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MS Azure Blob Storage outpaces Amazon S3

March 7th, 2013

Nasuni, the cloud storage vendor, has a new report, White Paper: The State of Cloud Storage in 2013, that saysamongst other things, Azure has passed Amazon S3 in price/performance value. Nasuni publishes the annual report to share the information that it gathers in order to properly evaluate CSPs for its own use. In much the same way that traditional enterprise storage vendors use commodity disk drives as components in their products, Nasuni uses public cloud storage from the major CSPs as a component in their Storage Infrastructure as a Service.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn last year’s report, tests demonstrated that Amazon S3 was the top performer due to its overall performance and consistent results. Although other offerings showed potential, they had not yet reached the level of performance that Amazon S3 demonstrated.

For the 2013 CSP Performance Test, Nasuni measured performance across three categories:

  • Write/Read/Delete Speed: This test measures the raw ability of each CSP to handle thousands of writes, reads and deletes (W/R/D) with files of varying sizes and levels of concurrency.
  • Availability: This test measures each CSP’s response time to a single W/R/D process at 60-second intervals over a 30-day period.
  • Scalability: This test measures each CSP’s performance consistency (or lack thereof) as the number of objects under management increases into the hundreds of millions.

In 2013, Nasuni tested five clouds: Amazon S3, Microsoft Windows Azure Blob Storage, Google Cloud Storage, HP Cloud Object Storage, and Rackspace Cloud Files. While many cloud storage platforms are publicly available, only these five platforms currently offer the combination of functionality, market experience and price that Nasuni requires to support production customers.

Nasuni’s engineers conducted all tests between November 2012 and January 2013 using virtual machines across most of the major cloud-compute platforms. Each CSP was tested by using three “outside” machines (for example, Amazon EC2 was not used to test Amazon S3) spread throughout the eastern region of the United States.

The results are clear: Microsoft Azure has taken a significant step ahead of Amazon S3 in almost every category tested. Across the three tests, Azure emerged as a top performer in all categories, and the leader in two out of three:

  • Speed: Azure was 56 percent faster than the No. 2 Amazon S3 in write speed, and 39 percent faster at reading files than the No. 2 HP Cloud Object Storage in read speed.
  • Availability: Azure’s average response time was 25 percent faster than Amazon S3, which had the second fastest average time.
  • Scalability: Amazon S3 varied only 0.6 percent from its average the scaling tests, with Microsoft Windows Azure varying 1.9 percent (both very acceptable levels of variance). The two OpenStack-based clouds – HP and Rackspace – showed significant variance of 23.5 percent and 26.1 percent, respectively, with performance becoming more and more unpredictable as object counts increased.

Overall, however, the test results demonstrated clear advancements on all platforms over last year, including improved performance and fewer errors. It is clear that the minimum bar is moving upward, which is good news for anyone consuming or considering cloud storage. As more CSPs mature into enterprise-class cloud storage offerings, organizations and vendors will be able to leverage http://healthsavy.com competitive advancements in price and technology to improve their overall storage infrastructure.

“Microsoft’s investment in its second generation cloud storage, which it made available to customers last year, has clearly paid off,” said Andres Rodriguez, CEO of Nasuni. “With Amazon S3 and Microsoft Windows Azure, the cloud storage industry clearly has two strong players to choose from. Even more encouraging, however, was the marked performance improvement across the board. As CSPs continue to mature, competition among top quality providers can only benefit enterprise IT.”

For methodology, Nasuni engineers conducted all tests between November 2012 and January 2013 using simple virtual machines across most of the major cloud-compute platforms. Each CSP was tested by using three “outside” machines (for example, Amazon EC2 does not test Amazon S3) spread throughout the eastern region of the United States. Although the use of “inside” machines would likely produce the best possible results for any CSP, we chose not to test such configurations, in order to present a scenario that accurately matches how Nasuni uses cloud storage – where it is accessed from outside of the cloud itself. We ran all tests using a variety of times, locations, virtual machines and dates to eliminate external network bias.

Virtual machine Used

Machine 1

  • RAM: 15-16 GB
  • vCPUs: 4
  • Operating system: Ubuntu 12.04, 64 bit – Ubuntu
  • 12.04 LTS (GNU/Linux 3.2.0-24-virtual x86_64)

• Machine 2

  • RAM: 4 GB
  • vCPUs: 2
  • Operating system: Ubuntu 12.04, 64 bit – Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (GNU/Linux 3.2.0-24-virtual x86_64)

In the Write Benchmark, Microsoft was the top write performer. Furthermore, Microsoft outperformed all other CSPs on 14 of the 23 individual combinations tested, making it far and away the optimal write target for file-based data. More so than in any other benchmark-based test, Microsoft shows how strong its updated technology is in this write test. Amazon and HP are the strongest second contenders trailing behind Microsoft.

For the read benchmark, Read performance again shows Microsoft with a significant lead over its nearest competitor. However, Amazon no longer has the clear second position from the write test. In fact, HP, a relative newcomer, edged out Amazon for the second spot. Even Google and Rackspace, which struggled by comparison on the write test, show much better relative benchmark performance when reading objects.

The report also convers availability and scalability. To download the full report, visit www.nasuni.com/cloudreport.

About Nasuni

Nasuni is an enterprise storage company that provides globally-distributed organizations with a simple, unified storage solution that includes mobile access for all of their remote and branch offices. By combining on-premise hardware with cloud storage, Nasuni delivers a secure, all-in-one data storage solution that provides local performance for users, simplified and centralized management for IT, and an easily scalable, complete remote office storage solution for the enterprise.

Nasuni is privately held and based in Natick, Mass. For more information, visitwww.nasuni.com.

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