Liftr Insights FAQ
Liftr Insights FAQ

How does Liftr Insights gather data about public clouds?

We implement DevOps—a combination of development and operations. We write and maintain cloud-based apps to gather cloud data via each CSP’s application programming interface (API) and other methods of software automated data collection. If you are into software development, we’re an agile software development shop.


Does Liftr Insights field surveys to gather data?

No. We’re not against surveys—they’re very useful for finding information that is not publicly available. But we collect publicly-available data, so surveys are unnecessary. Because our public data collection is based on DevOps, we automatically collect data on everything we’re interested in. It’s fast, it’s comprehensive, there is no sample bias and it is much less expensive to implement than surveys.


Does Liftr Insights use DoubleHorn cloud brokerage customer data?

No. Period. We gather data separately. We do leverage DoubleHorn’s developer talent and DevOps experience.


How does Liftr Insights analyze the data it gathers?

We have data scientists on staff. They do data sciencey things like ensure we’re gathering the right data, normalize data so we can compare cloud service provider offerings and perform data analytics to compare the cloud service providers.


Does Liftr Insights use machine learning?

Yes, we occasionally use machine learning. We spend a lot of time on making sure we gather the right data and that the data we gather is clean (data scientists call it “data hygiene”). Then, through our Liftr Cloud Distiller database and other internal systems of record, we normalize the data we gather from each cloud service provider so that we can make fair comparisons between the providers. Machine learning is part of our analysis mix. We also use a lot of other analytic techniques.


Any data through API?

Yes, as part of the automated data pipeline, we harvest the bulk of our data through API. Having programmatic access to data ensures that our analysis is less prone to errors and always up-to-date.


How do I know your data is unbiased?

We reduce bias by not fielding surveys and not sampling. We reduce bias by not cherry-picking the best data or cutting corners to collect the convenient data. We count everything.

What does Liftr Cloud Components Tracker measure?

We measure…

  • All the public data and metadata we can find
  • Describing each infrastructure-as-a-service compute instance
  • In every region
  • For each cloud service provider we track

Such as…

  • Instance Metadata
    • CSP
    • Type
    • Size
    • Region
    • Price
  • Processor Specs
    • Vendor
    • Instruction Set
    • Brand
    • Model Series
    • Model Number
    • Generation
    • Core Count
    • Core Speed
    • Memory Size
  • Accelerator Specs
    • Vendor
    • Type
    • Brand
    • Model
    • Chip Count
    • Memory Size


How often do we measure all of that stuff above?

We measure all that stuff every month, at the end of the month. That’s twelve (12) times per year.


How many physical servers are deployed behind each instance type we record?

We don’t know for sure, and there is no legitimate way to find out with any accuracy. This info is a deep secret for each cloud. There are ways to infer how much hardware each cloud is investing in though, especially when we track new instance deployments month-to-month. Wait a few months, we’ll have some really cool insights about how many servers and chips are being deployed.


What workloads or applications are running on a specific instance type?

We have no idea what kinds of workloads are running on any instance type and no way to find out. Neither do the cloud service providers themselves, if they are adhering to their customer privacy agreements. Finding that kind of non-public info would take partnering with other companies that have invested in implementing large-scale surveys. First, we’d have to find cloud customers using the specific instance type in question, then ask them to divulge which apps they are running in that instance type. Even if we find a few customers using that type, many will not tell us what they are running in that type. We’d be open to partnering with other companies who are practiced at surveys, but our core value is DevOps-based automated collection of publicly-available data.


How do you compare the value of a specific instance type configuration between regions in a cloud?

We do that by clustering instances with a narrow range of configurations to determine a center of gravity for pricing. Then we assume that comparing similar configurations in different regions within a cloud or between different clouds is similar. This is a reasonable approximation, but system architectures may vary between clouds, affecting the performance of instance types with similar high-level specs.


Can you compare similar instance type configurations using different processor architectures and/or system architectures?

