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Amazon, MS, Google Clouds Flop In Stress Tests 154

Posted by samzenpus
from the dark-clouds dept.
Eponymous writes "A seven month study by academics at the University of New South Wales has found that the response times of cloud compute services of Amazon, Google and Microsoft can vary by a factor of twenty depending on the time of day services are accessed. One of the lead researchers behind the stress tests reports that Amazon's EC2, Google's AppLogic and Microsoft's Azure cloud services have limitations in terms of data processing windows, response times and a lack of monitoring and reporting tools."
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Amazon, MS, Google Clouds Flop In Stress Tests

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  • First! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:02AM (#29131313)

    Cloud free and lightning fast!

    • Somehow, when I read "cloud computing" I always think of that scene from "Luniz - I got 5 on it", where they pass out because of the smoke inside their car, but with a large geek in a basement. And veeeery sloooowly...

      Maybe we should foster that association. ^^

  • by Desler (1608317) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:07AM (#29131347)

    Anna Liu, Associate Professor in services engineering at the UNSW School of Computer Science told iTnews she was excited by Cloud Computing as it could potentially enable organisations to "outsource a certain amount of their risks and costs and tap into new economies of scale."

    Sounds more like she has a degree in buzzword engineering.

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:18AM (#29131421) Journal

      Anna Liu, Associate Professor in services engineering at the UNSW School of Computer Science told iTnews she was excited by Cloud Computing as it could potentially enable organisations to "outsource a certain amount of their risks and costs and tap into new economies of scale."

      Sounds more like she has a degree in buzzword engineering.

      From her homepage at UNSW [unsw.edu.au], it seems to be the creation and study of services but her focus seems to be on cloud computing with the "services" being concentrated on these subjects [smartservicescrc.com.au]. While a lot of her about page seems to be buzzwords and journal writing, I really wish they would release their "interoperable service software" and would be interested in seeing their final report for more specific metrics. Her blog doesn't say much about it [unsw.edu.au]. I'd give her the benefit of the doubt, she says in the article, "We saw a lot of hype and confusion, and decided to lead a team of researchers and actually get our hands dirty with this stuff." She also said:

      Using Google AppEngine, none of your data processing tasks can last any longer than thirty seconds, or it throws an exception back at you. This is very consistent with the Google business model - they want to enable simple web applications to thrive on the Internet. AppEngine is there to enable the rapid development of simple web applications that don't include intense compute at the back end. - Anna Liu

      Which I found interesting. Again, kind of hard to judge the merits behind this research without even a brief description of what the services were ... a singular value decomposition service? A return huge data sets from a database table service? A prime factorization service? A file intensive I/O service? I'm also curious as to what hoops one has to jump through to get those interoperable across all three systems ... after all Microsoft is just .NET, right? Is this rewriting something 3 times or making shared objects or what?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AndrewNeo (979708)

        I'm also curious as to what hoops one has to jump through to get those interoperable across all three systems ... after all Microsoft is just .NET, right? Is this rewriting something 3 times or making shared objects or what?

        Well, Microsoft's Azure is in .NET, and Google's AppEngine is Python, but Amazon's EC2 is basically a virtual machine (you load your image in from S3, can be Linux or Windows). I would assume you could just write a common object in Python, have a IronPython hook to Azure, a plain Python hook to AppEngine, and a hook to whatever method you use to host your service in EC2 (like mod_python or whatever, if you're using Apache). This is if you intended interoperability from the start, however. Otherwise you'd pr

        • by AndrewNeo (979708)

          Sorry, correction. Azure also supports other languages such as PHP, Ruby, and Python, according to their site.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by julesh (229690)

          Well, Microsoft's Azure is in .NET, and Google's AppEngine is Python, but Amazon's EC2 is basically a virtual machine (you load your image in from S3, can be Linux or Windows). I would assume you could just write a common object in Python, have a IronPython hook to Azure, a plain Python hook to AppEngine, and a hook to whatever method you use to host your service in EC2 (like mod_python or whatever, if you're using Apache).

