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Elisabeth Stahl on Benchmarking and IT Optimization

And the Oscar Goes to . . . IBM

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It seems as if just a few years ago I actually used to get excited about the big night. The big night that was last night, the 87th Academy Awards. I used to watch with friends, with family. I even went to an awards party once.

In the past I even saw the movies that won — before they won.

And I think that’s how some of us have been feeling lately about industry standard performance benchmarks. Remember the good old days of leapfrogging? Of vicious ads and blogs? Of fights over TPC-C?

But recently I was super impressed with a brand new IBM publish last week of the SPECjEnterprise2010 benchmark. SPECjEnterprise2010 emulates an automobile dealership, manufacturing, supply chain management and order/inventory system and was designed to stress the Java EE application server. It’s an excellent measure of middleware.

The new IBM result running WebSphere and DB2 was the best Intel “Haswell” EP result, over 31% greater per core than the just published Oracle result with WebLogic.(1) And of course, the flagship IBM POWER8 result is the #1 per core result in the industry, over 79% greater per core than the new Oracle x86 result.(2)

At least I still have the passion for benchmarks. Because nowadays my interest in the Academy Awards pretty much revolves around a few dresses on the red carpet. And I can get that not by staying up all night but with a couple of photos online the next morning.

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The postings on this site solely reflect the personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of IBM or IBM management.

(1) 36-core(2×18-core Processor) Oracle Server X5-2, WL 12.1.3 – 18800.76 SPECjEnterprise2010 EjOPS, 522.24 EjOPS per app core. 28-core(2×14-core processors) IBM System x3650 M5 Lenovo Server, WAS 8.5.5.4, DB2 10.5 – 19282.14 EjOPS, 688.65 EjOPS/core.
(2) 24-core IBM Power S824 (3.52 GHz) db running DB2 10.5 / 24-core IBM Power S824 (3.52 GHz) app running WebSphere 8.5, SPECjEnterprise2010 (22,543 Enterprise jAppServer Operations Per Second (EjOPS), 939EjOPS/core) .

Source: http://www.spec.org. All results current as of 2/23/15.

Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

SPEC, SPECint, SPECfp, SPECjbb, SPECweb, SPECjAppServer, SPECjEnterprise, SPECjvm, SPECvirt, SPECompM, SPECompL, SPECsfs, SPECpower, SPEC MPI and SPECpower_ssj are trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC).

TPC-C ,TPC-H, and TPC-E are trademarks of the Transaction Performance Processing Council (TPPC).

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Written by benchmarkingblog

February 23, 2015 at 9:41 am

Would You Let Amazon Mow Your Lawn?

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I mow my own lawn. Yet I have a service that plows my driveway when it snows. And that’s basically all you need to know when you think about cloud.

Many of us have already embraced the advantages of running workloads in a cloud environment — things that matter like efficiency, flexibility, manageability, and cost effectiveness. But now the question is — What do I need to think about in the private on-premise vs. public off-premise vs. everything-in-between cloud decision?

Here are three key indicators:

  • Security – Many cloud enabled systems will thrive in a public environment. But there are certain workloads that you really may want to keep on-premise – like Financials, as an example. Only you know how to handle the mower around that priceless Yoshino cherry tree.
  • Performance – For extreme performance, especially with critical peaks, you may really want to tune on-premise or have the ability to tune in a dedicated environment. When there’s a blizzard, the snowplow service just doesn’t do it fast enough. And I end up out there with my shovel anyway.
  • Cost – Make sure when you map out your total cost of ownership you count in everything. For example, some public cloud vendors initially look very cheap when you are putting data into their cloud — but transferring or moving data out is another extremely expensive story. The acquisition of a mower may initially look expensive but pay off in just a short time. On the other hand, all it takes is one sore back to change that equation.

The goal really is to get the best of all worlds for your applications. Sometimes the answer isn’t simple. That’s where IBM can really help as the hybrid IT leader. IBM on-prem private clouds backed by technology that you know and love like POWER8, the recently announced z13, and the brand new IBM Spectrum Storage are awesome. But IBM also provides public off premise environment options with SoftLayer and IBM Cloud Managed Services that clearly demonstrate both on-premise and off-premise advantages.

Merge the best of all worlds in a hybrid environment. I know for me that means taking the mower out on a beautiful warm sunny day, getting the yard to look exactly like I want it, and then when it’s done having a cold one next to the hot dogs on the grill.

