CloudClimate Cloud Comparison Service Launched

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The goal is to give customers a way to compare services and to help service providers find problems in their environments

A network monitoring software maker is creating a Website that shows the real-time performance of several public cloud computing environments, including Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud.

Paessler AG, a German software company that also has offices in Portland, Ore., is using its PRTG Network Monitor solution in its new public Website to keep tabs on the performance of the cloud hosting services Amazon EC2 in both the United States and Europe, GoGrid CloudServers and NewServers.

In addition, CloudClimate almost measures the cloud storage performance of Amazon’s CloudFront and S3 (Simple Storage Service), and Mosso’s Cloud Files.

Paessler AG CEO Dirk Paessler said Amazon and GoGrid had been using his company’s network monitoring software to keep an eye on operations internally. He thought to take it a step further.

“I had the idea that we could continuously monitor all these servers and publish [the results] on a dedicated Website,” Paessler said in an interview.

The system works by having a core server installation of the PRTG Network Monitor running on Amazon EC2 in the United States, he said. Other remote “probe” monitors are installed at the cloud service sites that are being monitored. The probe systems send HTTP and Ping requests to each other every minute to measure the network performance, and those results are put into graphs that are posted on the CloudClimate Website.

Paessler said the Website has a number of benefits. For customers of the cloud hosting services, they can get a reading on how well those services are performing. For Paessler AG, it not only allows the engineers to test their products, but also gives the company some good publicity.

For the cloud service providers—all of whom have agreed to Paessler AG’s initiative—they get a way to see how their systems are performing. The Website has been up and running for about two months, Paessler said. A few weeks ago, Amazon engineers looking at the site saw some slow request times to download 64KB files in their CloudFront services, he said. The engineers were able to make some changes that resulted in request times dropping from 1,200 milliseconds to 200 milliseconds, Paessler said.

He said Paessler AG plans to add new providers to the list of hosting services being monitored. The company also will add new types of sensors.

A key limitation to the system right now is that it is limited to Windows environments, which excludes those hosting services—such as RackSpace Hosting—that are not based on Windows. That limitation is being worked on, Paessler said.

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