          You could do that, but if your intent is to get as much processing power out of each

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      "Liu, a former Microsoft employee..."
      Work for Microsoft in the past :)
      From marketing buzzwords to grant buzzwords.
  • Wave? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tygerstripes (832644) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:12AM (#29131369)
    I wonder what the implications will be for Wave? Real-time updates across multiple servers present very similar challenges to cloud-computing. If the relevant protocols have the same problems then it raises doubts over the scalability of the Wave protocol.
    • Re:Wave? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Thomas Charron (1485) <twaffle@noSpam.gmail.com> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:34AM (#29131539) Homepage

      The challenges for Wave don't rely on nearly the same challenges. Wave involves ONLY data transfer, not processing, storage, etc.. It's a protocol.

      Making the comparison you've made is the same thing as saying HTTP is flawed becouse Joes Web Shack servers are slow.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:12AM (#29131371) Journal
    I still don't get it. Terabyte drives cost as much as my bi-weekly beer budget, and less every day. Computing power is off of Moore's Law, but is still increasing with multicore and multiprocessors. My computer doesn't have to be hooked up to the interweb to work, nor does it require a subscription to some website to keep rolling. If I want access to the web, I can get it, but that's only a few times a day when I need it.

    So, what exactly does "cloud computing" bring to the table for me?

    Not much as far as I can see, other than a new crop of buzzwords.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pietromenna (1118063)
      Actually, have you tried playing out with Google App engine? It brings to the table a host server for your Django application at very low cost. It also allows you to integrate your application with google user managment. Why to use? Well, for me, it is for low cost hosting for Django Applications, but for business it can be really interesting as there is somebody taking care of the infrastructure while they only need to care about the application itself.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Desler (1608317)

        Well, for me, it is for low cost hosting for Django Applications, but for business it can be really interesting as there is somebody taking care of the infrastructure while they only need to care about the application itself.

        So what exactly is supposed to be new about that? There have been companies providing exactly such services as that for decades.

        • by killmenow (184444)
          This is Google. Didn't you get that part? IT'S GOOGLE!!!! (swoon)
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Laxitive (10360)

          Really? I see traffic rising on my site. I have 6 servers up and running. I need 6 new servers to come up within the next 10 minutes to service my estimated needs for the next hour.

          ...half hour passes

          Wow, access rate is going up faster than expected. I need 6 more servers.

          ...half hour passes

          Phew. That was over. I just need 6 in total now. Why am I paying for 18? I'd like to take those down, please.

          So, tell me.. who has been providing this service for decades?

          -Laxitive

        • by julesh (229690)

          So what exactly is supposed to be new about that? There have been companies providing exactly such services as that for decades.

          Indeed. Most people miss the point of these services, which is that you can turn capacity on and off, and only pay for what you use. Imagine, for a moment, that you run a vaguely popular web site. Most of the time it copes well enough with a single server, but every so often it grinds to a halt as more users hit it for some reason or another (e.g. you get slashdotted). With a s

    • by FooBarWidget (556006) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:20AM (#29131437)

      Cloud computing has the benefit that when you need to expand your server park's capacity, you don't have to wait for several weeks for the hardware vendor to deliver the hardware. Instead you outsource that job to the cloud vendor. You can more quickly respond to both increase and decrease in traffic. During peak hours you can spawn a few more servers and at night you can shut down a few without having to worry about the physical hardware and their associated maintenance burden.

      • by alen (225700)

        CDW usually takes 1-3 days to deliver a server. they ship the same day if you email the PO by 3pm.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by lena_10326 (1100441)
          What about installation and software setup? How does 1-3 days beat launching a node in 5-15 minutes?
          • by Desler (1608317)

            How does 1-3 days beat launching a node in 5-15 minutes?

            Because for any sufficient volume of processing you're going to be spending many times more using these cloud services than running your own server.

            • Because for any sufficient volume of processing you're going to be spending many times more using these cloud services than running your own server

              And running your own server means keeping an admin guy on staff. It's no more stupid than throwing your box into a colo and having it managed by colo admins or purchasing a virt from a webhost. If you're running a small business, its stupid to host your own these days. A large business has the benefit of economies of scale--small businesses do not.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        oh yeah, because if you are a huge service provider, say 500 cloud server, and you have a spike of traffic (at least 50%) they give you 250 servers already replicated and working in one day, using the replication fairy?
        • by ukyoCE (106879)

          they give you 250 servers already replicated and working in one day, using the replication fairy?

