my musings on technology

IT and The Cloud: AWS Latency

Posted by on Dec 2, 2010 in Musings | 1 comment

One of the primary concerns I have regarding relocating our IT Infrastructure to ‘The Cloud’ is latency.  We (the IT Industry) have spent so much time and money upgrading our LAN infrastructure to where our servers are all at a minimum GigE attached (if not bundles GigE or 10GigE) with 10GigE uplinks and GigE piped to the desktop!  Our users are extremely used to very responsive system and the ability to move data from Point A to B in the LAN at very high speeds.

If we move servers to ‘The Cloud’ we are once again at the whim of our Internet connections and our business applications are in contention with You Tube for bandwidth!  Even in a best case scenario (with no network traffic) I wanted to make sure the user experience accessing servers in the cloud was a good one.

I’m currently based on the East Coast of Australia and Amazon has no AWS facilities locally.  The closest geographical AWS data center would be Singapore (APAC), however my previous experience in dealing with connectivity through Singapore had me skeptical at best.  The next closest was the US West facility and having lived there I was probably a little bit biased to that location.  But the proof would be in the numbers.

Armed with IP addresses in both regions, I started some basic ping / traceroute tests.  Over roughly a 24 hours period, Singapore came in at an average of 220 ms for a standard ping packet, while US West came in at 180 ms.  The traceroute also showed 13 hops to APAC with only 11 hops to US West.

So for me the decision was made.  I was going to deploy my test servers in the US West region!  I do worry about 180 ms ping times but I’m going to go ahead and test out the user experience over that connection.  More to come!

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