Recent research has suggested that while the gap between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft is still fairly wide, Microsoft has been gaining traction. Now Nasuni, a provider of cloud storage gateways, has put out a new report that might in part explain why this is happening.
Results of cloud storage tests
For the past three years Nasuni has published a series of cloud storage tests. This year, those tests were run on Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), and Google Cloud Storage clouds. For the first time, Nasuni reports that Microsoft Azure has bested AWS across all those tests.
Specifically, the Nasuni Read, Write, and Delete tests found:
Write: Microsoft was the overall winner for write speed, excelling in 13 of the 23 combinations of thread counts and file size. However, for files larger than 1 MB, Nasuni reports that AWS was 80 percent faster than the others, with Google performing at roughly the same speed as Azure.
Read: Microsoft consistently outperformed the other two providers, but AWS trails Microsoft by less than it did in the Write tests. Google consistently performed at about half the level of Microsoft.
Delete: Microsoft was more than twice as fast as Amazon and about five times as fast as Google.
Other highlights of the tests include availability and scalability. Nasuni reports that AWS and Microsoft were nearly tied in the availability metric, with Amazon’s average response time of 0.1 seconds just ahead Microsoft’s 0.14 seconds. Google was roughly five times slower than the others. Nasuni notes that AWS response time was significantly more consistent and that Google had the most variance and the slowest times.
In terms of scalability, Nasuni says Microsoft had, by far, the largest write variance, which was more than 130 times larger than Google with the smallest variance.
In general, Nasuni says read and write errors were almost non-existent. Only Amazon showed any misses at all: five write errors over 100 million objects, which gives an error rate of .00005 percent.
How cloud providers stack up
While cloud storage performance and mileage will vary by applications, the Nasuni tests indicate that Microsoft Azure as a cloud storage platform is rapidly maturing. But AWS is still significantly larger. A recent Deutsche Bank report estimates AWS revenues are approximately $6 billion, nearly ten times the size of Microsoft Azure today. Microsoft Azure revenues for the current fiscal year are estimated to be between $500M and $700 million. But the report also notes that Microsoft claims to be signing up 10,000 new customers per week on average.
Of course, there’s a world of difference between end users storing data or a developer building an application development environment and actual applications running in production. But Microsoft has firmly established itself as the primary rival of AWS, with Google and IBM SoftLayer being the next two major players.
Whether those relative positions will change in the years ahead is anybody’s guess. But for the moment, two of the four major players appear to be putting some distance between themselves and the rest of the cloud service provider community.