Cloud Computing Comparison – Part 1

By | September 12, 2009

Recently, the company I work for decided it was time to make a push into the “Cloud”. We host many web services for many of our customers and all the way up until now, we have always done things the old fashion way of having a dedicated server onsite. Last year we thought outside the building and purchased a server out on Rackspace and so far we are nothing but happy with its performance. This year we make the next move and have decided on the virtual cloud. Our choices after looking at a slew of providers was either Amazon EC2 service or Rackspace cloud. The reasons we went with these two were because Rackspace, in my opinion, is the leading corporate hosting provider available and the service we get from them is second to none; and Amazon is seemingly infinite in size and you can just about guarantee a high level of network availability.

After we started working with both Amazon and Rackspace, our developers were worried about the bandwidth and/or network latency on these servers. They didn’t feel it was up to par and was worse than they anticipated. That was where I stepped in and started running various analysis’s. The rest of this article will print out the details of my findings where you can then make a judgment of your own.


Over the course of a couple days I had been tracking statistics from both the Amazon and RackSpace “Cloud” services. The requests was a HTTP GET request to the default tomcat home page on port 80 which makes 4 requests and is 18KB in size.
My numbers on the horizontal axis are a little crunched. The times below are starting on 8/25 and finishing on 8/26. The times are in 24 hour format. There was one sample every 5 minutes. Because of the large amount of samples, Excel left out some of the data plots on the graph. Either way, even when I stretch this out to show every single plot, it still shows up in similar fashion. Generally under .5 seconds with the occasional spike but no longer than .95 second load time.

↓More info below the graph ↓

Amazon/Rackspace comparison

Instead of posting every single data plot, I’ll just give the summary

Amazon Rackspace
High        .79  seconds       .95 seconds
Low        .34 seconds        .37 seconds
Mean      .44 seconds        .45 seconds
Median    .40 seconds        .42 seconds
Mode      .39 seconds        .40 seconds

I decided I was going to let this run for a while as well as get a 3rd party “baseline” website to compare our statistics. I didn’t think of that part at first. This graph shows that both sites are similar in speed. But are these speeds good? I think they are… but in comparison to what.. you get what I’m saying. I tried to find a similar sized page from someone like Google, Yahoo or some other high availability website so we have something external to compare it to.

Be sure to check out Part Two

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