Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Standardized Cloud Performance Rating System

Ever get one of those random phone calls in the midst of your work day that makes you think, huh -- interesting idea? Well earlier today I had one from a guy looking to learn more about cloud computing platforms. Although it ended up he wasn't specifically looking for an elastic computing platform, he did ask a few very thought provoking questions.

What he asked was if there is a simple way to compare the performance, security and quality of various cloud computing providers? He went on to say that when comparing traditional hardware vendors it was easy for him to understand the standardized specifications (GHZ, GB, etc) as well as determine quality based on brand recognition, but in the cloud world there was no easy way for him to compare "apples to apples". In his words, "there is Amazon and then there is everyone else". Although overly simplified, he was kind of right. For a lot of people looking to get into the cloud, it's a bit of a mystery.

This got me thinking. With all the talk lately of cloud standards, is there an opportunity to create a common or standard Cloud Performance Rating System? And if so, how might it work?

Unlike CPU or Storage, Cloud Computing is significantly more complex involving many different moving parts (deployment approaches, architectures and operating models). Defining one common standardized basis of comparison would be practically impossible. But within the various aspects of cloud computing there certainly are distinct areas that we may be able to quantify. The most likely starting point would be infrastructure related offerings such as compute and storage clouds.

The next question is what would you rate? Quality, performance, security? And how might these be actually quantified?

I'm going to leave those answers for another time. But it does make you think. So thank you random guy for brightening up an otherwise rainy day.
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