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Failure to assess cloud network architectures affecting service performance

The second annual ‘Cloud performance benchmark report’ from ThousandEyes notes the need for businesses to make rigorous assessments of underlying network architectures in cloud service acquisition

Price and proximity have been the classic key metrics for businesses selecting a cloud provider, but rigorous assessment of underlying network architecture – a key component of service performance – is often overlooked, according to research from ThousandEyes.

This come from the internet and cloud intelligence company’s second annual Cloud performance benchmark, which compares global network performance and connectivity differences between the five major public cloud providers – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, Alibaba Cloud, and IBM Cloud.

The research derived results from an analysis of more than 320 million data points collected from 98 global metro locations over the course of 30 days, using both end-to-end performance and in-depth path measurement techniques.

It found that contrary to some customers’ perceptions, some cloud providers rely heavily on the public internet to transport traffic instead of private backbone networks to transport customer traffic their backbones, something which can affect performance predictability.

ThousandEyes urged decision makers to consult the detailed findings to choose the best cloud provider on a per-region basis to ensure optimal performance globally, as regional performance differences can make a significant impact in terms of performance gains or losses.

Another surprising finding was that AWS Global Accelerator did not always out-perform the internet. The study found that while there are many examples of performance gains in various regions worldwide, the Global Accelerator that lets customers use the AWS private backbone network for a fee is not a one-size-fits-all solution. There were several examples where the internet performed faster and more reliably than Global Accelerator, or where the results are negligible.

ThousandEyes advised businesses looking to get every performance edge possible should consider which broadband internet service provider (ISP) they select, depending on which cloud they most heavily rely on. The study reported performance gains and losses depending on which broadband provider businesses used to connect to each cloud.

Commenting on the research, ThousandEyes research author and director of product marketing, Archana Kesavan, said:When businesses need to decide which cloud provider best meets their needs, one metric that’s notably missing from their assessments has been performance data, mainly because it’s never been available or has, at best, been myopic.

“Understanding cloud performance is essential for planning and for ongoing measurement, so you can be assured that you’re providing customers and employees with the best possible performance.”

Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, added: “The 2019 ThousandEyes Cloud performance benchmark shows just how widely performance can vary from the top cloud service providers, and reinforces the point that businesses should remain diligent about collecting network intelligence and measure their own performance to ensure they are getting what they expect from their cloud providers.”

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