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Pitting Cloud Against Cloud


New software developed to measure the performance of different cloud computing platforms could make it easier for prospective users to figure out which of these increasingly popular services is right for them.

Right now, developers have little means of comparing cloud providers, which lease access to computing power based in vast and distant data centers. Until actually migrating their software to a cloud service, they can't know exactly how fast that service will perform calculations, retrieve data, or respond to sudden spikes in demand. But Duke University computer scientist Xiaowei Yang and her colleague Ang Li are trying to make the cloud market more like the car market, where, as Yang says, "you can compare specifications like engine size or top speed."

Working with Srikanth Kandula and Ming Zhang of Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA, Yang and Li have developed a suite of benchmarking tools that make it possible to compare the performance of different cloud platforms without moving applications between them.

These tools use algorithms to measure the speed of computation, and shuttle data around to test the speed at which new copies of an application are created, the speed at which data can be stored and retrieved, the speed at which it can be shuttled between applications inside the same cloud, and the responsiveness of a cloud to network requests from distant places.

From Technology Review
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