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Category: CloudXPRT

On track for a CloudXPRT web microservices update this fall

Last month, we announced that we’re working on an updated CloudXPRT web microservices test package. The purpose of the update is to fix installation failures on Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure, and ensure that the web microservices workload works on Ubuntu 22.04, using updated software components such as Kubernetes v1.23.7, Kubespray v2.18.1, and Kubernetes Metrics Server v1. The update also incorporates some additional minor script changes.

We are still testing the updated test package with on-premises hardware and Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure configurations. So far, testing is progressing well, and we feel increasingly confident that we will be able to release the updated test package soon. We would like to share a more concrete release schedule, but because of the complexity of the workload and the CSP platforms involved, we are waiting until we are certain that everything is ready to go.

The name of the updated package will be CloudXPRT v1.2, and it will include only the updated v1.2 test harness and the updated web microservices workload. It will not include the data analytics workload. As we stated in last month’s blog, we plan to publish the updated web microservices package, and see what kind of interest we receive from users about a possible refresh of the v1.1 data analytics workload. For now, the v1.1 data analytics workload will continue to be available via CloudXPRT.com for some time to serve as a reference resource for users that have worked with the package in the past.

As soon as possible, we’ll provide more information about the CloudXPRT v1.2 release date here in the blog. If you have any questions about the update or CloudXPRT in general, please feel free to contact us!

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

Accessing XPRT source code

We recently received a question from member of the tech press about whether we would be willing to supply them with the WebXPRT 4 source code, along with instructions for how to set up a local instance of the benchmark for their internal testbed. We were happy to help, and they are now able to automate WebXPRT 4 runs within their own isolated network.

If you’re a new XPRT tester, you may not be aware that we provide free access to the source code for each of the XPRT benchmarks. Publishing XPRT source code is part of our commitment to making the XPRT development process as transparent as possible. By allowing all interested parties to access and review our source code, we’re encouraging openness and honesty in the benchmarking industry and are inviting the kind of constructive feedback that helps to ensure that the XPRTs continue to contribute to a level playing field.

While XPRT source code is available to the public, our approach to derivative works differs from some open-source models. Traditional open-source models encourage developers to change products and even take them in different directions. Because benchmarking requires a product that remains static to enable valid comparisons over time, we allow people to download the source, but we reserve the right to control derivative works. This discourages a situation where someone publishes an unauthorized version of the benchmark and calls it an “XPRT.”

Accessing XPRT source code is a straightforward process. The source code for CloudXPRT is freely available in our CloudXPRT GitHub repository. If you’d like to download and review the source code for WebXPRT 4 or any of the other XPRTs, or get instructions for how to build one of the benchmarks, all you need to do is contact us at benchmarkxprtsupport@principledtechnologies.com. Your feedback is valuable!

Justin

Looking back on 2021 with the XPRTs

As 2022 gets underway, we want to take this opportunity to look back on 2021 and review another productive year for the XPRTs. Readers of our newsletter are familiar with the stats and updates we include each month, but for our blog readers who don’t receive the newsletter, we’ve compiled some highlights below.

Benchmarks
In the past year, we released the WebXPRT 4 Preview, CloudXPRT v1.1, and an updated CrXPRT 2 build that included a fix for prior issues with the battery life test.

XPRTs in the media
Journalists, advertisers, and analysts referenced the XPRTs thousands of times in 2021. It’s always rewarding to know that the XPRTs have proven to be useful and reliable assessment tools for technology publications such as AnandTech, Expert Reviews, Gadgets 360, Gizmodo, Hot Hardware, Laptop Mag, Legit Reviews, Notebookcheck, PCMag, PCWorld, TechPowerUp, Tom’s Hardware, and ZDNet.

Downloads and confirmed runs
In 2021, we had more than 23,600 benchmark downloads and 228,900 confirmed runs. Our most popular benchmark, WebXPRT, just passed 909,800 runs since its debut in 2013! WebXPRT continues to be a go-to, industry-standard performance benchmark for OEM labs, vendors, and leading tech press outlets around the globe.

Media, publications, and interactive tools
Part of our mission with the XPRTs is to produce tools and materials that help testers better understand the ins and outs of benchmarking in general and the XPRTs in particular. To help achieve this goal, we published the following in 2021:

We’re thankful for everyone who has used the XPRTs, joined the community, and sent questions and suggestions throughout 2021. We look forward to an exciting 2022!

Justin

Reports of CloudXPRT installation failures

Recently, CloudXPRT testers have reported installation failures while attempting to set up CloudXPRT on Ubuntu virtual machines with Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure. We have not yet determined whether the installation process fails consistently on these VMs or the problem occurs under only specific conditions. We believe these failures occur with only GCP and Azure, and you should still be able to successfully install and run CloudXPRT on both Amazon Web Services virtual machines and on-premises gear.

We apologize for the inconvenience that this issue causes for CloudXPRT testers and will let the community know as soon as we identify a reliable solution. If you have encountered any other issues during CloudXPRT testing, please feel free to contact us!

Justin

We welcome your CloudXPRT results!

We recently published a set of CloudXPRT Data Analytics and Web Microservices workload test results submitted by Quanta Computer, Inc. The Quanta submission is the first set of CloudXPRT results that we’ve published using the formal results submission and approval process. We’re grateful to the Quanta team for carefully following the submission guidelines, enabling us to complete the review process without a hitch.

If you are unfamiliar with the process, you can find general information about how we review submissions in a previous blog post. Detailed, step-by-step instructions are available on the results submission page. As a reminder for testers who are considering submitting results for July, the submission deadline is tomorrow, Friday July 16, and the publication date is Friday July 30. We list the submission and publication dates for the rest of 2021 below. Please note that we do not plan to review submissions in December, so if we receive results submissions after November 30, we may not publish them until the end of January 2022.

August

Submission deadline: Tuesday 8/17/21

Publication date: Tuesday 8/31/21

September

Submission deadline: Thursday 9/16/21

Publication date: Thursday 9/30/21

October

Submission deadline: Friday 10/15/21

Publication date: Friday 10/29/21

November

Submission deadline: Tuesday 11/16/21

Publication date: Tuesday 11/30/21

December

Submission deadline: N/A

Publication date: N/A

If you have any questions about the CloudXPRT results submission, review, or publication process, please let us know!

Justin

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