And let the other guys move all that white stuff.

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The postings on this site solely reflect the personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of IBM or IBM management.

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February 19, 2015 at 11:33 am

Posted in Cloud

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What You Need to Know About Hybrid IT: It’s all ’bout that base

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Long, long, long ago, we all took Chemistry. One of my absolutely favorite parts of chemistry was the lab — getting liquids and gases to change colors. And seeing the pH scale in action.

The pH scale measures how acidic or basic a substance is. It ranges from 0 to 14. A pH less than 7 is acidic, and a pH greater than 7 is basic. (Side: If you are not enjoying this analogy, think politics and the political spectrum and where someone may stand on say, immigration.)

We have a similar scale or spectrum in IT — namely, Hybrid IT.

Hybrid IT runs from traditional legacy IT on premise all the way to complete adoption of everything in a public cloud off premise. And anywhere in between.

Hybrid IT

The reality is that neither extreme makes a lot of sense – what we want to do is optimize so that we get the best of all worlds in a sort of hybrid existence. We need to study our applications and functional and non-functional requirements to determine the best fit for our workloads. Hey, is this sounding like the old Fit for Purpose type methodology ? You bet — it’s just a key added dimension for these new environments.

There are 7 decision focus areas that may help us work out how best to optimize where our applications and IT organizations fall on the Hybrid IT spectrum. Let’s look at each:

  • 1. The Private/Public/Hybrid Cloud decision for workloads based on requirements – Research by workload a best fit based on RAS, performance, pricing, etc.
  • 2. Keep your Systems of Record on the private side of the enterprise boundary (which may have financial or secure data) and your more mobile and social Systems of Engagement on the public side.  And connect them.
  • 3. Design and implement certain workloads to be Portable, to be able to go to and from a private environment to a public environment for optimization.
  • 4. Employ Systems Management as a key differentiator. Plan management capabilities across multiple environments.
  • 5. Consider off premise Backup and Archive.
  • 6. With certain workload peaks you may want to take advantage of public cloud for large jobs as an Additional Resource – maybe for extreme Hadoop implementations, as an example.
  • 7. Disaster Recovery – plan a parallel environment off premise.

By examining these considerations, you can make decisions for your organization to optimize where entire applications or parts of applications should reside. And place yourself on the Hybrid IT spectrum. In some cases, lemon juice might be best, sometimes baking soda. It’s just another awesome way we can tune our workloads to perform in the best way possible.

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The postings on this site solely reflect the personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of IBM or IBM management.

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Written by benchmarkingblog

November 21, 2014 at 10:39 am

Posted in Cloud, hybrid IT

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More Super POWER8: The Long and Short (grain) of IT

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I know this may sound corny — but I was recently working on a project where I needed to find proverbs. Yes, you read that right, proverbs. Actually several proverbs to introduce several subjects.

At first I thought — this is really contrived, how will this help move the subject along. In fact, this idea really sucks. And then suddenly after spending a few days wading deep into the proverbial proverb sea, I came to realize the deep dark truth: I love proverbs.

Proverbs are short and sweet and speak to our inner feelings better than we could ever express ourselves.

One of my absolutely favorite proverbs is a simple one and I think of it pretty much all the time these days: Talk doesn’t cook rice.

I love this one because it is short and sweet and gets right to the point. Talk does not open the box of rice. Talk does not measure out the rice and the water. And talk certainly does not turn on the stove.

Talk is cheap. Many of us love to talk — at meetings, on the phone, about claims for new products. But is anything really getting cooked ? That’s where the rubber meets the road.

IBM today announced amazing new OpenPOWER based POWER8 systems and a portfolio of outstanding solutions.

Like the scale-out accelerated Linux Power S824L, the scale-up E870 and E880, the IBM Data Engine for Analytics, Power Enterprise Pools for cloud infrastructure. And not just with the talk but with real data, measured out and cooked.

  • As just one example, with the SAP Sales and Distribution benchmark, the new Power E870 POWER8 system was over 2.1x better performance per core than Dell’s x86 system with the brand new “Haswell” chip and over 2.7x better performance per core than the Oracle SPARC M6. (1)
  • See all the new benchmark data in the IBM Power Systems Performance Report. Includes outstanding SPEC CPU and Java results, CPW, and rPerf (now for multiple SMT values !)
  • The new Power E870 and Power E880 Systems support up to 1,000 VMs per system.
  • And the OpenPOWER Foundation now has 59 members – all working together to leverage the IBM POWER processor’s open architecture for broad industry innovation.

