What happened to performance engineering in the cloud? Otesanya David March 26, 2022

What happened to performance engineering in the cloud?

What happened to performance engineering in the cloud?


Remember when performance was everything? I used to spend days in computer labs testing performance and reporting for tech magazines about what I found. The tech that provided the best performance, meaning CPU processing, data, storage, and other components at the highest speed, typically won “Editor’s Choice.”

These days we understand that good application, platform, and database performance is table stakes for any deployed systems, including cloud computing. That said, I don’t hear the discussions about cloud system performance as much as I did just five to seven years ago. What happened?

Maybe it’s a sign that we’ve gotten so good at performance that’s it’s no longer an issue. I think that performance issues remain, but how we handle fixes in the cloud is not discussed as much as it should be. The approaches and technology used to adjust performance issues are not as well understood, at least from my experience with cloud migration projects and net-new cloud system development.

When cloud architects are asked why they no longer do performance modeling and testing to the degree that we once did, I think most will say that public clouds have an almost unlimited amount of compute and storage resources. If performance becomes an issue, we’ll just allocate more resources until the trouble is fixed.

There are a few problems with this assumption.

First, those resources are not free. They increase the operational cost of the systems deployed in the cloud, perhaps three to five times more than if other types of performance fixes, such as improved design, were taken. Tossing money at a problem is not a “technology solution,” and although I’m sure such a fix is possible, if it costs you five times more, it’s not a real solution.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.


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