Cloud computing promises a number of advantages for the deployment of data-intensive applications. Most prominently, these include reducing cost with a pay-as-you-go pricing model and (virtually) unlimited throughput by adding servers if the workload increases. At the Systems Group, ETH Zurich, we did an extensive end-to-end performance study to compare the major cloud offerings regarding their ability to fulfill these promises and their implied cost.

The focus of the work is on transaction processing (i.e., read and update work-loads), rather than analytics workloads. We used the TPC-W, a standardized benchmark simulating a Web-shop, as the baseline for our comparison. The TPC-W defines that users are simulated through emulated browsers (EB) and issue page requests, called web-interactions (WI), against the system. As a major modification to the benchmark, we constantly increase the load from 1 to 9000 simultaneous users to measure the scalability and cost variance of the system.  Figure 1 shows an overview of the different combinations of services we tested in the benchmark.

External Source: http://highscalability.com/blog/2010/5/26/end-to-end-performance-study-of-cloud-services.html