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Default requirements for CloudXPRT results submissions

Over the past few weeks, we’ve received questions about whether we require specific test configuration settings for official CloudXPRT results submissions. Currently, testers have the option to edit up to 12 configuration options for the web microservices workload and three configuration options for the data analytics workload. Not all configuration options have an impact on testing and results, but a few of them can drastically affect key results metrics and how long it takes to complete a test. Because new CloudXPRT testers may not anticipate those outcomes, and so many configuration permutations are possible, we’ve come up with a set of requirements for all future results submissions to our site. Please note that testers are still free to adjust all available configuration options—and define service level agreement (SLA) settings—as they see fit for their own purposes. The requirements below apply only to results testers want to submit for publication consideration on our site, and to any resulting comparisons.

Web microservices results submission requirement

Starting with the May results submission cycle, all web microservices results submissions must have the workload.cpurequestsvalue, which lets the user designate the number of CPU cores the workload assigns to each pod, set to 4. Currently, the benchmark supports values of 1, 2, and 4, with the default value of 4. While 1 and 2 CPU cores per pod may be more appropriate for relatively low-end systems or configurations with few vCPUs, a value of 4 is appropriate for most datacenter processors, and it often enables CSP instances to operate within the benchmark’s max default 95th percentile latency SLA of 3,000 milliseconds.

In future CloudXPRT releases, we may remove the option to change the workload.cpurequests value from the config.json file and simply fix the value in the benchmark’s code to promote test predictability and reasonable comparisons. For more information about configuration options for the web microservices workload, please consult the Overview of the CloudXPRT Web Microservices Workload white paper.

Data analytics results submission requirement

Starting with the May results submission cycle, all data analytics results submissions must have the best reported performance (throughput_jobs/min) correspond to a 95th percentile SLA latency of 90 seconds or less. We have received submissions where the throughput was extremely high, but the 95th percentile SLA latency was up to 10 times the 90 seconds that we recommend in CloudXPRT documentation. High latency values may be acceptable for the unique purposes of individual testers, but they do not provide a good basis for comparison between clusters under test. For more information about configuration options with the data analytics workload, please consult the Overview of the CloudXPRT Data Analytics Workload white paper.

We will update CloudXPRT documentation to make sure that testers know to use the default configuration settings if they plan to submit results for publication. If you have any questions about CloudXPRT or the CloudXPRT results submission process, please let us know.

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

The Introduction to CloudXPRT white paper is now available!

Today, we published the Introduction to CloudXPRT white paper. The paper provides an overview of our latest benchmark and consolidates CloudXPRT-related information that we’ve published in the XPRT blog over the past several months. It describes the CloudXPRT workloads, choosing and downloading installation packages, submitting CloudXPRT results for publication, and possibilities for additional development in the coming months.

CloudXPRT is one of the most complex tools in the XPRT family, and there are more CloudXPRT-related topics to discuss than we could fit in this first paper. In future white papers, we will discuss in greater detail each of the benchmark workloads, the range of test configuration options, results reporting, and methods for analysis.

We hope that Introduction to CloudXPRT will provide testers who are interested in CloudXPRT with a solid foundation of understanding on which they can build. Moving forward, we will provide links to the paper in the Helpful Info box on CloudXPRT.com and the CloudXPRT section of our XPRT white papers page.

If you have any questions about CloudXPRT, please let us know!

Justin

The Introduction to AIXPRT white paper is now available!

Today, we published the Introduction to AIXPRT white paper. The paper serves as an overview of the benchmark and a consolidation of AIXPRT-related information that we’ve published in the XPRT blog over the past several months. For folks who are completely new to AIXPRT and veteran testers who need to brush up on pre-test configuration procedures, we hope this paper will be a quick, one-stop reference that helps reduce the learning curve.

The paper describes the AIXPRT toolkits and workloads, adjusting key test parameters (batch size, level of precision, number of concurrent instances, and default number of requests), using alternate test configuration files, understanding and submitting results, and accessing the source code.

We hope that Introduction to AIXPRT will prove to be a valuable resource. Moving forward, readers will be able to access the paper from the Helpful Info box on AIXPRT.com and the AIXPRT section of our XPRT white papers page. If you have any questions about AIXPRT, please let us know!

Justin

Odds and ends

Today, we want to share quick updates on a few XPRT topics.

In case you missed yesterday’s announcement, the CrXPRT 2 Community Preview (CP) is now available. BenchmarkXPRT Development Community members can access the preview using a direct link we’ve posted on the CrXPRT tab in the XPRT Members’ Area (login required). This tab also provides a link to the CrXPRT 2 CP user manual. You can find a summary of what’s new with CrXPRT 2 in last week’s blog. During the preview period, we allow testers to publish CP test scores. Note that CrXPRT 2 overall performance test scores and battery life measurements are not comparable to those from CrXPRT 2015.

We’ll soon be publishing our first AIXPRT whitepaper, Introduction to AIXPRT. It will summarize the AIXPRT toolkits and workloads; how to adjust test parameters such as batch size, levels of precision, and concurrent instances; how to use alternate test configuration files; and how to understand test results. When the paper is available, we’ll post it on the XPRT white papers page and make an announcement here in the blog.

Finally, in response to decreased downloads and usage of BatteryXPRT, we have ended support for the benchmark. We’re always monitoring usage of the XPRTs so that we can better direct our resources to the current needs of users. We’ve removed BatteryXPRT from the Google Play Store, but it is still available for download on BatteryXPRT.com.

If you have any questions about CrXPRT 2, AIXPRT, or BatteryXPRT, please let us know!

Justin

Transparent goals

Recently, Forbes published an article discussing a new report on phone battery life from Which?, a UK consumer advocacy group. In the report, Which? states that they tested the talk time battery life of 50 phones from five brands. During the tests, phones from three of the brands lasted longer than the manufacturers’ claims, while phones from another brand underperformed by about five percent. The fifth brand’s published battery life numbers were 18 to 51 percent higher than Which? recorded in their tests.

Folks can read the article for more details about the tests and the brands. While the report raises some interesting questions, and the article provides readers with brief test methodology descriptions from Which? and one manufacturer, we don’t know enough about the tests to say which set of claims is correct. Any number of variables related to test workloads or device configuration settings could significantly affect the results. Both parties may be using sound benchmarking principles in good faith, but their test methodologies may not be comparable. As it is, we simply don’t have enough information to evaluate the study.

Whether the issue is battery life or any other important device spec, information conflicts, such as the one that the Forbes article highlights, can leave consumers scratching their heads, trying to decide which sources are worth listening to. At the XPRTs, we believe that the best remedy for this type of problem is to provide complete transparency into our testing methodologies and development process. That’s why our lab techs verify all the hardware specs for each XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight entry. It’s why we publish white papers explaining the structure of our benchmarks in detail, as well as how the XPRTs calculate performance results. It’s also why we employ an open development community model and make each XPRT’s source code available to community members. When we’re open about how we do things, it encourages the kind of honest dialogue between vendors, journalists, consumers, and community members that serves everyone’s best interests.

If you love tech and share that same commitment to transparency, we’d love for you to join our community, where you can access XPRT source code and previews of upcoming benchmarks. Membership is free for anyone with a verifiable corporate affiliation. If you have any questions about membership or the registration process, please feel free to ask.

Justin

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