Microsoft and AWS lock horns over ‘fake benchmarks’

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Microsoft shared a number of benchmarks of SQL and Azure. The benchmarks were very positive, and seemed to beat AWS in several important categories. AWS now retaliated with benchmarks of their own, in turn surpassing Microsoft.

At the start of December, Microsoft released the benchmarks, accompanied by a spicy headline. AWS was mentioned: ‘Faster and cheaper: SQL on Azure continues to outshine AWS’. Of course, AWS could not let such grave insults slide, so they released their own benchmarks, using the publicly available TPC-C HammerDB benchmark tool. This benchmark showed a performance advantage of 1.75 times over Microsoft’s effort, and up to a 40 per cent advantage price/performance.

Caveats

Amazon alleges that Microsoft used striping to increase the results of their benchmarks. In addition, the benchmark was compared to an older AWS instance, which of course wasn’t seen as fair by Amazon. Also, a modified TPC-E benchmark was used, which means proprietary Microsoft benchmark tooling. Moreover, some of the costs were left out because licensing and Software Assurance were not mentioned.

Microsoft stated that “Actual results and prices may vary based on configuration and region,” but this was only to be found in the fine print in the footnotes of the blog. Undoubtedly, there will be more shots fired from both sides in the future, as Microsoft keeps getting closer to AWS in the cloud business.