An alternative to Amazon: review and testing of SIM-Cloud (IaaS)

SIM-Cloud Review


Despite the hegemony of AWS on the global market of cloud services, a keen mind always finds an excuse and an opportunity to search for an alternative to the “one and only leader”. The service that may become such an alternative is based in Karlsruhe, the IT-capital of Germany. In this article, I would like to share my impressions after getting to know a cloud service offered by a German company SIM-Networks.

A few words about SIM-Networks:


It is a hosting provider based in Karlsruhe, Western Germany. The city is currently serving as a home base for more than a thousand IT companies. The headquarters of SIM-Networks is a couple of blocks away from two hi-tech data centers in which the servers and SIM-Cloud itself are stored. The company has more than ten years of experience in the sphere of professional hosting and infrastructural solutions, working with the clients from 68 countries throughout the world. The company offers a set of solutions typical for a professional hosting service. Customer support is available in four languages (EN, RU, DE, UA) at all times 24/7/365.

Description of SIM-Cloud:

BASIC PARAMETERS OF THE SIM-CLOUD:

Computing

  • KVM Hypervisor
  • Processors Intel Xeon E5
  • 19 standard configurations: from 1vCPU/1vRAM to 16vCPU/128vRAM


Network

  • Cloud network. VXLAN Ethernet 10-40 Gbit/sec
  • SAN. Fat Tree Infiniband-сеть 56 Gbit/sec
  • External network 1-10 Gbit/sec


Storage System
Software-defined storage (SDS). Drives of two different types:

Tier I (SATA):

  • Bandwidth — 200Мbit/sec
  • IOPS — 500


Tier II (SSD):

  • Bandwidth — 300Мbit/sec
  • IOPS – 10000


Backup System (BaaS)

  • • RTO (Recovery Time Objective) 15-30 minutes


SIM-Cloud Review

N+1 redundancy is implemented on SIM-Cloud resources level.


Clients’ isolation in the cloud: The users are not visible to each other and under no circumstances the unrelated clients can “meet” in the virtual environment. The isolation of data and software which work within the virtual machines is driven by KVM hypervisor. The network traffic of the client in private networks is secured by VXLAN technology. Thus, the private data and traffic of the clients are isolated from each other.


The management of the ordered resources is performed via the control panel SIM-Cloud Dashboard.


Safety of the cloud and the stored information is guaranteed on several levels.


LEVEL 1: Tier III and Tier III+ data centers in Karlsruhe (Germany) certified in accordance with the ISO27001 standard. This guarantees that the information stored in data centers is physically isolated from the influence of the outer world.


LEVEL 2: The infrastructural and program part of SIM-Cloud have been designed, installed and configured in such a way that only SIM-Networks staff has access to them. All the systems and services of the cloud cooperate within the protected and isolated environments and systems. All the connections use encryptions and strict authentication. All the elements of SIM-Cloud are under constant (24/7) supervision of automatic monitoring systems and engineering group.


LEVEL 3: The Federal Republic of Germany, the country with the exemplary justice system and severe legislation, standing on the private property protection.

 

SIM-Cloud (IaaS): Comparative Testing


The technical properties of the cloud in hand have been estimated by means of a series of comparative tests between the two major providers of cloud services Amazon (AWS) and Microsoft Azure and the cloud of SIM-Networks.


The configurations of the computers used in the tests have been maximum identical with their quantitative values:

Amazon AWS: 8 CPU / 15 Gb RAM

MS Azure: 8 CPU / 25 Gb RAM

SIM-Cloud: 8 CPU / 16 Gb RAM


RAM minimum corresponding to the number of processor cores provided by the supplier.


We used SSD as the boot drives. A drive with 20 000 IOPS and an additional SSD drive have been taken for Amazon. Standard SSD drives have been used for SIM-Cloud and Azure.


The tests have been made to measure the CPU, RAM and SSD capacity.


The following methods have been used for testing:

  • Cinebench r15 – CPU: A standard testing without any additional settings has been performed and the results of each configuration could be compared with the others. Evaluation criteria: The larger index is better.
  • x265 benchmark – CPU: Two tests have been made: the first has been made for 1080p video render and the second has been made for 4k video render, measured in FPS (frames per second). Criteria: The larger index is better.
  • SiSoft Sandra – RAM: The RAM capacity has been estimated. Criteria: The larger index is better.
  • Crystal Disk mark – SSD: 32 disk queues in 32 flows. Criteria: The larger index is better.


The following screenshots of each test have been organized depending on the software used for the testing:

Cinebench r15

Criteria: The larger index is better.


SIM-Cloud Review

Amazon AWS


SIM-Cloud Review

MS Azure


SIM-Cloud Review

SIM-Cloud


Please, pay attention to the index: AWS – 624, MS Azure – 799, SIM-Cloud – 968. Thus, we can see that the performance of the octa-core processor of SIM-Cloud significantly prevails over the performance of its competitors.

x265 benchmark 1080p

Criteria: The larger index is better.


SIM-Cloud Review

Amazon AWS


SIM-Cloud Review

MS Azure


SIM-Cloud Review

SIM-Cloud

x265 benchmark 4k

Criteria: The larger index is better.


SIM-Cloud Review

Amazon AWS


SIM-Cloud Review

MS Azure


SIM-Cloud Review

SIM-Cloud


The results of the testing show that the gap between SIM-Cloud and the IaaS cloud offered by AWS is tremendous.


Let’s also measure the RAM capacity of the selected configurations via the system stability analyzer SiSoft Sandra.

SiSoft Sandra

Criteria: The larger index is better.


SIM-Cloud Review

Amazon AWS


SIM-Cloud Review

SIM-Cloud


The results of the testing show that AWS significantly prevails over its competitors but, at the same time, SIM-Cloud has considerably better results than Microsoft Azure.


Finally, let’s check the speed of SSD via the popular utility software Crystal Disk mark.

Crystal Disk mark

Criteria: The larger index is better.


SIM-Cloud Review

Amazon AWS 20 000 IOPS


SIM-Cloud Review

Amazon AWS standard SSD


SIM-Cloud Review

MS Azure


SIM-Cloud Review

SIM-Cloud

Summary:

All in all, SIM-Cloud has demonstrated quite good results whether we test it alone or in comparison with two well-known market giants which have been the pioneers of the whole sphere. So, we consider that the provider SIM-Networks and its cloud SIM-Cloud is a great alternative to both Amazon and Microsoft. This fact has been clearly proven by the results of the testing. Moreover, this cloud is by far better in some technical aspects along with the price of the cloud services being much more attractive.


A pleasant perk: the cloud SIM-Cloud have the trial period for 7 days free of charge. During this time the provider would do anything to help you understand the whole procedure making the trial process maximum productive.

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