          Yes, they do - that's why they're special. Maybe you're using some new definition of cloud that isn't what I'm thinking of, but they do this by making you engineer your software as basically read-only. Any outputs go to another (equally scaleable) output service.

          They aren't sitting there replicating a full OS install to a dedicated server. They're running the same read-only software image and executing it from an extra 250 virtual servers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        During peak hours you can spawn a few more servers and at night you can shut down a few without having to worry about the physical hardware and their associated maintenance burden.

        Right, but what does it cost, because guess what, just about everybody else wants more servers at peak hours and wants to shut down a few at night. What does the "cloud" service provider do with all of those servers when nobody wants them? How do they cover their maintenance costs for the time when their servers are idle?
        That's right, by charging more for them when you want to use them. The big problem with the cloud concept is that it assumes that the need for servers is spread out evenly across the day a

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          The fact of the matter is that it isn't, most businesses need/want more servers at the same time.

          Do you have a citation for that? I would think that there would be a lot of different services which need servers at different times. Most business services would peak during the day, but I would think most consumer based services (entertainment, shopping) would peak in the evening. And then you have to consider that there are other countries in the world and their day is different than yours. So, their peak times would probably be different. I am not saying that cloud computing is the way to go, but t

          • Do you have a citation for that? I would think that there would be a lot of different services which need servers at different times. Most business services would peak during the day, but I would think most consumer based services (entertainment, shopping) would peak in the evening. And then you have to consider that there are other countries in the world and their day is different than yours. So, their peak times would probably be different.

            Absolutely, the problem is that the consumer services actually have a pretty high demand during the day, even though it peaks in the evening.
            The problem with using cloud computing around the globe is that relying on servers that are in Japan to get business done in Europe or the U.S. puts one at significant risk of regular inability to access the servers due to communication disruption.
            It's not that cloud computing serves no purpose, it's just that it is not the "world changing" idea that its proponents

        • just about everybody else wants more servers at peak hours

          The theory is that your peak hours won't be the same as everyone else's. A company that caters to businesses will have peak hours during the day, while one that caters to consumers will have them in the evening. Companies that do business in different time zones will have different peak hours too. If a suspended water vapour computing company has enough clients then the demand spikes should even out. They can help this by taking business from things like university research labs which have very processo

          • I agree with your point, there are uses for the "cloud" idea, just not nearly as much as the hype suggests. "Cloud" computing is just an update of an idea that has been around as long as computers. There are always people who want to put the genie back in the bottle and centralize control of computing.
            There will always be a place for centralized computing services, but there will always be a need for distributed computing services as well.
        • Google App Engine gives you enough resources to serve approximately 5 million users per month at no cost. See: http://code.google.com/appengine/docs/quotas.html [google.com]

          Google will automatically scale up the number of instances of your application to handle any additional load. Beyond that, the pricing is extremely reasonable. See: http://code.google.com/appengine/docs/billing.html [google.com]

          The cool thing is that you're running on Google infrastructure. You don't need to worry about keeping 3 copies of your live data arou

          • Oh, I thought we were talking about my business documents, not my web site. Sure, if I wanted to run apps in my website, I would consider Google apps. But there is no way I am using Google apps on the "cloud" for my business documents.
            • Oh, I thought we were talking about my business documents, not my web site. Sure, if I wanted to run apps in my website, I would consider Google apps.

              Run apps in your website? You really have no idea what App Engine is. Google Apps != Google App Engine.

        • by Jay L (74152) *

          The big problem with the cloud concept is that it assumes that the need for servers is spread out evenly across the day and the year.

          Or, more accurately, that it assumes the need for servers is spread out more evenly among multiple customers than it is with only one. And that seems likely.

          "Peak" hours have flopped back and forth over the years. I'd guess the PSTN first peaked during the day, as businesses opened. Later, as PBXes spread, maybe peak moved to residential callers at night. Meanwhile, data circu

      • What I don't seem to see mentioned anywhere is what happens when some event happens that causes everyone to go running to their computers to visit the latest fat "web 2.0" sites and suddenly 1000 or 10,000 different users are asking for massive additional capacity from the cloud? I can't imagine they can accurately plan for, much less afford to have on hand, the capacity to respond to that kind of event without everyone suffering poor service. Having inexpensive, instant scalability is great until you ne
        • The point is that the cloud provider has so many customers, the cloud is so big that 10k simultaneous users are just a drop in a big bucket. Website A may have a sudden 10k increase in traffic, but website B and C are idle at this time and will see spikes at different times.