You may have seen other new announcements over the past few weeks from a variety of IT providers. But as you read through the claims that have a clear lack of data — you just may find the rice crunchy.

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The postings on this site solely reflect the personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of IBM or IBM management.

(1)IBM Power Enterprise System E870 on the two-tier SAP SD standard application benchmark running SAP enhancement package 5 for the SAP ERP 6.0 application; 8 processors / 80 cores / 640 threads, POWER8; 4.19GHz, 2048 GB memory, 79,750 SD benchmark users, running AIX® 7.1 and DB2® 10.5, dialog response: 0.97 seconds, order line items/hour:  8,722,000, dialog steps/hour: 26,166,000, SAPS: 436,100, Database response time (dialog/update): 0.013 sec / 0.026 sec, CPU utilization: 99%, Cert #2014034.  Result valid as of October 3, 2014. Source: http://www.sap.com/benchmark. vs. Dell PowerEdge R730, on the two-tier SAP SD standard application benchmark running SAP enhancement package 5 for the SAP ERP 6.0 application; 2 processors/36 cores/72 threads, Intel Xeon Processor E5-2699v3; 2.30 GHz, 256 GB memory; 16,500 SD benchmark users, running RHEL 7 and SAP ASE 16; Certification # 2014033.vs. Oracle SPARC Server M6-32 on the two-tier SAP SD standard application benchmark running SAP enhancement package 5 for the SAP ERP 6.0 application; 32 processors/384 cores/3072 threads, SPARC M6; 3.60 GHz, 16 TB memory; 140,000 SD benchmark users, running Solaris® 11 and Oracle 11g; Certification # 20014008. Source: http://www.sap.com/benchmark. Results current as of 10/3/14.

SAP and all SAP logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and in several other countries. All other product and service names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective companies.

SPEC, SPECint, SPECfp, SPECjbb, SPECweb, SPECjAppServer, SPECjEnterprise, SPECjvm, SPECvirt, SPECompM, SPECompL, SPECsfs, SPECpower, SPEC MPI and SPECpower_ssj are trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC)

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Written by benchmarkingblog

October 3, 2014 at 7:47 am

Posted in announcement, POWER8, SAP

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War and Peace with HP’s New Gen9

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I love my book club. We vote on what books to read and we always choose interesting and enlightening fiction and non-fiction. We always serve great food and drink. And, best of all, you don’t even have to read the book.

So I was really excited last month to hear about the book we would be reading. My good friend said she liked the book and the cover showed a woman in an olive grove. What could be better? Until I actually read the book and realized that there was nothing really that thrilling behind the cover.

And that’s exactly how I felt this week reading about HP’s newest announcement on their x86 HP ProLiant Gen9 servers. I mean, for goodness sake, we are at Gen9 — I’m sure we’ve come so far and there must be some thrilling new features and performance behind them.

But alas, once again, my excitement was thwarted by what I actually read.

There were 3 claims for these new systems:

  • Better TCO, optimization, and automation — but only comparing this new Gen9 to G6. I should hope there would be improvement.
  • Faster provisioning — The footnote says “Based on anonymous customer results” — hmmm. Plus the software isn’t even available yet for Gen9.
  • Improved performance — all it says is “equivalent controllers” in a “controlled environment.” — really hard to say what that means.

When I see claims like these with no real data all I can think is what real data looks like and how IBM Power Systems continue to surpass in performance.

And it reminds me that the olive grove book is no Pride and Prejudice.

At least HP tried to address performance — unlike Cisco, where it was totally ignored.

For next month we are reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez – so at least I will know to expect magic realism.

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The postings on this site solely reflect the personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of IBM or IBM management.

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August 29, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Posted in announcement, Cisco, HP

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POWER8 (and No. 23) is King

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So it was just announced that LeBron James will be back wearing No. 23 for his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers next season. Cleveland, the old “mistake by the lake” and my current hometown, has had a pretty good last few weeks. With two major coups — a US political national convention and (against all odds) LeBron coming home, there couldn’t be a better place to be.

POWER8 systems have had an awesome month as well. As we know, on top of enterprise RAS and security, performance of POWER8 is king. Let’s take a look at the two latest leadership benchmark results that have been published in two key workloads — Java and virtualization.

