What do we mean when we say performance?

By Danielle Arad - February 11, 2012
3 min read

As soon as you thought the meaning of a word like “performance” was pretty straight-forward and easy, you talk to someone at CloudShare and we say “well, what do you mean?”

We find that sometimes users confuse which type of performance they would like to investigate. For example, if you are streaming a movie on your local machine and RDPing into your CloudShare Virtual Machine, the performance of the RDP connection might be jeopardized. From your point of view, however, it might look as though the performance of the machine is poor because there is a delay when you click the “Start” menu.

It’s true. The Cloud makes talking about machine performance a bit more complicated. The reason for this is that performance in the cloud can mean many things. So what does “Performance” mean to CloudShare?

In the CloudShare Pro Plus product we break performance into the following eight categories:

1.) Performance of the SaaS application. This is Use.CloudShare.com. How fast can you login? When you click a button, how long does the request take?

2.) Performance of the IaaS. This is where a lot of CloudShare magic is – the provisioning of virtual machines, the movement of resources, and shareing. How fast do we create the virtual machines? How well do the bare-metal servers perform?

3.) Performance of the RDP/Console/SSH connection. This is where you spend most of your time interacting with your virtual machines. How well is the accelerated RDP running? Is there latency?

4.) Performance of the virtual machines. We control part of this with the performance of the IaaS, but you can control how you allocate resources on your machine, and what you have running on them.

5.) Performance of the web on the virtual machines. When you access the Internet from your virtual machine what is your up/down speed? Funny story about this, in some countries, performance of RDP is so good that the users have a better Internet experience browsing the web on their VMs, versus locally. Cool, huh?!

6.) Performance of Resume. This is the one you think about most. How quickly do your virtual machines become ready? This performance is now counted on a per-machine level and is highly depedent on the size of your virtual machines. The more memory and disk a machine has, the longer the resume.

7.) Performance of Snapshot. When you take a snapshot. How long does it take? This, like resume performance, is dependent on the size of your virtual machine, but also dependent on the difference of your live virtual machines from the last snapshot you took. The smaller the difference, the less time.

8.) Performance of Web Access. This is one of the most popular features for sharing what you built within CloudShare with outside users and prospects, without giving them access to the machines themselves. This performance measures how long the web requests from the user takes to be routed to your web server, and return results. Part of this is on us, part on you. If your server is not performing well because of low resource allocation, the web pages will be served up slower.

Does your brain hurt?

When dissecting questions on performance, any of the 8 categories above play a role. Clearly, performance of a snapshot is only a question when taking a snapshot. And performance of web access only if you actually use web access.

Performance of the IaaS seems like a magical, ethereal thing. It’s the performance of those big metal boxes located somewhere in the world. This is an area in which CloudShare makes regular efforts to further improve performance, and something that is completely out of your hands, unlike the other factors.

I hope I haven’t put you to sleep. This lesson on performance is intended to help you when working in your CloudShare environment to know how to be most productive. We want to help you understand why when you contact us to ask about performance, we follow up with, “what do you mean by performance?” We are digging deeper into your questions in order to give you the best service possible.

This post was brought to you by the letter “P.”