Lead Image © Lucy Baldwin, 123RF.com

Lead Image © Lucy Baldwin, 123RF.com

Network performance in the world's favorite data center

Head in the Cloud

Article from ADMIN 73/2023
We launch a network performance test on EC2 to answer the question: Is the cloud as fast as expected?

In the Performance Tuning Dojo article two issues ago [1], I determined the importance of baselines to every performance analysis. This month, I measure a baseline on the cloud and confirm it meets my expectations – and discuss what to do in light of unexpected surprises. Network performance is a complex problem with many variables. To make the problem tractable, you start by looking at specific scenarios, as opposed to the entire problem space in abstract. What does network performance look like in AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) when using familiar tools?

Amazon's Network

At its simplest, networking in AWS is straightforward: Launching an instance with the default networking configuration will give you an instance with a valid IP address. At a minimum, an AWS instance has one network device attached. The maximum number of network devices that can be attached depends on the instance type, but it is safe to assume that current instance types (except T2 and M3) all support enhanced networking for Linux. That is where the easy part ends, with available instance configurations reaching to 170Gbps with a single card (and 200Gbps with two cards or the Elastic Fabric Adapter) [2]. Verifying that the expected configuration throughput matches actual wire speed is where benchmarking comes in.

Following the advice in Table 1, launch two m6in.2xlarge instances located in the same AWS availability zone for testing (see the "AWS Testing Policy" box). Rated at "up to 40 Gbps" by AWS [6] and equipped with an Elastic Network Adapter (ENA), they should perform well with any operating system providing appropriate hardware support

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