Cloud Spectator, an independent testing organization, recently reported the results of benchmark testing on cloud performance across nine of the largest, most well-known public cloud providers with data centers in Europe. Across this group of cloud providers that included Google, Microsoft, Amazon AWS, IBM and others, CenturyLink Cloud® had the highest CloudSpecs™ Score in the test and was recognized as the cloud service provider offering the highest overall value to customers. This pattern has played out before in similar studies.

For 2016, Cloud Spectator has focused industry attention on the considerable performance variability across otherwise similar product offerings from different cloud vendors with operations in Europe - and they note that this observed performance variability directly impacts the value delivered to cloud customers. Based on testing against all the major public cloud vendors with data centers in Europe, Cloud Spectator describes three common misconceptions about performance in the cloud:

  1. VM performance is pretty much the same across different cloud service providers (CSPs).

    False. Cloud Spectator netted entirely different performance results given similar VM configurations from different cloud service providers.

  2. When it comes to performance, you get what you pay for.

    False. In this study focused on performance, Cloud Spectator found no real correlation between price and performance.

  3. Resource contention, known colloquially as the Noisy Neighbor Effect, is not a concern with most providers.

    False. Cloud Spectator noted that resource contention in multi-tenant computing environments has the potential to significantly impact the performance and ultimately value that customers experienced.

This Cloud Spectator testing in the European market reminds us that public cloud environments are generally based on multi-tenant physical hosts, which means a business may share the same physical resources with different users on the same hardware. With a lack of visibility into other users’ activities, resource-intensive applications can affect the performance of other VMs on the host machine. Accordingly, the hardware specs associated with a specific VM size from any vendor are a relatively poor gauge of the useful output that customers can expect when subjected to resource-sharing with other tenants.

Overall CloudSpecs™ Score

The ranking of the nine Europe-based cloud service providers tested in this effort, based on CloudSpecs™ Score is shown below.


Value based on price and performance in this study is ranked in relation to the highest-value across European cloud service offerings. The study ranked CenturyLink highest overall in this category.

CenturyLink Cloud also achieved the highest CloudSpecs™ ranking in the vCPU and Memory Value category, while Google achieved the highest CloudSpecs ranking in the Block Storage Value category.

Virtual CPU and Memory Value


Block Storage Value


Cloud Spectator was not sponsored by any of the participants included in this study. To download the complete Cloud Spectator report, click here.


A lack of transparency in the public cloud IaaS marketplace for performance often leads to misinformation or false assumptions. It sometimes takes impartial third party testing to highlight the design differences that lead to best execution venue decisions. Variations in cloud computing performance has the potential to impact users differently from service provider to service provider, involving everything from the physical hardware (e.g., Intel or AMD, SSD or spinning disk), to the cost of the virtualized resources. The reality of multi-tenant host computing is that resource contention is commonplace and can directly impact the performance and value that cloud customers experience.

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