Which Clouds have the best peering in the US?

Collecting a billion measurements a day from over 30,000 networks provides insight I wish I’d had when managing hosted security operations at my previous job. We had over 2,500 physical and virtual instances across 3 main data centers. Each data center was, of course, multi-homed and we bought transit and peering from a redundant set of bandwidth providers. But how well were those providers performing? What were all those peering arrangements and transit costs actually buying us? Agent based monitoring from the usual suspects could confirm that I was well peered to back bone networks and major data centers, but how well connected were my data centers to real people’s homes, offices and cafes?

In honor of Cloud Connect I’ve taken some Cedexis Radar data and made suggestions for those considering Azure and Amazon as cloud vendors. How good are their peering arrangements? How effective are they at delivering dynamic content to the last mile?

When you try to ask this question using Cedexis Radar, the first thing you realize is to be meaningful, you actually have to ask a more granular question: from which ISP and over what time frame? The per ISP and per minute variability in Radar measurements are a constant source of amazement to me. So to start, we’ll choose the week of Monday, January 30 2012 and 3 major US ISPs: AT&T, Verizon and QWest. We’ll measure HTTP Response Time – a measurement we define as the time to request and download, over a warmed up socket, a 50 Byte file. I’ve included both of Azure’s US locations, all 3 of Amazon’s US locations and for comparison the Internap/Voxel US location.

In each graph, the Y axis is average HTTP Response time in milliseconds measured from millions of browsers sitting in each network.

We’ll start (of course) with AT&T, the largest US network by subscriber base:

AT&T US (ASN 7132)

Interesting that EC2 US-West starts well and trails off and that Azure NorthCentral outperforms EC2 US-East. I’d have guessed that the AWS Virginia facility would be the consistent winner.


Verizon US (ASN 19262)

To be clear, this is Verizon’s home and business network (not their mobile network). Surprising that, except for a midweek hiccup, Voxel’s US location edges out Amazon US-East.

Qwest US (ASN 209)

In this case EC2 US-West is consistently the fastest even though that US AWS region would have been a poor choice for reaching visitors coming from AT&T or Verizon (at least over the course of this week) and Voxel’s US location is as much as 40% slower than the top choice.

Of course, our stance is spreading your risk and your performance across multiple cloud providers is the best bet and we’ve build a set of tools to make multi-provider strategy and execution possible. We can even show you how well your own peering providers are doing. Wish I’d had this in the last job!