Measuring 'the Cloud': Performance could be better

Nov 19, 2012

(Phys.org)—Storing information "in the Cloud" is rapidly gaining in popularity. Yet just how do these services really work? Researchers from the University of Twente's Centre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT) have completed the first comprehensive analysis of Dropbox, a popular service that already has 100 million users. One shortcoming of this service is that performance is greatly dependant on the physical distance to the Dropbox servers. The researchers will present their findings in a major forum, the Internet Measurement Conference (IMC2012) in Boston.

Users are fully aware of the advantages of cloud services. You can access your data from anywhere in the world, using a PC, laptop, tablet, or . On the down side, there is no systems manager for you to call, someone who can "fix things" if your data fails to appear. Researchers from the CTIT's Design and Analysis of (DACS) group, together with counterparts from the Politecnico di Torino, have made the first detailed performance measurements of Dropbox (currently the most popular cloud storage service). For instance, they have examined the processes, and checked how and where the information is stored.

Hashing

Dropbox stores its information in Amazon's servers, which are located on the of the United States. The administrative functions, such as hashing (slicing up and sequencing the data), take place on its own servers. If the hashes show that a file (or a part thereof) has already been stored, then Dropbox will not transmit that information a second time. Other cloud services also use this approach, to limit the volume of data exchanged. One condition for the of hashes is that users must not encrypt their data. If users ignore this requirement, they find that Dropbox's performance suddenly drops away.

Something else that is not apparent to users is the physical distance to the servers on which their data is stored. Amazon has servers throughout the world, yet Dropbox only uses those that are situated on the west coast of the US. Together with the hashing operation, this can lead to a significant drop in performance. Users who are accustomed to having immediate access to their data just have to wait longer.

The paper entitled "Inside Dropbox: understanding personal cloud storage services" by Idilio Drago (UT), Marco Mellia (Politecnico di Torino), Maurizio Munafò (Politecnico di Torino), Anna Sperotto (UT) Ramin Sadre (UT) and Aiko Pras (UT) will be presented on 16 November at the Internet Measurement Conference in Boston.

Explore further: Music site SoundCloud to start paying artists

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google might launch Drive for cloud storage soon

Feb 12, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Google's next big move, according to the Wall Street Journal, is a cloud storage service called Drive. Hardly first to the plate, Google is simply catching up to introducing its cloud reposi ...

What Dropbox can teach us about cloud computing

Feb 16, 2012

Dropbox is the most deceptively simple of services. Place a Dropbox folder on each computer or gadget you own. Drag any file into that folder. A copy of that file automatically appears on every device where you put a Dropbox ...

Google joins 'cloud' data storage trend

Apr 24, 2012

Google on Tuesday launched a long-anticipated "Drive" service that lets people store photos, videos, and other digital files in the Internet "cloud."

Sidekick's lost data gone for good

Oct 12, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Sidekick users have been without some of their services for days, and have just been told by the company, T-Mobile, that for some users their data may be lost forever due to a server error ...

Recommended for you

Facebook awards 'Internet Defense Prize'

8 hours ago

Facebook awarded a $50,000 Internet Defense Prize to a pair of German researchers with a seemingly viable approach to detecting vulnerabilities in Web applications.

Twitter tries to block images of Foley killing

Aug 20, 2014

Twitter and some other social media outlets are trying to block the spread of gruesome images of the beheading of journalist James Foley by Islamic State militants, while a movement to deny his killers publicity ...

New generation is happy for employers to monitor them on social media

Aug 20, 2014

Will employers in the future watch what their staff get up to on social media? Allowing bosses or would-be employers a snoop around social media pages is a growing trend in the US, and now a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Said Business School suggest ...

User comments : 0