I had the pleasure to one of the people assigned to check out data centers in Brazil and Argentina for our upcoming City Cloud node down there. We are expanding in Scandinavia with more data centers and will move to North America and South America over the next 18 months. Exciting times as you can imagine. We will also soon present the new people joining City Network to handle our expansion in various territories.
We got to visit plenty of data centers in both Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Fun and the quality is no doubt good in most cases. I can also say that compared to the US or Europe – prices in South America is quite a bit more expensive. Infrastructure is not quite what it could have been and that in combination with a heavily expanding region assures continued high cost. Unfortunately that will to some extent be reflected in our pricing once we launch City Cloud down there. However we still plan and expect to have some of the best pricing for cloud computing and virtual machines located in South America.
Back to the title of this blog post. As I passed through Buenos Aires I took the chance to test latency and also download of a small file from City Cloud as well as some of our competitors. I set Cloud Harmony’s speed test to test European data centers. If you test any services in South or North America you would most of the time find better access times as data normally travels via North America and then to Europe. Makes sense and can easily shave a second off of your access times.
The test was run from a hotel room with what seemed as a decent connection. I set to test VPS.NET as well as Rackspace and Amazon EC2. If you click on the image below you will get better quality and it will be easier to read.
Latency was as expected a lot higher than testing from within Europe. Instead of 10-40 ms we are talking 10 times those numbers. As you can see from the data below City Cloud averaged 334 ms whereas the competitors averaged a whole second or more than that. Big difference between services but also big difference in having servers close to you. Now it varies greatly as Argentina does not have the best flow out of the country and therefore depending on provider it can be much better – but sometimes worse.
When it comes to the actual download of a file the times to get it downloaded did not vary greatly. City Cloud took top honors at about 12 seconds but with VPS.NET coming in close to that and Rackspace and Amazon EC a few seconds longer. Here it is of course everything from how fast the VMs perform as well as getting to the data quickly.
Comparing access from Europe to European servers is clearly, as expected, a lot faster. However we are a little surprised to see some providers reaching as much as 500 ms in access time and even peaking at over 700 ms. See the difference in access times in our previous test from within Europe.
Many times it is ok to have higher access times. Especially if it is a website and not a game that requires minimum latency to function. However as always – with performance getting more and more important access times and being close to your audience grows in importance.