Enterprises at risk of ‘significant overspend’ on cloud services, research warns

1&1 continues to be the best value for money cloud provider with Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) trailing, according to the latest report from cloud performance benchmarking firm Cloud Spectator.

The annual report, of which regular readers of this publication will already be aware, this time covers the US infrastructure as a service (IaaS) space, and aims to show that biggest is not always best.

10 cloud service providers were analysed, including the four largest players in the market – AWS, Azure, Google, and IBM SoftLayer – who had to be able to provide self sign-up, persistent block storage, and hourly billing intervals. The vendors were ranked on the median performance of vCPU-memory and storage, and ranked out of 100 when compared on price and performance.

With 1&1 as the leader and given 100 out of 100 as the benchmark, the major players struggled to get even half of that number. Google (48) was the best performer, while Azure (27), AWS (24) and SoftLayer trailed off significantly.

When it came to virtual machine performance, the bigger players were seen as most reliable – Amazon, Azure and Google scored lowest on performance variability – yet when it came to overall median performance, 1&1, Rackspace and OVH were in front. For block storage, Rackspace was on its own in terms of performance levels, with the majority not being too variable, Amazon’s disk variability being artificially high due to an anomaly aside.

“The 2017 highlights considerable differences in price, performance and stability across the leading IaaS providers,” said Kenny Li, Cloud Spectator CEO. “More than ever, the enterprise consumer is at risk of significantly overspending when it comes to selecting the right cloud products and vendors.”

Of course, the argument will be that the convenience and reliability of choosing an established player – the top four vendors in cloud infrastructure own more than half of the market, according to Synergy Research – helps it pay for itself. Yet speaking to this publication last year, Li emphasised the importance of due diligence. “When it comes to price performance, we see many smaller players find an advantage by offering high-performance infrastructure at a very competitive price,” said Li.

“The volume [from the hypervendors] also comes with additional performance considerations, such as throttling to provide a standard user experience across the entire infrastructure, which may result in lower performance on cloud services.”

The 10 vendors assessed were 1&1, Amazon, Azure, CenturyLink, DigitalOcean, Dimension Data, Google, OVH, Rackspace, and SoftLayer. You can find out more about the report here (registration required).

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