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6fusion probes AWS for performance secrets

All apps must confess sins to the almighty Workload Allocation Cube

Application security programs and practises

IT capacity company 6fusion has developed a tool that helps Amazon Web Services developers assess the performance of the cloud relative to their own on-premises infrastructure.

6fusion's UC6 Meter for AWS tool became available in both free and paid for versions on Monday, and gives admins a relatively hassle-free way to compare the resource utilization of on-premise resources with those found in Amazon.

The tool measures the resource consumption of AWS compute (EC2) instances, along with Elastic Block Storage (EBS) volumes. It does this via 6fusion's "Workload Allocation Cube" (WAC) technology, which works by measuring datapoints that include CPU utilization, disk utilization, storage capacity, and disk, WAN, and LAN IOPS. This information is aggregated through its WAC technology to output a single value that reflects the performance and resource use of an app.

Previously, WAC has been available on-premise to track the six datapoints across applications that sat on virtual machines in vSphere 4.x environments. "We've built data collectors that plug into the various infrastructures and report the data back to our SaaS platform," Rob Bissett, the company's senior veep of product, tells The Reg. "You would deploy a data collector internally, and it will enumerate all the instances and start to collect underlying performance metrics."

Alongside the launch of the UC6 Meter for AWS, 6fusion also introduced support for vSphere 5.1, along with Citrix Xen Server 6.0.

By comparing the different WAC outputs from the same app running on different bits of kit, you can get a simplified view of how variable your app performance is – or so the thinking goes. By adding this data into AWS, admins can then assess the performance of on-premise versus cloud-hosted apps, and perhaps shift their technology around to get the best performance for the lowest price.

"It represents our first foray into normalized metering for the public cloud," Rob Bissett, the company's senior veep of product, says. He hopes the tool will let admins "normalize their costs in the Amazon ecosystem against their internal costs".

The tool hooks into Amazon via an admin account, and 6fusion recommends that users give it a "read only" account, as although the tool does not do any manipulation of AWS resources, if 6fusion were to be breached it could wreak havoc on customer gear.

As with all measurement approaches, if you put garbage in, you'll get garbage out. IT pros will need to test multiple similar workloads across varied bits of gear to get an impression of how effective WAC measurement is.

The value of a system like this will increase over time as 6fusion adds adapters in for other public clouds. Bissett confirmed that the company was in conversations with Google (Compute Engine), Microsoft (Azure), and Rackspace, but would not be drawn on timelines of when these may come along.

Pricing for the technology is either free for just the metering, or $5 per VM per month to gain access to 6fusion reporting and other features in its cloud-based SaaS product. ®

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