Issue As applications are moved into the cloud—whether private or public—performance can suffer when the applications are compute intensive or bandwidth constrained. Enabling client-side execution for compute-intensive or bandwidth-constrained applications will generally deliver a better user experience. In the fall of 2010, Intel’s IT department ran a series of tests to determine the effect that client type has on the performance of a variety of cloud-based applications. It tested three client types.
A high-end client: Mobile PC Second-generation Intel Core processors with vPro technology Microsoft* Windows* XP (32 bit) 3 GB RAM Entry-level desktop Intel Atom™ processor Microsoft Windows XP (32 bit) 2 GB RAM Single-core processor Microsoft Windows XP Embedded (32 bit) 2 GB RAM
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A midrange client:
A thin client:
The applications tested include: Intel’s internal enterprise resource planning (ERP) portal, hosted on a private cloud Two versions of the same customer relationship management (CRM) application hosted on the vendor’s public cloud: one version a traditional cloud application; the second a rich Internet application (RIA) version of the same application (RIAs provide for client-side application execution) A mapping application (also an RIA), hosted on a public cloud Intel’s employee portal, hosted on a private cloud An external e-commerce site In each application test, Intel IT assessed the user experience by measuring the time taken to complete common user operations. In the cases of the employee portal and e-commerce site, the performance difference among client types was measured in milliseconds, with generally not enough of a difference to substantially affect user experience. For users who only access these types of applications, a lightweight client may be appropriate. But in the cases of the ERP portal, both versions of the CRM application, and the mapping application, performance differences among clients were measured in seconds and, in the case of the ERP portal, in minutes. For users who typically work with these types of applications, the thin client and midrange client delivered a significantly poorer experience. The best performance was delivered by a combination of the mobile PC and the RIAs, which took advantage of client-side execution.5
5 For complete information on the tests run by Intel IT, see Cloud Computing: How Client Devices Affect the User Experience. intel.com/content/www/us/en/cloud-computing/intel-it-cloud-computing-client-devices-affect-user-experience-paper.html
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