part the expansion was driven by aggressive growth of Amazon (AWS), Microsoft, Google and Alibaba, who all increased their share of the worldwide market at the expense of smaller cloud providers,” the market tracker said.

The benchmarking survey did not include China’s Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) but did include U.S.-based market leaders along with CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), Digital Ocean, Dimension Data, IBM SoftLayer, OVH (ASX: OVH) and Rackspace.

As runner-ups pursue public cloud giant AWS, many are also looking to differentiate themselves through consumption pricing models and security features like data encryption. For example, Google Cloud announced new security controls this week designed to “help enterprises keep their sensitive data private” when using its storage and computing resources.

Google likened the security controls to “a firewall for API-based services” running on its cloud platform.

 

 

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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