          It's certainly more likely that a provider with 10k customers can maintain a larger data center than you ever can, unless you're Google.

          You say that it scales badly and that the service is crappy. What makes it more likely that you can d

        • by rts008 (812749)

          What I don't seem to see mentioned anywhere is what happens when some event happens that causes everyone to go running to their computers to visit the latest fat "web 2.0" sites and suddenly 1000 or 10,000 different users are asking for massive additional capacity from the cloud?

          That's why I'm developing "Storm Cloud 3.0 ®" technology.
          It leverages the power of botnets and other online zombied PC's for a synergistic value added service for distributed computing.

          Here at Storm Cloud 3.0 ® Central Ministry, our motto is:
          "All your box belong to us"
          You can trust us. Really! ;-)

    • by moon3 (1530265) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:29AM (#29131495)
      Cloud = "Hosting for the noobs"

      The provider is managing everything for you automatically, the Cloud service takes care of pretty much everything including security so it is manageable even for non-technical dudes.
      • by wbren (682133)

        Saying cloud computing is "hosting for noobs" is like saying automatic transmissions are "transmissions for noobs." Sure, automatic transmissions are inherently less efficient than manual transmissions, but they save you from having to worry about shifting gears. Similarly, cloud computing might not perform as well as traditional hosting solutions, but they save you the hassle and expense of scaling up and down with demand. It's a trade-off, like everything else in life...

        • by mobby_6kl (668092)

          > Saying cloud computing is "hosting for noobs" is like saying automatic transmissions are "transmissions for noobs."

          To be fair, that's exactly what automatic transmissions are.

          Cloud computing, on the other hand, doesn't just dumb everything down for the end user, but give a huge amount of flexibility in terms of how you can use it. I think one of the most useful aspects is painless scaling, which just isn't possible if you just keep the server in your closet. Of course it's not the solution to every pro

    • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:31AM (#29131511)

      Essentially, it allows you to treat any net-connected computer as a dumb terminal with web services acting as your actual computer.

    • Server clouds. When you access the web with your computer, you're accessing these sorts of servers already. Specifically, applications run in parallel in dozens of locations, potentially across the globe. Toss in anycasting, and the guy in Boston ends up connecting to a server in boston, and a guy in San Fransisco connects to one in LA, but they're both connecting to the same server as far as their concerned.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      For the most part, I agree. I can certainly see the benefit in using remote processing capabilities (I really hate buzzwords) for things like smartphones, as it enables the user to tap into a far greater amount of processing power than could be crammed into a little handheld. For the home, however, I have a hard time imagining that it is more feasible to do your computing through the network rather than doing it locally. What about things like audio editors and games, that require latencies in the low milli
      • by dkf (304284)

        For the home, however, I have a hard time imagining that it is more feasible to do your computing through the network rather than doing it locally. What about things like audio editors and games, that require latencies in the low milliseconds to be usable?

        For businesses, there's a lot of things they do where latency is less critical and where the flexibility of a cloud is a good win. Not having to worry so much about scaling out physical server facilities is a really big win, as is the fact that clouds are damned easy to handle as a customer in accounting terms.

        Of course, they have to worry about data security. But trust me on this, they have to worry about that anyway. Really. The cloud doesn't change that very much.

    • Backup and sharing. Easy for you and me, difficult and annoying for Joe Sixpack.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jarocho (1617799)
      At this stage, you the individual don't benefit tremendously from cloud computing. But your company, at *almost* any head count, might be able to leverage what's also known as utility computing today. Depending on what it does or doesn't want to bother hosting internally.

      Hosted Microsoft Exchange [microsoft.com] is a concrete example of a cloud (cloud-like) service that's been gaining ground for a while now.

      Wired had a read-worthy piece on Azure's principal architect Ray Ozzie last year, Ray Ozzie Wants to Push Micro [wired.com]
    • My computer doesn't have to be hooked up to the interweb to work...

