Amazon Tops All Contenders In Cloud Storage Test
December 14, 2011

Amazon Tops All Contenders In Cloud Storage Test

Nasuni, an enterprise storage company, said on Tuesday that Amazon's S3 Simple Storage Service outperformed Microsoft's Windows Azure Storage and all other major providers.

Nasuni conducted a test of the 16 largest cloud storage providers (CSPs) since April 2009 to determine the best services for its customers.

The company did not say which services failed its test, but it did include the six that are ready for real-world use.

The other winners that passed the test included Nirvanix, Rackspace, AT&T Synaptic, and Peer1 Hosting.

Nasuni tested the providers for scalability by continuously writing small files of 1KB for weeks on end to determine error rates and performance.

It found that two out of the eight providers who did not pass the test but made it through this stage of testing failed, and other couldn't complete the test.

"Without proper testing, it is impossible to differentiate between an industrial-strength CSP and a lesser operation," Nasuni said in a press release. "In fact, some providers have asked Nasuni to cease testing at this stage because they said it was negatively impacting their customers, which is a truly frightening statement. True cloud storage should be able to accommodate billions of files without any visible strain. Those CSPs that faced performance issues under Nasuni´s test are simply not equipped to deliver an appropriate level of service to customers."

Amazon S3 and Microsoft's Azure were the top performers in the scalability test, with Amazon's error rate at "effectively zero" and Microsoft's close to it.

Nasuni looked at API integration "to ensure that it is possible to test the service at all."

Other categories it tested included unit testing to determine whether each CSP can handle basic functions like writing and reading different file sizes, and performance testing to measure response time across multiple simultaneous threads.

The company tried to make the tests fair by testing stability from numerous locations.  It said in its stability test, providers "had to perform with no data loss and have no significant unplanned outages" in order to pass.

"Two CSPs emerged as top performers in the Nasuni study: Amazon S3 and Microsoft Windows Azure, with Amazon S3 being the standout across all evaluation areas," Nasuni said.

"Though Nirvanix was 17 percent faster than Amazon S3 for reading large files, and Microsoft Azure was 12 percent faster when it comes to writing files, no other vendor posted the kind of consistently fast service across all file types as did Amazon S3."

Nasuni said that in conclusion, "It is not difficult to create something that looks like cloud storage. It is very difficult, however, to create a cloud that is truly scalable, reliable and always available."


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