Cloud battle scales new heights

One million requests per sec? No sweat for Compute Engine, says Google

Elliot Bentley
andromeda-google-compute-engine1

In snub to Amazon, Google demos load balancer-as-a-service scaling up to 1m in just five seconds.

One
of the best aspects of AWS-style cloud computing is the ability to
quickly scale up in times of high traffic. Reddit, for example,
temporarily added 40% extra capacity to cope with last year’s
Obama AMA
using Amazon’s cloud service.

However, while Bezo’s behemoth may be the biggest cloud
provider, it’s far from the only option available. Microsoft are

starting to take Azure seriously
, and this week Google
trumpeted the advantages of Google Compute Engine with an
impressive demo of their load balancing service.

In the days before Nginx, the target was 10,000 simultaneous
requests: now, Google have
shown off
their virtualised infrastructure scaling up to
1,000,000 per second in just five seconds.

In May, Google Compute Engine
hosted the backend
for the Eurovision Song Contest companion
app. The TV show is watched live by 125 million people across
Europe, and its engineers managed to scale the app to a whopping
50,000 requests per second.

In comparison, wrote Voellm, the load generated in this
experiment was 20 times that amount – equivalent to truly enormous
massive spike in traffic. The million requests per second were
served by 200 single-core VMs, each receiving approximately 5,000
requests per second.

The key boast for Google is the speed at which these VMs were
spun up: apparently within five seconds and without any
‘pre-warming’ whatsoever. AWS’ Elastic Load Balancing service is
nowhere near as flexible – requiring both a $49-monthly premium
support agreement and notification of high traffic in advance.

Equally impressive is the fact that this setup cost just $10
USD. Granted, this might go up a notch when sending real responses
(the service is billed by GB of data processed in addition to an
hourly service charge), but still appears to be jaw-dropping value
for money.

As AWS continues to dominate the market, it’s good to see real
competition and innovation from rivals – even if it results in
Google controlling even more of the internet.

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