Reliability matters in the cloud: Check the performance markers

Cloud vendors claiming to be the “fastest” or “best performing” deserve a little scepticism. While speed and performance can appear impressive if conditions are aligned in a particular way, it doesn’t mean they will hold up in the long-term.

For companies searching for the right cloud provider, data on performance expectations is essential as it relates to picking the right host, managing scalability, and effectively spending on resources. Companies can use the following three tips to correctly gauge cloud performance and reliability.

Get the most out of every pound, euro or dollar

In the best case scenario, you want reliable performance at a fair price while also escaping any hidden costs that may ruin the true ROI. You want servers that can offer superb disk read performance and disk write capabilities while also performing well under varied test scenarios.

For instance, ask for test data that shows the servers’ I/O profile for both large and small block sizes. Review several comparable pieces of hardware to find outstanding performers. Why does this type of performance matter?

Here’s an example: If you are running a SQL Server database that typically works on 64k blocks, you want a server that offers consistent storage, reliable performance and no additional charges for provisioned input or output operations per second (IOPS). You want the perfect mix of fewer required resources and transparent costs.

Focus on efficient decision making

Remember the book “The Paradox of Choice”, which explores choice overload and why offering too many options is detrimental? The same issues apply to picking a server.

Some cloud providers offer many server choices, which can lead customers into selecting one that has too much RAM in order to meet another criteria such as having enough CPUs. Aim to find a vendor that doesn’t bury you under a mountain of canned server sizes, but rather lets you choose the server capacity that best suits your workload.

You also want the flexibility to choose the amount of CPUs or memory that makes sense for your business – similar to how you would purchase traditional servers. Spend less time reviewing dozens of server configurations and more time focusing on app and services development.

Scalability and predictable performance are crucial

While performance testing can help you understand the best way to scale an application, a conclusion can’t be reached without understanding how the platform reacts to spikes in its capacity.

Performance metrics from reputable third-parties, such as CloudHarmony, can be used to compare a range of cloud servers to a bare metal reference system. You want to be sure this performance metric improves linearly with the addition of CPU cores.

Understanding this server performance data can help you make the most of a cloud portfolio; it will give you peace of mind to know ahead of time that you can add resources to a VM before requiring more hardware, and that you can reduce costs too. If you choose cloud hardware that can scale both up and out, you’ll be in the best situation to plan your scaling events.

Performance metrics only show a moment in time, but having a long-term performance profile allows companies to make educated choices while still lowering costs.