Dissertation: The Development of a Performance Evaluation Framework for Cloud Computing in SMEs.

Cloud computing is a paradigm shift in technology as more users of traditional IT outsourcing are transitioning to cloud-based services. The cloud offers IT usage in a flexible manner while being cost effective. The traditional IT outsourcing method incorporates servers and equipment which are underutilised and is therefore inefficient.  It is imperative for SMEs to evaluate cloud computing as an IT outsourcing methodology and compare it to the traditional method.

Choosing an IT outsourcing methodology is an essential stride for SMEs, especially in today’s highly competitive industries. Much of past research has focused on the architecture and economic aspect of cloud computing. The present study is focused on the performance aspect of the IT outsourcing methods, targeting SMEs in the process.

The purpose of this research study is to evaluate the cloud’s performance, in correlation with cost and scalability, and comparing the results with the traditional method’s performance. Since it is targeted at local SMEs, a performance-gauging framework was developed for SMEs to serve as a guideline in choosing the right IT outsourcing method.

In terms of research methodology, both qualitative and quantitative studies were used in this research. In-depth interviews were conducted with ten local SMEs. The purpose of the interviews was to gather insight into the IT outsourcing methods used by the local SMEs themselves and also to provide practical aspects that were used in the quantitative study. The quantitative study consisted of test cases where performance, scalability and cost were tested across all outsourcing instances. This involved two cloud providers, (Amazon and Microsoft) and a traditional IT outsourcing method.

The results obtained from the test cases outlined the performance, scalability and cost of both cloud computing and traditional method. The results showed that cloud computing could perform better in terms of hardware and web applications. However, when it came to data transfer between client and server, the traditional method performed much better due to the localised infrastructure benefit. Finally, a performance-gauging framework which also included scalability and cost factors was developed for SMEs.