      Since you are not a candidate for Internet-connected, virtualized, on-demand scalable computing resources (aka "cloud computing"), you are not attracted to cloud computing's value proposition.

      For those of us who need these things, vendors such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are building services we definitely want to buy. Amazon's simple storage service, for example, had 40 billion objects [datacenterknowledge.com] in its repository as of February, 2009.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It depends on your application. My application is a genetic algorithm. I want lots and lots of computers some of the time, and no computers some of the time. So, it's perfect for me.

      I was recently at a Hadoop user's group. There were lots of people with applications that needed lots of compute time some of the time, and really don't need very much at all some of the time. There was a talk by a guy from Data Wrangling [datawrangling.com] where he's pulling in lots of data every night and doing some runs. He really should

    • by segedunum (883035) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:32AM (#29132059)
      People who ask this have generally never hosted anything major before. The attraction is that it decouples your applications and server instances from real hardware and even from the specific virtualisation platform you would otherwise be sitting on. This means that a hardware failure will certainly not affect you in the same way and neither will a failure in a comparable virtualisation platform. It's on a completely different scale, and certainly with Amazon you can spread yourself across different geographic locations. I've seen many Xen VPS platforms have to be rebooted periodically for things like kernel updates and if you're dealing with real hardware then you start getting into failover and drdb, which is far too much of a pain for most development companies to worry about. You just want to host your applications somewhere. Trust me. You start worrying about this stuff very quickly otherwise.

      Additionally, what makes it a 'cloud' and not just a vanilla virtualisation platform is that your storage itself is then decoupled from your machine instances themselves, as well as the hardware, in an easy way without having to faff about with clustered storage set ups yourself or through a hosting company. This makes your machine instances easily disposable and allows for pretty easy recreation of production environments as a failover or for testing and development.

      Essentially, that's what's attractive about it in layman's terms. It makes it far cheaper and far less hassle to get hardware and storage redundancy when you start having to worry about it, but large companies are not going to be outsourcing their critical stuff off site with it. That's just insane. It's just a pity the whole thing has become filled full of shit by people who don't know what they're talking about like that Services Engineering nutcase in the article who is probably being paid way too much money. The article doesn't even tell you what limitations they found in any detail.
    • by Lord Ender (156273) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:38AM (#29132115) Homepage

      I'm developing a JRuby app for Google App Engine. I'm doing it because as a lone developer, I don't have to worry about anything but my code. I will never have to wake up to troubleshoot a network problem, OS issue, Apache oddity. I won't have to hire networking, DBA, or systems administration staff. And if my app hits off big, I won't have to re-engineer anything to make it scale. It will scale automatically.

      I've played the role of network engineer, DBA, and sysadmin in the past. Now I can focus on my application.

      That said, appengine is certainly not for all sorts of apps. It only supports a subset of SQL (no joins), I'm sure it won't meet the requirements for payment card processing or anything like that, and my APIs are limited. But for a good chunk of web apps, developing for the google cloud has huge advantages.

    • by DrXym (126579)
      Scalable computing is the answer. In theory, if you write a cloud app, it can serve from 1 to a million users without you having to lift a finger to make it happen. If more users hit your app, the "cloud" dedicates more instances to serving them. Amazon, Google, MS or whomever take care of it all. Of course in practice it probably doesn't scale that seamlessly and you have to pay the host based on CPU / disk / database /whatever consumption but you get the idea.

      As for why you might choose cloud over your

      • by dkf (304284)

        Of course in practice it probably doesn't scale that seamlessly and you have to pay the host based on CPU / disk / database /whatever consumption but you get the idea.

        Where did you get the idea that scalable is free? Resources cost. What's nice about the cloud is that (with well-designed apps on top) you scale almost linearly, especially in terms of cost. There's far less of a problem with non-linearities as you increase in scale (well, not until you're getting up to the size where it might be an idea to build your own server facility...)

    • by hey (83763)

      You obviously don't drink enough beer.

    • by blueskies (525815)

      The ability to use $10 million dollars worth of hardware for a month without spending $10 million dollars?

      Let alone the fact that since, like you say hardware prices are constantly going down, you don't eat the 30% depreciation a year. Also, what good does your terabyte drive do you when it dies?

