On Wednesday, Google announced the availability of PerfKit Benchmarker, an open source application for benchmarking cloud performance across a variety of cloud infrastructures. PerfKit Benchmarker tackles the notorious difficulty of obtaining metrics about cloud platforms that enable an apples to apple comparison of cloud performance and operational efficacy. PerfKit reports on metrics such as “application throughput, latency, variance and overhead” in addition to data related to the time required to provision resources. Available by means of an Apache License v2, PerfKit Benchmarker is complemented by Perfkit Explorer, a visualization platform that features dashboards and other tools that facilitate rapid comprehension of trends and the business significance of the metrics collected by PerfKit Benchmarker. In a blog post, Google pledged to keep PerfKit current with changes to the evolution of contemporary cloud infrastructures as follows:
PerfKit is a living benchmark framework, designed to evolve as cloud technology changes, always measuring the latest workloads so you can make informed decisions about what’s best for your infrastructure needs. As new design patterns, tools, and providers emerge, we’ll adapt PerfKit to keep it current. It already includes several well-known benchmarks, and covers common cloud workloads that can be executed across multiple cloud providers.
Perfkit currently supports the Google Cloud Platform in addition to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure according to TechCrunch, . All told, the release of Perfkit Benchmarker constitutes a seminal moment for the cloud computing industry given the dearth of data that enable cross-vendor comparisons, metrics compilation and benchmarking. Despite the availability of platforms such as Cloud Harmony, New Relic and Splunk, few tools in the industry facilitate vendor comparisons by leveraging transparent methodologies and metrics-development practices. The key question regarding PerfKit, however, will be the degree to which its measurement practices indirectly play to the strengths of the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), although presumably the Google Cloud Platform Performance team would know better than to create a benchmarking tool that serves to cast a positive light on GCP. Moreover, Perfkit was developed in collaboration with the likes of CenturyLink, CloudHarmony, Intel, Microsoft, Rackspace and Red Hat which in and of itself suggests the cloud computing space stands poised to leverage Google’s record of innovation and quality in conjunction with “quarterly discussion on default benchmarks and settings proposed by the community” led by Stanford and MIT. Regardless, Perfkit represents an exciting moment for the technology landscape as cloud computing continues to lean in the direction of interoperability, open standards and APIs between proprietary platforms that facilitate workload sharing and an increasingly open ecosystem for application development and data sharing.