Many businesses want
to move critical applications to the cloud, but choosing the right cloud-based
infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform can be a complex and costly project.
We developed CloudXPRT to help speed up and simplify the process by providing a
powerful benchmarking tool that allows users to run multiple workloads on cloud
platform software in on-premises and popular public cloud environments.
This week, we made
some changes to the CloudXPRT results viewer that we think will simplify the results-browsing experience and
allow visitors to more quickly and easily find important data.
The first set of
changes involves how we present test system information in the main results
table and on the individual results details pages. We realized that there was
potential for confusion around the “CPU” and “Number of nodes” categories. We
removed those and created the following new fields: “Cluster components,”
“Nodes (work + control plane),” and
“vCPUs (work + control plane).” These new categories better describe test
configurations and clarify how many CPUs engage with the workload.
The second set of
changes involves the number of data points that we list in the table for each web
microservices test run. For example, previously, we published a unique entry
for each level of concurrency a test run records. If a run scaled to 32
concurrent instances, we presented the data for each instance in its own row. This
helped to show the performance curve during a single test as the workload
scaled up, but it made it more difficult for visitors to identify the best
throughput results from an individual run. We decided to consolidate the
results from a complete test run on a single row, highlighting only the maximum
number of successful requests (throughout). All the raw data from each run remains
available for download on the details page for each result, but visitors don’t
have to wade through all that data to find the configuration’s main “score.”
We view the development of the CloudXPRT results viewer as an ongoing process. As we add results and receive feedback from testers about the data presentation formats that work best for them, we’ll continue to add more features and tweak existing ones to make them as useful as possible. If you have any questions about CloudXPRT results or the results viewer, please let us know!
Today, we published an
updated CloudXPRT Preview build (v0.97), along with the build’s source code.
The new build fixes a few minor bugs, and makes several improvements to help
facilitate installation, setup, and testing. The fixes do not affect CloudXPRT
test results, so results from the new build are comparable to results from the
original build (v0.95). You can find more detailed information about the
changes in last week’s blog.
The CloudXPRT Preview
v0.97 source code is available to the public via the CloudXPRT GitHub
repository. As we’ve discussed in the past, 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 download 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 the CloudXPRT
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
We encourage you to
download and review the source and send us any feedback you have. Your
questions and suggestions may influence future versions of CloudXPRT.
If you have any questions about CloudXPRT or the source code, please let us know!
The CloudXPRT Preview installation packages are now available on CloudXPRT.com and the BenchmarkXPRT GitHub repository! The CloudXPRT Preview includes two workloads: web microservices and data analytics (you can find more details about the workloads here). Testers can use metrics from the workloads to compare IaaS stack (both hardware and software) performance and to evaluate whether any given stack is capable of meeting SLA thresholds. You can configure CloudXPRT to run on local datacenter, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure deployments.
Several different test packages are available for
download from the CloudXPRT download
page. For detailed installation instructions and
hardware and software requirements for each, click the package’s readme link. The
Helpful Info box on CloudXPRT.com also contains resources such as links to the
CloudXPRT master readme and the CloudXPRT GitHub repository. Soon, we will add
a link to the CloudXPRT Preview source code, which will be freely available for
testers to download and review.
All interested parties may now publish CloudXPRT
results. However, until we begin the formal results submission and review process in July, we will publish only results we
produce in our own lab. We anticipate adding the first set of those within the coming
We’re thankful for all the input we received during the initial CloudXPRT development process, and we welcome feedback on the CloudXPRT Preview. If you have any questions about CloudXPRT, or would like to share your comments and suggestions, please let us know.
a month ago, we posted an update
on the CloudXPRT development process. Today, we want to provide more details
about the three workloads we plan to offer in the initial preview build:
In the web-tier microservices workload, a simulated user logs in to a web application that does three things: provides a selection of stock options, performs Monte-Carlo simulations with those stocks, and presents the user with options that may be of interest. The workload reports performance in transactions per second, which testers can use to directly compare IaaS stacks and to evaluate whether any given stack is capable of meeting service-level agreement (SLA) thresholds.
The machine learning (ML) training workload calculates XGBoost model training time. XGBoost is a gradient-boosting framework that data scientists often use for ML-based regression and classification problems. The purpose of the workload in the context of CloudXPRT is to evaluate how well an IaaS stack enables XGBoost to speed and optimize model training. The workload reports latency and throughput rates. As with the web-tier microservices workload, testers can use this workload’s metrics to compare IaaS stack performance and to evaluate whether any given stack is capable of meeting SLA thresholds.
The AI-themed container scaling workload starts up a container and uses a version of the AIXPRT harness to launch Wide and Deep recommender system inference tasks in the container. Each container represents a fixed amount of work, and as the number of Wide and Deep jobs increases, CloudXPRT launches more containers in parallel to handle the load. The workload reports both the startup time for the containers and the Wide and Deep throughput results. Testers can use this workload to compare container startup time between IaaS stacks; optimize the balance between resource allocation, capacity, and throughput on a given stack; and confirm whether a given stack is suitable for specific SLAs.
We’re continuing to move forward with CloudXPRT development and testing and hope to add more workloads in subsequent builds. Like most organizations, we’ve adjusted our work patterns to adapt to the COVID-19 situation. While this has slowed our progress a bit, we still hope to release the CloudXPRT preview build in April. If anything changes, we’ll let folks know as soon as possible here in the blog.
If you have any thoughts or comments about CloudXPRT workloads, please feel free to contact us.
month, Bill announced
that we were starting work on a new data center benchmark. CloudXPRT
will measure the performance of modern, cloud-first applications deployed on infrastructure
as a service (IaaS) platforms—on-premises platforms,
externally hosted platforms, and hybrid clouds that use a mix of the two. Our
ultimate goal is for CloudXPRT to use cloud-native components on an actual
stack to produce end-to-end performance metrics that can help users determine the
right IaaS configuration for their business.
we want to provide a quick update on CloudXPRT development and testing.
Installation. We’ve completely automated the CloudXPRT installation process, which leverages Kubernetes or Ansible tools depending on the target platform. The installation processes differ slightly for each platform, but testing is the same.
Workloads. We’re currently testing potential workloads that focus on three areas: web microservices, data analytics, and container scaling. We might not include all of these workloads in the first release, but we’ll keep the community informed and share more details about each workload as the picture becomes clearer. We are designing the workloads so that testers can use them to directly compare IaaS stacks and evaluate whether any given stack can meet service level agreement (SLA) thresholds.
Platforms. We want CloudXPRT to eventually support testing on a variety of popular externally hosted platforms. However, constructing a cross-platform benchmark is complicated and we haven’t yet decided which external platforms the first CloudXPRT release will support. We’ve successfully tested the current build with on-premises IaaS stacks and with one externally hosted platform, Amazon Web Services. Next, we will test the build on Google Cloud Hosting and Microsoft Azure.
Timeline. We are on track to meet our target of releasing a CloudXPRT preview build in late March and the first official build about two months later. If anything changes, we’ll post an updated timeline here in the blog.
you would like to share any thoughts or comments related to CloudXPRT or cloud
benchmarking, please feel free to contact