# Questions to ask before conducting a performance evaluation

05 May 2013 I've been evaluating some popular cloud systems lately and unsurprisingly enough, I'm finding it really hard to make a final call on a set of results. Have I tuned the systems I'm comparing appropriately for the workloads I'm subjecting them to? Are the workloads reasonable? Is the system itself the bottleneck or is it a set of external factors? There were so many questions piling up that it's made me rather skeptical about system evaluations I find in papers today.

So I've picked up this book, and found this minimal checklist to go through to avoid common mistakes when conducting a performance evaluation.

- Is the system correctly defined and the goals clearly stated?
- Are the goals stated in an unbiased manner?
- Have all the steps of the analysis followed systematically?
- Is the problem clearly understood before analyzing it?
- Are the performance metrics relevant for this problem?
- Is the workload correct for this problem?
- Is the evaluation technique appropriate?
- Is the list of parameters that affect performance complete?
- Have all parameters that affect performance been chosen as factors to be varied?
- Is the experimental design efficient in terms of time and results?
- Is the level of detail proper?
- Is the measured data presented with analysis and interpretation?
- Is the analysis statistically correct?
- Has the sensitivity analysis been done?
- Would errors in the input cause an insignificant change in the results?
- Have the outliers in the input or output been treated properly?
- Have the future changes in the system and workload been modeled?
- Has the variance of input been taken into account?
- Has the variance of the results been analyzed?
- Is the analysis easy to explain?
- Is the presentation style suitable for its audience?
- Have the results been presented graphically as much as possible?
- Are the assumptions and limitations of the analysis clearly documented?