2nd April, 2013

A Completely Unscientific Glance at Virtualization

TechEmpower recently ran an interesting study comparing speeds of different web frameworks over here

I'm going to ignore the framework comparisons. They've been discussed at length on the Web elsewhere. I want to draw your attention to the numbers of the highest performing libraries, on both an Amazon EC2 instance and a dedicated server.

Peak JSON responses per second

Amazon EC2 VM:  37,717
Dedicated server:   213,322

Database access test

Amazon EC2 VM:  8,838
Dedicated Server:   96,542

Holy cheap hardware, Batman! I was aware virtualization came with performance penalties but by my beer-mat-calculations, the dedicated server handled over 5 times as many requests in the first test and over 10 times as many in the second!

This is completely unscientific and very finger-in-the air, so further tests are in order. As a software developer I use virtual machines all the time. They are cheap and convenient, however it appears they may not be ideally suited for heavy production servers.

Next time I'm working on releasing a project, I'll be sure to check the expected traffic volume. It might be that the cost of running 10 Amazon EC2 instances is higher than a single dedicated server.

In summary, running your web application on dedicated hardware can handle between 5 and 10 times the number of concurrent users as a VM.


The opinions expressed here are my own and not those of my employer.