Google’s new open-source PerfKit framework watches cloud application performance

Apache-licensed cloud performance kit aims to make cross-platform comparisons easier.

Google’s latest foray into the open-source realm is a framework it’s calling “PerfKit,” which is designed to measure application performance in the cloud, the company announced Wednesday.

The framework has two main components, according to an official blog post – first is the measurement system itself, called Perfkit Benchmarker, which tracks standard metrics like throughput, latency and overhead, in addition to overall resource provisioning times. The other part is dubbed Perfkit Explorer, a visualization tool that provides a series of dashboards and metrics to track performance across the cloud.

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The source code for PerfKit is available under the Apache 2.0 license, and Google has pledged to keep the product relevant even as the cloud continues to evolve.

“PerfKit is a living benchmark framework, designed to evolve as cloud technology changes, always measuring the latest workloads so you can make informed decisions about what’s best for your infrastructure needs,” the announcement stated. “As new design patterns, tools, and providers emerge, we’ll adapt PerfKit to keep it current.”

The genesis of the idea, according to Google, was the difficulty of comparing performance across different cloud platforms.

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“It turns out that it’s surprisingly difficult to evaluate cloud offerings beyond just looking at price or feature charts,” the company said.

PerfKit is a sign that Google has recognized the ongoing march of the cloud among enterprise customers, according to 451 Research analyst Jay Lyman.

“Now that more organizations are adopting cloud computing infrastructure, more of them are interested in measuring and optimizing performance, so Google's PerfKit is an effort to answer that demand,” he said.

Moreover, Lyman added, Google’s own determination to make inroads among business customers may have helped push the project forward.

“[PerfKit] also comes at a time when Google is pushing harder into the enterprise and offering the kinds of features, functionality and assurances that enterprises expect, and this fits into that, too,” he noted.

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