The Bits blog from the New York Times ran an interesting article a couple of weeks ago called ‘How Fast Can a Cloud Run?’ (you’re right, I’m still catching up with my reading!). It talks about a service called CloudSleuth, which measures the speed of response of various cloud services.

Our Microsoft Azure cloud came out on top (I’d like to think I’d still be writing this, even if it didn’t).

Living near clouds is a good thing

But the thing that interested me was the impact of geography on response times. I used to remember the good-old-days-of-the-Internet, when the service would start to slow down to US-based websites from around 2 o’clock in the afternoon – which coincided with people waking up and getting online on that side of the Atlantic. But that was a decade ago or more – I’d forgotten all about it.

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The chart above, snipped just now from CloudSleuth, shows the picture that caught my eye. Basically, the closer you are to the datacentre, the better your cloud experience is going to be. And because most datacentres are in the US, that’s where the best response times are.

It sparked off a few of thoughts:

  • How transparent cloud computing is going to be, compared to today (because the whole world can look up your response times)
  • I wonder if that’s why we’ve been having high take-up of our Live@edu cloud email services for education in the UK – because the datacentre is in Dublin, not Dallas.
  • We obviously need more cloud datacentres in Europe.

So, do cloud-based datacentres run as fast as onsite ones?

Well, it’s pretty clear that the answer depends on a variety of factors:

  • How fast is the cloud datacentre?
  • How fast is your own datacentre?
  • Where is the cloud datacentre?
  • Where is your users? (because if your user isn’t on-site, they probably get a completely different experience)