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The Exploring WebXPRT 4 white paper is now available

This week, we published the Exploring WebXPRT 4 white paper. It describes the design and structure of WebXPRT 4, including detailed information about the benchmark’s harness, HTML5 and WebAssembly (WASM) capability checks, and changes we’ve made to the structure of the performance test workloads. We explain the benchmark’s scoring methodology, how to automate tests, and how to submit results for publication. The white paper also includes information about the third-party functions and libraries that WebXPRT 4 uses during the HTML5 and WASM capability checks and performance workloads.

The Exploring WebXPRT 4 white paper promotes the high level of transparency and disclosure that is a core value of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community. We’ve always believed that transparency builds trust, and trust is essential for a healthy benchmarking community. That’s why we involve community members in the benchmark development process and disclose how we build our benchmarks and how they work.

You can find the paper on WebXPRT.com and our XPRT white papers page. If you have any questions about WebXPRT 4, please let us know, and be sure to check out our other XPRT white papers.

Justin

CloudXPRT status and next steps

We developed our first cloud benchmark, CloudXPRT, to measure the performance of cloud applications deployed on modern infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platforms. When we first released CloudXPRT in February of 2021, the benchmark included two test packages: a web microservices workload and a data analytics workload. Both supported on-premises and cloud service provider (CSP) testing with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure. 

CloudXPRT is our most complex benchmark, requiring sustained compatibility between many software components across multiple independent test environments. As vendors roll out updates for some components and stop supporting others, it’s inevitable that something will break. Since CloudXPRT’s launch, we’ve become aware of installation failures while attempting to set up CloudXPRT on Ubuntu virtual machines with GCP and Microsoft Azure. Additionally, while the web microservices workload continues to run in most instances with a few configuration tweaks and workarounds, the data analytics workload fails consistently due to compatibility issues with Minio, Prometheus, and Kafka within the Kubernetes environment. 

In response, we’re working to fix problems with the web microservices workload and bring all necessary components up to date. We’re developing an updated test package that will work on Ubuntu 22.04, using Kubernetes v1.23.7 and Kubespray v2.18.1. We’re also updating Kubernetes Metrics Server from v1beta1 to v1, and will incorporate some minor script changes. Our goal is to ensure successful installation and testing with the on-premises and CSP platforms that we supported when we first launched CloudXPRT.

We are currently focusing on the web microservices workload for two reasons. First, more users have downloaded it than the data analytics workload. Second, we think we have a clear path to success. Our plan is to publish the updated web microservices test package, and see what feedback and interest we receive from users about a possible data analytics refresh. The existing data analytics workload will remain available via CloudXPRT.com for the time being to serve as a reference resource.

We apologize for the inconvenience that these issues have caused. We’ll provide more information about a release timeline and final test package details here in the blog as we get closer to publication. If you have any questions about the future of CloudXPRT, please feel free to contact us!

Justin

WebXPRT passes the million-run milestone!

We’re excited to see that users have successfully completed over 1,000,000 WebXPRT runs! If you’ve run WebXPRT in any of the 924 cities and 81 countries from which we’ve received complete test data—including newcomers Bahrain, Bangladesh, Mauritius, The Philippines, and South Korea —we’re grateful for your help. We could not have reached this milestone without you!

As the chart below illustrates, WebXPRT use has grown steadily since the debut of WebXPRT 2013. On average, we now record more WebXPRT runs in one month than we recorded in the entirety of our first year. With over 104,000 runs so far in 2022, that growth is continuing.

For us, this moment represents more than a numerical milestone. Developing and maintaining a benchmark is never easy, and a cross-platform benchmark that will run on a wide variety of devices poses an additional set of challenges. For such a benchmark to succeed, developers need not only technical competency, but the trust and support of the benchmarking community. WebXPRT is now in its ninth year, and its consistent year-over-year growth tells us that the benchmark continues to hold value for manufacturers, OEM labs, the tech press, and end users like you. We see it as a sign of trust that folks repeatedly return to the benchmark for reliable performance metrics. We’re grateful for that trust, and for everyone that’s contributed to the WebXPRT development process throughout the years.

We’ll have more to share related to this exciting milestone in the weeks to come, so stay tuned to the blog. If you have any questions or comments about WebXPRT, we’d love to hear from you!