  • SPECjbb2013 is THE Java server benchmark. It is based on a world-wide supermarket company with an IT infrastructure that handles a mix of point-of-sale requests, online purchases and data-mining operations. Two metrics are important – a pure throughput metric and a metric that measures critical throughput under service-level agreements (SLAs) specifying response times. So very real world. And the IBM Power S824 (POWER8) system achieved over 95% better performance per core than  Oracle SPARC and over 2x better than x86 Cisco UCS. (1)

 

  • The SPECvirt_sc2013 virtualization benchmark reflects the heavy volume and sudden peaks of traffic faced by datacenter servers used for virtualized server consolidation. It provides four workloads based on real-world traffic faced by a web server, a Java application server, an email server and a batch server. Again, here are the workloads we use every day.And the IBM Power S824 (POWER8) system achieved the #1 result per core and is over 2x the performance per core of the HP DL560 x86 system. (2)

 

So we are talking a winning technology with POWER8 — and a winning city (LeBron, please take us there!)

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The postings on this site solely reflect the personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of IBM or IBM management.

(1)SPECjbb2013: IBM Power S824 (POWER8, 3.52 GHz, 4 chips/24 cores/192 threads), 167958 SPECjbb2013-MultiJVM max-jOPS, 27041 SPECjbb2013-MultiJVM critical-jOPS vs. Oracle SPARC T5-2 (2 chips/32 cores/256 threads) 114492 SPECjbb2013-MultiJVM max-jOPS, 43963 SPECjbb2013-MultiJVM critical-jOPS vs. Cisco UCS C460 (4 chips/60 cores/120 threads) 201117 SPECjbb2013-MultiJVM max-jOPS, 52784 SPECjbb2013-MultiJVM critical-jOPS . Source: http://www.spec.org
(2)SPECvirt_sc2013: IBM Power S824 (POWER8, 3.52 GHz, 24-core), PowerVM Enterprise Edition 2.2.3, 1370@79 SPECvirt_sc2013@VMs vs. HP DL560 (32-core, Intel Xeon E5-4650), 908@50 SPECvirt_sc2013VMs. Source: http://www.spec.org

All results current as of July 28, 2014.

SPEC, SPECint, SPECfp, SPECjbb, SPECweb, SPECjAppServer, SPECjEnterprise, SPECjvm, SPECvirt, SPECompM, SPECompL, SPECsfs, SPECpower, SPEC MPI and SPECpower_ssj are trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC).

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July 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Posted in POWER8, SPECjbb, SPECvirt

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Go Fish: Why POWER8 May Just Be Perfect for Your Cloud

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Last weekend I spent cleaning out our fish pond. 5 years of sediment and dirt at the bottom, a monumental chore. But the most exciting part involved catching the goldfish and placing them in a temporary home (aka the kiddie pool the dog uses).

I thought it would be easy — but it was truly amazing how fast these fish swam. Eventually you were able to catch those beautiful slippery goldfish in your hands. And finally feel that you had a handle on the job.

I think that’s how many of us were thinking about Cloud in the past. Getting our hands around this slippery beast — needing to see real products and applications.

Of course we all know how awesome Power Systems are for performance and other non-functional requirements such as RAS and security. Well let’s see this extension of leadership in the cloud arena.

Power Systems servers are indeed architected to achieve maximum performance and efficiency for both the system and its virtual machines. Intelligent workload based resource allocation with dynamic processor thread switching and logical memory expansion deliver optimal performance for critical Cloud services.

Power Systems now have great alternatives for:

  • Public Cloud: An Open source Linux solution for scale-out clouds services with
    1) Flexibility, agility and interoperability with open source virtualization and cloud management
    2) Accelerated insights for big data and compute intensive Cloud services
  • Private Cloud: Pre-built, pre-installed entry cloud system for Enterprise and Scale Out clouds
    1) Get up and running with a private cloud — in just 1 day
    2) 0 common vulnerability exposures — that’s right, NONE
  • Hybrid Cloud: Next Generation with OpenAPIs
    1) Open alternative to proprietary cloud stacks
    2) Cross-platform support for x86, Power and System z
    3) Single pane of glass to monitor

So just as the fish are now happy and back in their crystal clear pond, we can be happy and choose our cloud alternatives with Power Systems – whether you like an open solution, the security of PowerVM on a choice of operating systems or a combination of the best of both worlds.

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The postings on this site solely reflect the personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of IBM or IBM management.

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Written by benchmarkingblog

June 3, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Cloud, POWER8

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