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Amazon S3 Rules Cloud Storage Stress Tests

I realize that I recently blogged on the results of a survey from Nasuni about cloud-based data security, but I thought readers would be interested in the company's latest research findings, which are based on the results of an ongoing 26-month stress test of 16 major cloud storage providers (CSP).

According to Nasuni--which uses raw cloud storage from these companies--only six of the 16 CSPs passed the test, meaning they provided the "minimum level of performance, stability, availability and scalability that organizations need to take advantage of the cloud for primary storage, data protection and disaster recovery." The six with passing grades are Amazon S3, AT&T Synaptic Storage as a Service (powered by EMC Atmos), Microsoft Windows Azure, Nirvanix, Peer 1 Hosting (also powered by EMC Atmos), and Rackspace Cloud.

The two top performers are Amazon S3, which ranked highest across the board, and Azure.

Nasuni will not reveal the names of the 10 CSPs that flunked out.

Regarding methodology, the tiered tests are designed such that each CSP has to pass an initial test before moving on to the next one. The five testing stages are:

  • API integration, which ensures it is possible to test the service
  • Unit testing, wherein larger software components are broken down into their building blocks--units--and then tested for inputs, outputs and error cases
  • Performance testing, which measures the speed of cloud interaction, meaning how rapidly data moves back and forth to the cloud, and the reaction to high stress levels
  • Stability testing, which measures the prolonged reliability of CSPs
  • Scalability testing, which reveals how the CSPs react to high object counts

"Though Nirvanix was 17% faster than Amazon S3 for reading large files, and Microsoft Azure was 12% faster when it comes to writing files, no other vendor posted the kind of consistently fast service across all file types as did Amazon S3," Nasuni said.

In addition, S3 had the lowest number of outages and the best uptime, and was the only tested company to register a 0.0% error rate in both writing and reading objects during scalability testing. Nasuni also said that while Azure has a slightly faster ping time than S3--which Nasuni attributes to the fact that S3 is much more heavily used than Azure--S3 still maintained the lowest variability.

Just as an aside, I find it interesting that in its current company description appearing at the bottom of its press releases, Nasuni fails to mention the word "cloud" once, while just over a year ago in early October, it started out a new product announcement for the company's Nasuni Filer 2.0 by calling itself the "creator of the storage industry's leading cloud gateway." Nowadays, Nasuni refers to itself as "a next generation enterprise storage company."

More information on the Nasuni Stress Tests is available at

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 12/13/2011 at 12:48 PM


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