An economic and energy-aware analysis of the viability of outsourcing cluster computing to a cloud

Autores UPV
Revista Future Generation Computer Systems


This paper compares the total cost of ownership of a physical cluster with the cost of a virtual cloud-based cluster. For that purpose, cost models for both the physical cluster and the cluster on the cloud have been developed. The model for the physical cluster takes into account previous works and incorporates a more detailed study of the costs related to energy consumption and the usage of energy saving strategies. The model for the cluster on the cloud considers pricing options offered by Amazon EC2, such as reserving instances on a long-term basis, and also considers using tools for powering nodes on and off on demand, in order to avoid the costs associated to keeping idle nodes running. Using these cost models, a comparison is made of physical clusters with similarly-sized cloud clusters. This comparison is then corrected taking into account the different performance of the cluster nodes in each of the two cases. The results show that cloud clusters are an interesting option for start-ups and other organizations with a high degree of uncertainty with respect to the computational requirements. However, if high performance is the main goal, we have identified that the cloud clusters cannot deliver an amount of computational power comparable to a physical cluster with a similar cost.