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Following up

This week, we’re sharing news on two topics that we’ve discussed here in the blog over the past several months: CloudXPRT v1.01 and a potential AIXPRT OpenVINO update.

CloudXPRT v1.01

Last week, we announced that we were very close to releasing an updated CloudXPRT build (v1.01) with two minor bug fixes, an improved post-test results processing script, and an adjustment to one of our test configuration recommendations. Our testing and prep is complete, and the new version is live in the CloudXPRT GitHub repository and on our site!

None of the v1.01 changes affect performance or test results, so scores from the new build are comparable to those from previous CloudXPRT builds. If you’d like to know more about the changes, take a look at last week’s blog post.

The AIXPRT OpenVINO update

In late July, we discussed our plans to update the AIXPRT OpenVINO packages with OpenVINO 2020.3 Long-Term Support (LTS). While there are no known problems with the existing AIXPRT OpenVINO package, the LTS version targets environments that benefit from maximum stability and don’t require a constant stream of new tools and feature changes, so we thought it would be well suited for a benchmark like AIXPRT.

We initially believed that the update process would be relatively simple, and we’d be able to release a new AIXPRT OpenVINO package in September. However, we’ve discovered that the process is involved enough to require substantial low-level recoding. At this time, it’s difficult to estimate when the updated build will be ready for release. For any testers looking forward to the update, we apologize for the delay.

If you have any questions or comments about these or any other XPRT-related topics, please let us know!

Justin

Fixes for minor CloudXPRT bugs are on the way

We want to let CloudXPRT testers know that we’re close to releasing an updated version (build 1.01) with two minor bug fixes, an improved post-test results processing script, and an adjustment to one of our test configuration recommendations. None of these changes will affect performance or test results, so scores from previous CloudXPRT builds will be comparable to those from the new build.

The most significant changes in CloudXPRT build 1.01 are as follows:

  • In previous builds, some testers encountered warnings during setup to update the version of Kubernetes Operations (kops) when testing on public-cloud platforms (the CloudXPRT 1.00 recommendation is kops version 1.16.0). We are adjusing the kops installation instructions in the setup instructions for the web microservices and data analytics workloads to prevent these warnings.
  • In previous builds, post-test cleanup instructions for public-cloud testing environments do not always delete all of the resources that CloudXPRT creates during setup. We are updating instructions to ensure a more thorough cleanup process. This change applies to test instructions for the web microservices and data analytics workloads.
  • We are reformatting the optional results graphs the web microservices postprocess program creates to make them easier to interpret.
  • In previous builds, the recommended time interval for the web-microservices workload is 120 seconds if the hpamode option is enabled and 60 seconds if it is disabled. Because we’ve found that the 60-second difference has no significant impact on test results, we are changing the recommendation to 60 seconds for both hpamode settings.


We hope these changes will improve the CloudXPRT setup and testing experience. We haven’t set the release date for the updated build yet, but when we do, we’ll announce it here in the blog. If you have any questions about CloudXPRT, or would like to report bugs or other issues, please feel free to contact us!

Justin

Coming soon: a white paper about the CloudXPRT web microservices workload

Soon, we’ll be expanding our portfolio of CloudXPRT resources with a white paper that focuses on the benchmark’s web microservices workload. While we summarized the workload in the Introduction to CloudXPRT white paper, the new paper will discuss the workload in much greater detail.

In addition to providing practical information about the web microservices installation packages and minimum system requirements, the paper describes the workload’s test configuration variables, structural components, task workflows, and test metrics. It also discusses interpreting test results and the process for submitting results for publication.

As we’ve noted, CloudXPRT is one of the more complex tools in the XPRT family, with no shortage of topics to explore further. We plan to publish a companion overview for the data analytics workload, and possible future topics include the impact of adjusting specific test configuration options, recommendations for results reporting, and methods for analysis.

We hope that the upcoming Overview of the CloudXPRT Web Microservices Workload paper will serve as a go-to resource for CloudXPRT testers, and will answer any questions you have about the workload. Once it goes live, we’ll provide links in the Helpful Info box on CloudXPRT.com and the CloudXPRT section of our XPRT white papers page.

If you have any questions, please let us know!

Justin

CloudXPRT version 1.0 is here!

The CloudXPRT Preview period has ended, and CloudXPRT version 1.0 installation packages are now available on CloudXPRT.com and the BenchmarkXPRT GitHub repository! Like the Preview build, CloudXPRT version 1.0 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. On CloudXPRT.com, the Helpful Info box contains resources such as links to the Introduction to CloudXPRT white paper, the CloudXPRT master readme, and the CloudXPRT GitHub repository.

The GitHub repository also contains the CloudXPRT source code. The source code is freely available for testers to download and review.

Performance results from this release are comparable to performance results from the CloudXPRT Preview build. Testers who wish to publish results on CloudXPRT.com can find more information about the results submission and review process in the blog. We post the monthly results cycle schedule on the results submission page.

We’re thankful for all the input we received during the CloudXPRT development process and Preview period. If you have any questions about CloudXPRT, please let us know.

Justin

Check out our new CloudXPRT video!

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.

To help spread the word about what CloudXPRT can do and why it matters to businesses, we’ve published a new video, Choose the best IaaS configuration for your business with CloudXPRT, on YouTube and CloudXPRT.com. If you know anyone who is evaluating cloud options, or who would be interested in CloudXPRT testing or results, we encourage you to share the video with them. As always, if you have any questions about CloudXPRT, please let us know!

Justin

Video: Choose the best IaaS configuration for your business with CloudXPRT.

The ongoing evolution of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community

This November will mark the tenth anniversary of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, which we originally called the HDXPRT Development Community. Since the early days of HDXPRT, our community has grown to include about 275 members from over 85 companies and organizations, and we’ve added seven benchmarks to the XPRT family. We initially mailed HDXPRT DVDs to testers interested in a new way to evaluate PC performance, and now thousands of users around the world download our benchmarks and rely on them to help measure the performance of everything from tablets to laptops to high-end datacenter hardware.

As the XPRTs continue to grow and evolve, we’ve worked to make sure that the resources that we offer—and the ways we offer them—continue to meet the needs of XPRT testers and community members. As we expand in the AI and datacenter spaces with AIXPRT and CloudXPRT, our user group is becoming larger and more diverse than ever. We have already made some changes to better serve this expanding group, and will be making additional changes over the months ahead.

The first set of changes relate to our community membership model. Originally, membership in the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community required a $20 fee and provided access to preview versions of new benchmarks, the ability to submit ideas for future benchmarks, and regular updates through our monthly newsletter and community announcements. To remove the financial obstacle to joining, we introduced a fee waiver process a few years ago.

Also, we know that some OEM employees and members of the tech press are interested in the XPRTs, but are unable to join the community for one reason or another. With these people in mind, we recently experimented with making the CloudXPRT Preview publicly available. Releasing preview builds to all who are interested makes it more likely that users will incorporate the XPRTs into their test suites, and we have decided to adopt this practice for other benchmarks going forward.

In the coming months, we’ll be updating parts of our website to increase access to XPRT content. For example, certain content such as source code for most of the XPRTs is currently available only to members. We plan to remove the login requirement for access to this material.

Please keep in mind that membership in the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community continues to offer exclusive opportunities. Members can join groups such as the CloudXPRT Results Review Group and offer direct input into the design of future benchmarks. Members also receive our monthly newsletters.

If you have any questions about the XPRTs or community membership, please feel free to ask!

Justin

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