We can’t directly compare the value of instances based on different processor architectures or system architectures… yet. We’ll need to run workload-specific performance analysis, also known as benchmarks. This applies to:

  • Comparing instance types with different processor architectures.
  • Comparing instance types that appear to have similar instance type specifications but are implemented with different system architectures in different clouds.

The above apply whether comparing instance types within one cloud or across different clouds.


Which cloud service providers do you track in the Liftr Cloud Components Tracker?

  • Alibaba Cloud (also known as “Aliyun”)
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
  • Microsoft Azure (Azure)

What kinds of information can I see on the map?

You can see a substantial amount information we aggregate in our Liftr Cloud Distiller (see below) on the Liftr Cloud Regions Map. We can map any information that a tracked CSP makes available by region.


Do I have to pay or login to use the Liftr Cloud Regions Map?

No, it is free to use here.


Can I share the map?

Yes, it is open to anyone with a web browser that is compatible with Google Maps.


How should I use the map?

It is based on Google Maps, so it responds to the same mouse clicks or finger touches that Google Maps responds to. Zoom, scroll, select, all work as in Google Maps. Select a pull-down dimension and then select an active location to see what a cloud service provider in that region offers to customers.


Where do you get the data for the map?

We aggregate display data for the Liftr Cloud Regions Map from our monthly Liftr Cloud Components tracker scans and a lot of other publicly available metrics through cloud service provider public configuration and pricing APIs, web scraping, and human data gathering.


How factually accurate is the map?

See the Liftr Cloud Distiller and Liftr Cloud Components Tracker sections.


How geographically accurate is the map?

We position each region in the city the cloud service provider identifies with the region or in the most prominent capital city in the region.


How often do you update the map?

We update the Liftr Cloud Regions Map at least once every month, after our end-of-month Liftr Cloud Components Tracker scan. The update is an automated pull from our Liftr Cloud Distiller database.


Which cloud service providers do you track in the Liftr Cloud Regions Map?

Currently, we track four CSPs who collectively represent over 60% of IaaS and PaaS revenue:

  • Alibaba Cloud (also known as “Aliyun”)
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
  • Microsoft Azure (Azure)

What is it?

The Liftr Cloud Distiller is our proprietary database at the core of our multi-cloud comparisons. It compares similar IaaS instance types and also similar PaaS services across tracked cloud service providers.


What does it do?

The Liftr Cloud Distiller enumerates a list of high-value IaaS instance types and PaaS services from tracked CSPs, which enables in-depth comparisons and analysis of cloud technologies, cloud services and cloud industry trends. Liftr Cloud Distiller currently tracks and normalizes about 200 unique types of IaaS instance types and PaaS services. We examine each CSPs’ services to equate its services to our normalized services in an unbiased manner. Some CSP services are complex and map into multiple normalized services, other services map one-to-one. Cloud Distiller is a many-to-many mapping of services that enables us to make a fair “apples-to-apples” assessment of CSPs’ services offering.


Why did you develop it?

In 2017, before the Liftr Insights product line or Liftr Insights company start-up, we were part of a cloud services broker. The broker needed a fair and unbiased way to compare IaaS instance types and PaaS services to guide its customers to the best cloud for different classes of workloads and specific applications.


Are you selling it?

No. At the moment it is powering our complimentary Liftr Cloud Regions Map. In the future we may offer for-profit queries into the Liftr Cloud Distiller targeted at specific market needs.


What is its relationship to Liftr Insights products and services?

Liftr Cloud Distiller is the engine behind our products and services, including Liftr Cloud Regions Map. For example, we add new information to our Liftr Cloud Regions Map by first adding a CSP or a new service to our Liftr Cloud Distiller.


Which cloud service providers do you track in the Liftr Cloud Distiller?

Currently, we track four CSPs who collectively represent over 60% of IaaS and PaaS revenue:

  • Alibaba Cloud (also known as “Aliyun”)
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
  • Microsoft Azure (Azure)

“We identify trends and deliver insights about deployed Internet-attached infrastructure.”

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