      If you aren't looking for rapid scalability, saving money on huge capital investment, large amounts of CPU and data, then the Cloud might not be for you. It's stupid in the same way that buying millions of dollars

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vertinox (846076)

      If I want access to the web, I can get it, but that's only a few times a day when I need it.

      I don't know about you but I need internet access 24/7.

      Secondly, cloud computer is not for nerds.

      Its for non-tech types who want to outsource things.

      Actually "cloud computing" is a euphemism for "outsourcing".

      Well I suppose its for nerds if you are the administrator of a "cloud" but for end users not so much.

    • I still don't get it. Terabyte drives cost as much as my bi-weekly beer budget, and less every day. Computing power is off of Moore's Law, but is still increasing with multicore and multiprocessors. My computer doesn't have to be hooked up to the interweb to work, nor does it require a subscription to some website to keep rolling. If I want access to the web, I can get it, but that's only a few times a day when I need it.
      So, what exactly does "cloud computing" bring to the table for me?

      Cloud computing lets

    • I call it Time Sharing 2.0. I'm young enough to have skipped those days, but old enough to have heard the war stories from the "old timers". Two years ago when I was sitting down to design our product I stuck with what I knew. We started by having our own in house server for development, but as soon as we moved to production I called up Pair Networks and got a couple managed dedicated servers. Why Pair? I've used them for big projects since 1999. They had always been reliable and their servers are man

    • by jafac (1449)

      What does it give you?
      It puts your IP in someone else's hands.
      For safekeeping.

      Kinda makes you feel all comfortable and warm inside, doesn't it?

  • Well, not that shocked....
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by xplinuxmac (1109523)
      Of course this is not surprising if you assume most of its users are in same timezone and do their work between 9-17. Clouds only work if the work of its clients is distributed over time, you can then aggregate dedicated resources for tasks. A cloud can not (never) properly deal with socalled peak load without making sufficient investments into hardware. Peak load occurs when everybody start using the system at the same time for intensive processing or data transactions. This is more likely to occur if your
      • by jabjoe (1042100) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:52AM (#29131663)
        I can't help thinking this is just thin-client + mainframe again, and just like every other time the model has come around, it's being pushed as the future.
        • by Bob9113 (14996)

          I can't help thinking this is just thin-client + mainframe again, and just like every other time the model has come around, it's being pushed as the future.

          Indeed. But there is money to be made in that observation -- get in early on the next wave of "In-house dedicated hardware is the perfect answer to every problem!" Should be rolling in about two years after the cloud becomes mainstream and people realize it isn't the perfect answer to every problem. :)

        • by dkf (304284)

          I can't help thinking this is just thin-client + mainframe again, and just like every other time the model has come around, it's being pushed as the future.

          The thing is, it's good for some things (e.g., plain old web pages) and the thin-client model is much easier when it comes to deployment. If only there weren't idiots about who insist on using it for everything; some stuff just works better with thick clients or standalone.

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @10:42AM (#29133677) Journal
          Not really. A mainframe gives you:
          • Control over your data.
          • Very high availability with multiple redundancy at every level and hot-swappable parts. Most modern mainframes can have a CPU fail in the middle of a job and no one notice except the operator who is paged to plug in a new CPU if he wants the machine to return to full capacity.
          • Insane I/O throughput rates, with dedicated I/O controllers so you can keep the CPU saturated with data at all times.
          • A big fat support contract which lets you wake someone up in the middle of the night and make them fix your problems.

          I don't really see how this is similar to the cloud at all.

  • o NO! (Score:3, Funny)

    by ae1294 (1547521) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:18AM (#29131419) Journal

    I foresee a unplanned and totally random 'Software Audit' at the University of New South Wales in the near future!!!

  • No Tools? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thomas Charron (1485) <twaffle@noSpam.gmail.com> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:26AM (#29131471) Homepage

    Google AppEngine has data reporting to a ridiculous level. This article doesn't even publish any REAL data.

    I really HATE commercicles, small articles which make a claim, and then say, 'stay tuned!'.

    Someone fire the author. The last paragraph reads:

    "Liu will present the findings and offer developers advice on how to build robust applications to withstand the cloud's limitations at the Australian Architecture Forum in Sydney on Monday, August 24."

