Photograph by Getty Images/Image Source
By Barb Darrow
May 13, 2015

Here’s another data point for executives weighing a move to cloud computing, well cloud storage, to be more precise. The latest biennial survey from Nasuni, a cloud storage management company, said its latest round of tests comparing performance of cloud storage services from Amazon, Google and Microsoft, found that Microsoft Azure led the pack.

This was based on a series of tests over a few months time, that tracked performance (as measured by write/read/delete times), availability and scalability.

Check out the whole State of Cloud Storage report but cutting to the chase: Microsoft’s (MSFT) storage service came out ahead overall, according to John Capello, VP of product strategy for Natick, Mass.-based Nasuni. Amazon storage came in a close second and beat Microsoft’s in some scalability and availability tests. Google (GOOG) Cloud Storage, showed promise, but remained in the third spot—the same place it had in in the 2013 report.

“Amazon (AMZN) did better on bigger files with bigger thread counts,” Capello said. “It seems designed for larger migrations, which sort of fits the way the market is shaping up, with Microsoft doing medium-sized businesses and AWS doing high-performance applications and web scale projects,” Capello said. Thread count refers to the number of transactions—or threads—that are executed simultaneously. For big files, processing multiple threads in parallel speeds up the process.

Nasuni has a vested interest in ascertaining the fastest, most reliable cloud storage because it places customer data in the best cloud available and manages it there. Customers including Edelman PR, the Wharton School and law firm Gesmer Updegrove LLC, have to feel comfortable that their word documents, PDFs, media files are safe and sound.

When Nasuni initially launched its service, it relied heavily on Amazon’s storage but in the past few years, based on its own testing, it started putting new customer data into Azure. In this space, Nasuni competes with companies like Panzura, StorSimple (now owned by Microsoft) and TwinStrata (now owned by EMC (EMC)).

As the hype cycle around cloud computing continues, you have to pity risk-averse CIOs and CEOs who must weigh putting more data and applications into someone else’s cloud infrastructure. Especially when they read about messes like cloud provider Nirvanix’ unexpected shut down in 2013 which left customers in a panic about retrieving their data. Or this more recent story about one customer’s Azure failure.

On the flip side, there’s Zynga (ZNGA). The San Francisco-based game maker relied heavily on Amazon for many of its computing jobs, then moved many of them to its in-house “Z cloud” saying the plan was to “own the base but rent the spike.” So much for that. Last week, Zynga said it was shutting down the data centers it had invested $100 million in and returning to Amazon’s cloud.

Cost considerations and the need for flexibility, mean that the flow of corporate data into the cloud is inexorable. So data points like Nasuni’s can be helpful as CIOs evaluate their options.


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