Justin

An update on Chrome OS support for CrXPRT

In March, we discussed the Chrome OS team’s plan to end support for Chrome apps in June and instead focus their efforts on Chrome extensions and Progressive Web Apps. After receiving feedback on their published timeline, the Chrome OS team decided to extend Chrome app support for Enterprise and Education account customers through January 2025. Because we publish our Chrome app (CrXPRT) through a private BenchmarkXPRT developer account, and because we have not seen any further updates to the support timeline, we don’t assume that the support extension will apply to CrXPRT.

Since June has come and gone, and the support extension probably does not apply to our account, we do not expect to be able to publish any future fixes or updates for CrXPRT. As of now, and up through Chrome 105, the CrXPRT 2 performance and battery life tests are still working without a hitch. We will continue to run the benchmark on a regular basis to monitor functionality, and we will disclose any future issues here in the blog and on CrXPRT.com. We hope the app will continue to run both performance and battery life tests well into the future. However, given the frequency of Chrome updates, it’s difficult for us to predict how long the benchmark will remain viable.

As we mentioned back in March, we hope to begin development of an all-new Chrome OS XPRT benchmark by the end of this year. We’ll discuss that prospect in more detail in future blog posts, but if you have ideas about the types of features or workloads you’d like to see in a new Chrome OS benchmark, please let us know!

Justin

The XPRTs: What would you like to see?

One of the core principles of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community is a commitment to valuing the feedback of both community members and the larger group of testers that use the XPRTs on a regular basis. That feedback helps us to ensure that as the XPRTs continue to grow and evolve, the resources that we offer will continue to meet the needs of those that use them.

In the past, user feedback has influenced specific aspects of our benchmarks such as the length of test runs, user interface features, results presentation, and the removal or inclusion of specific workloads. More broadly, we have also received suggestions for entirely new XPRTs and ways we might target emerging technologies or industry use cases.

As we approach the second half of 2022 and begin planning for 2023, we’re asking to hear your ideas about new XPRTs—or new features for existing XPRTs. Are you aware of hardware form factors, software platforms, or prominent applications that are difficult or impossible to evaluate using existing performance benchmarks? Are there new technologies we should be incorporating into existing XPRTs via new workloads? Can you recommend ways to improve any of the XPRTs or XPRT-related tools such as results viewers?

We are interested in your answers to these questions and any other ideas you have, so please feel free to contact us. We look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Justin

Our results database is your resource

Testers new to the XPRT benchmarks may not know about one of the free resources we offer. The XPRT results database currently holds more than 3,000 test results from over 120 sources, including major tech review publications around the world, OEMs, and independent testers. It offers a wealth of current and historical performance data across all the XPRT benchmarks and hundreds of devices.

We update the results database several times a week, adding selected results from our own internal lab testing, reliable tech media sources, and end-of-test user submissions. (After you run one of the XPRTs, you can choose to submit the results, but they don’t automatically appear in the database.) Before adding a result, we evaluate whether the score makes sense and is consistent with general expectations, which we can do only when we have sufficient system information details. For that reason, we ask testers to disclose as much hardware and software information as possible when publishing or submitting a result.

We encourage visitors to our site to explore the XPRT results database. There are three primary ways to do so. The first is by visiting the main BenchmarkXPRT results browser, which displays results entries for all of the XPRT benchmarks in chronological order (see the screenshot below). You can narrow the results by selecting a benchmark from the drop-down menu and can type values, such as vendor or the name of a tech publication, into the free-form filter field. For results we’ve produced in our lab, clicking “PT” in the Source column takes you to a page with additional disclosure information for the test system. For sources outside our lab, clicking the source name takes you to the original article or review that contains the result.

The second way to access our published results is by visiting the results page for an individual XPRT benchmark. Go the page of the benchmark that interests you, and look for the blue View Results button. Clicking it takes you to a page that displays results for only that benchmark. You can use the free-form filter on the page to filter those results, and can use the Benchmarks drop-down menu to jump to the other individual XPRT results pages.

The third way to view information in our results database is with the WebXPRT 4 results viewer. The viewer provides an information-packed, interactive environment in which users can explore data from the curated set of WebXPRT 4 results we’ve published on our site. To learn more about the viewer’s capabilities and features, check out this blog post from March.

We hope you’ll take some time to browse the information in our results database. We welcome your feedback about what you’d like to see in the future and suggestions for improvement. Our database contains the XPRT scores that we’ve gathered, but we publish them as a resource for you. Let us know what you think!

Justin

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