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IaaS Performance Benchmarks Part 8: HP Public Cloud

This is the eighth part in a series of articles about creating my own IaaS performance benchmarking project. After explaining my methodology for testing instance types across IaaS providers, I've run benchmarks for Amazon Web Services>, Google Compute Engine, Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines, Rackspace Cloud Servers, and SoftLayer. In this part, I look at HP Public Cloud. HP has offered IaaS for a few years, but more recently has focused on providing an OpenStack-based public cloud.

While I had wanted to test HP Public Cloud through RightScale (as I had done in my other cloud tests), RightScale does not currently support all regions/zones that HP has in the U.S. So I verified that I got similar results testing RightScale CentOS 6.4 images through RightScale in HP's Availability Zone 1 and HP CentOS 6.4 images directly through HP, and then tested HP's CentOS 6.4 images in all of the availability zones. Thankfully, the OpenStack command-line interface (CLI) is well-documented and supported by HP (and the OpenStack community), and so testing was easy to automate.

As of today, there are two U.S. regions (East and West), each with three availability zones, and 11 instance types, although not every instance type is available in each availability zone. I ended up running 46 VMs across the six different availability zones on HP’s CentOS 6.4 image.

At this point in time, HP’s public pricing page does not offer any discounts for commitments or pre-payment. I was told by an HP salesperson that discounts are available, but are negotiated between customers and HP, so I can’t speak to how much those would be.

HP Public Cloud Benchmark Results

Here are the main takeaways that I have from testing across HP Cloud:

• I did not find HP Public Cloud to have significant variations between regions in terms of performance, although I did find that West-AZ2 and West-AZ3 were the most limited in terms of instance availability.

• Most IaaS providers either fall into the category of (a) having a single family that all runs on the same underlying hardware and naming instances Small, Medium, etc., based on the number of cores/RAM allocated or (b) having multiple families and naming instances HighCPU-Medium, HighMem-Medium, etc. HP does something different; it has a “regular” family and a HighMem family, but even within the regular family, there are clear variations in performance.

For example, by the single-core UnixBench scores, the Standard 8XLarge does better than the Standard 4XLarge, which is running on a better processor than the Standard 2XLarge, and on down the line. Most individual benchmarks in UnixBench showed these differences (e.g., Shell Scripts -- 1 concurrent -- ran almost four times faster on the Standard XLarge than on the Medium). Yet all of them get reported as “Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T7700 @ 2.40GHz” by the VM. So if you’re comparing with other providers, you should really consider that each instance type is its own family. (Note that HP Cloud does not address this in its FAQ or feature description).

• Like other clouds, the best price-per-performance for single-core UnixBench is the cheapest one; with HP, it's the Standard XSmall. HP has a gentle price-per-performance drop as you vertically scale instances, so unlike other providers, there aren’t a few small instances that have much better price-per-performance than the rest.

• HP’s price-per-performance for multi-threaded UnixBench scores matches pricing so well that there’s not much to say. If you go with HP Public Cloud, you don’t really need to think about instance-type selection as much as you would with other IaaS providers.

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NEXT: Comparing HP To Other IaaS Providers

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