    Wow, I at least they admit that this article has no REAL data in it, and THAT data will be released on Monday.

  • by grolaw (670747) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:35AM (#29131551) Journal

    I only have 5 Apple .mac/.me accounts and even Apple knows that the rollout was so flawed that they gave us extra time on our contracts for the deficiencies.

    Apple is getting better, but ISPs are choking upload speeds (even my business account that I pay $200/Mo for 6 megabits up and down) shows far slower data rates up over down to/from Apple.

    • by steelfood (895457)

      You bring up another very real problem with "cloud" computing. Somebody is going to have to pay for all that data to be shuffled between your terminal and the app server.

  • AppLogic? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Roguelazer (606927) <Roguelazer@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:37AM (#29131561) Homepage Journal
    Buh? As far as I can tell, Google doesn't have a platform called "AppLogic". Perhaps they were referring to App Engine [google.com]? And it's not even the editors' fault this time -- TFA has the terms wrong too. That really inspires confidence...
    • Yeah, I'm wondering if the article was generated by some sort of AI in an attempt to take the human costs out of blogging. Google's cloud product is, in fact, called App Engine.

  • if i ran slashdot (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nimbius (983462) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:54AM (#29131687) Homepage
    it would be an offense punishable by ban if when referring to the cloud, members didnt roll their eyes and make fart noises.


    cloud is becoming less and less of a "news for nerds" thing because its surrounded by nothing but business jargon instead of tech talk. outsource your risks?? I still manage the same servers, in the same datacenter, with the same network but for some reason its been abstracted to "cloud" computing. you aren't outsourcing any new. theres still a guy you call at 5 AM when the mysql servers arent replicating properly, or the amanda job is hung.

    a PRIME example, this article has NO NUMBERS!! no quantifiers or methods by which they tested the aformentioned services. they only say things were bad when one group of university students half a world away tested them. the university doesnt even mention the study!

    and at seven months of presumably unauthorized stress testing, i wouldnt be surprised if google and amazon network engineers met over a few pints of beer and decided your asinine experiment deserved a bit of traffic shaping.
    • by aicrules (819392)
      and at seven months of presumably unauthorized stress testing, i wouldnt be surprised if google and amazon network engineers met over a few pints of beer and decided your asinine experiment deserved a bit of traffic shaping.

      I think this has the highest likelihood of being the culprit. Perhaps not google and amazon doing the traffic shaping, perhaps not even their own ISP doing it purposely. But it's not a news flash that doing anything over the internet can have wildly different latency and bandwidth re

  • Yes, there are issues, and those companies are being driven by free market demand for their cloud products to continue to improve them. They have the resources and the will to make the clouds better and better over time. Would you be able to keep up if you decided to establish your own data center for your own needs? I don't think so.
    • by sznupi (719324)

      And if "time of day" creates biggest issues, that's actually fairly good news, to some degree (when pipes with the outside world are good, for starters...), for those from some small country in totally different timezone?...

  • ... I have yet to see any application based on any large "cloud" based service have response times as bad as their site right now. A 20x slowdown would under load would be orders of magnitude better than they are achieving. Hmmm ... could one of the reasons some companies prefer to outsource applications be that there is extra capacity to handle peak load conditions?
  • Age Before Beauty (Score:3, Informative)

    by stuffduff (681819) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @09:05AM (#29132423) Journal
    I'm not surprised that these 'Johnny-come-latelys' are having issues. M (Mumps) has had an integrated schemaless database for forty years now and has the tool chain to go with it. The language and the data structure are seamlessly integrated, a concept that was all but wiped out by the relational database movement of the 70's. It's a shame to see this emphasis on schemaless databases is so totally ignorant of both its prior history and the lessons that Mumps has to offer. Ignorance is bliss...
  • There are a number of arguments both for and against cloud computing. Performance and cost aside, it just seems to be an introduction of more single points of failure in your infrastructure.

    In a standard site infrastructure model if your mail server takes a dump, yeah, you're not getting mail. Same with routers, power, etc. We all get that.

    Now introduce clouds for your services and add in firewalls, physical broadband pipes (T1, or whatever), broadband service provider and all their hardware/personel/

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