Microsoft Azure vs SIM-Cloud: cloud provider testing & comparison

Can SIM-Cloud, the public cloud of a German provider, compete with the Microsoft Azure cloud platform? In this article, you will learn which of these solutions offers better performance and which one is more affordable.

SIM-Cloud vs Microsoft Azure. Who will win?

The Microsoft Azure cloud was launched in 2009 as Windows Azure. By the end of 2019, Azure’s share on the IaaS/PaaS cloud service market was 16,9%. This solution is the runner-up in the top 3 public clouds, followed by Google Cloud. The goal of this testing is to determine whether SIM-Cloud, a public cloud of a German provider, compete with Azure in terms of price and performance. The evaluation criteria include CPU performance, RAM bandwidth and SSD storage speed. The choice of instruments for the testing was dictated by the end goal – find out how virtual CPUs will perform under heavy workloads. Common tools and testing methods were used in this comparison. While preparing for the testing, it was discovered that the IaaS configurations of SIM-Networks and Microsoft did not match each other precisely. For example, the minimal amount of RAM was different while the amount of CPU cores was the same. The configurations in this testing were chosen to match each other as closely as possible:

  • MS Azure: 8 CPU & 28 Gb RAM
  • SIM-Cloud: 8 CPU & 16 Gb RAM

Cinebench r15 vCPU performance testing

The Cinebench r15 test checks the performance of the CPU under heavy strain on the computing modules. Unlike similar tests, Cinebench r15 uses 3D graphics to test the CPU instead of mathematical calculations. All CPU cores are being used at their full capacity, which helps evaluate the performance of the processors with intense workloads. The test was carried out with no additional settings. Evaluation criterion: the bigger the value, the better the performance.

MS Azure  Azure Cinebench testing

SIM-Cloud  SIM-Cloud Cinebench testing

The 8-core CPU of SIM-Cloud significantly outperformed its competitor: Azure’s 799 vs SIM-Cloud’s 968.

x265 benchmark vCPU performance testing

The x265 benchmark determines the speed of the CPU while encoding video into various formats. This stage of the testing consists of two parts: 1080p video rendering and 4K video rendering. The performance of the CPUs is measures in FPS (frames per second). Evaluation criterion: the bigger the value, the better the quality.

x265 benchmark 1080p video testing

MS Azure  Azure x256 1080p testing

SIM-Cloud SIM-Cloud x256 1080p testing

x265 benchmark 4K video testing

MS Azure Azure x256 4K testing

SIM-Cloud SIM-Cloud x256 4K testing

The cloud solutions showed similar results; however, SIM-Cloud’s average FPS value was higher. Note that SIM-Cloud uses more recent CPUs than the competitor’s configuration.

RAM bandwidth testing using SiSoft Sandra

SiSoft Sandra is one of the best tools for comprehensive component testing, diagnostics and monitoring, as well as performance evaluation. RAM bandwidth is a multi-faceted characteristic which determines the performance of random-access memory. This parameter is also known as the «peak transfer rate». Evaluation criterion: the bigger the value, the better the result.

MS Azure Azure SiSoft Sandra testing

SIM-Cloud SIM-Cloud SiSoft Sandra testing

The results show that SIM-Cloud's RAM bandwidth is significantly higher than that of Microsoft Azure.

CrystalDiskMark SSD performance testing

The SSDs of both providers were tested using CrystalDiskMark. This software tests sequential IOPS and 4 Kb block reading with 32 queues per 32 threads and the 1 queue per thread. Standard SSD storage was tested in the Azure cloud; GS1 (General Storage) was used in SIM-Cloud. Evaluation criterion: the higher the speed of the IOPS, the better the performance.

MS Azure

Azure CrystalDiskMark testing


SIM-Cloud CrystalDiskMark testing

The average SSD speed of SIM-Cloud is higher than that of its opponent, Microsoft Azure.

Which is more cost-efficient, SIM-Cloud or Microsoft Azure?

As we mentioned before, the configurations of both cloud solutions are as close to each other as possible. Both IaaS products have 8-core CPUs and the closest possible RAM configurations: 16 Gb for SIM-Cloud and 28 Gb for Azure.

You can learn the price of cloud rental on the SIM-Networks website using the IaaS configurator. Renting the configuration for a month will cost you 185 Euro. The cost of the Azure configuration per month can be seen on this page. After choosing the parameters from the drop-down menu, we see that the price is 582.23 US dollars – close to 530 Euro.

The price difference between the cloud solutions is nearly 300%. While the Azure configuration had more RAM, this did not give the cloud platform an advantage against SIM-Cloud.

Cloud Server

Cloud server

Learn more about the highly available public SIM-Cloud

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What else should I check while choosing a provider?

This testing showed that the performance of SIM-Cloud is higher than that of Azure when using similar configurations. Meanwhile, renting the German provider’s cloud for a month will cost you 300% less. However, it is also important to look into factors that have a direct influence on the client experience.

Azure’s tech support is provided through paid packages. The level of support and the response time are determined by the chosen tariff. By default, the only support the client gets is assistance with account management. Microsoft only offers basic tools to clients who need help with client migration. This is not a surprising discovery: typically, companies that prioritize the quantity of sales spend as little time as possible per client.

SIM-Networks practices a personalized approach to each client. Every SIM-Cloud user gets 24/7 tech support with a guaranteed response time of 1 hour or less. Each client can request migration assistance and the company’s experts will take care of this process. Depending on the scale of the project, this service may be provided for free. A well-performed migration is the key to the stable functioning of services in the cloud. This way, the provider saves the client time and resources while lowering the amount of tech support requests.

The testing was performed by Yuri Rassadnikov, a popular Russian tech blogger. Get acquainted with the original article on Yuri’s blog.

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