Elisabeth Stahl on Benchmarking and IT Optimization

Is Oracle Fleecing You?

with one comment

A couple of days ago, I bought a new fleece hiking jacket. In small, in black, on sale. With a hood. Made by a high end manufacturer whose name evokes a part of a mountain. The plush is luxuriously thick, the zipper hardware is incredible, and the tailoring just feels so right. I had tried on other jackets that just did not stack up. There was no comparison, apples and oranges, from different planets. And that reminded me once again of how some performance comparisons are made.

This week, Oracle claimed x86 “world-record” performance with the Sun Fire X4800 M2 on industry standard Java middleware and transactional database benchmarks. They compared their results to results from IBM. Here’s what you need to know:

For the Java SPECjEnterprise2010 benchmark, Oracle needed more cores in both the application server and the database server. Oracle used over 4x the storage disks and over 7x the cache that was used in the IBM result. Oracle conveniently cites price/performance (which isn’t even a metric in this benchmark) for the application tier only. The picture would probably look very different if they included the important database tier (with all those costly Oracle licenses). Oracle compares their brand new result with an IBM result from over a year ago.(1) Maybe it’s time for a new . . .

For the transactional TPC-C benchmark, when you analyze the comparison correctly, the IBM result is actually 19% better performance per core than the Oracle result. The IBM configuration has been available for months, the Oracle configuration is not even available. And the Oracle result is 1.5x more expensive.(2)

When I got to the checkout line with my perfect fleece jacket, they told me that the store was having a special one day sale, another 20% off. I got myself superior performance and price/performance — and you can’t get much better than that.


(1) WebSphere Application Server V7 on IBM Power 780 and DB2 on IBM Power 750 Express, (64 core app server, 32 core db server), 16,646.34 SPECjEnterprise2010 EjOPS vs. Oracle WebLogic Server 12c and Oracle Database 11g Release 2 with Oracle Linux running on a Sun Fire X4800 M2 server(5U) with eight Intel Xeon E7-8870 2.4 GHz processors, (80 cores, 8 chips, 10 cores/chip, 2 threads/core) 27,150.05 SPECjEnterprise2010 EjOPS.
(2) IBM System x3850 X5 (4 chips/40 cores/80 threads) – 3,014,684 tpmC, US$.59/tpmC, available 09/22/11 vs. Oracle Sun Fire X4800 M2 server (8 chips/80 cores/160 threads) – 5,055,888 tpmC, US$.89/tpmC, available 06/26/12.
Sources:, Results current as of 3/30/12.
TPC-C ,TPC-H, and TPC-E are trademarks of the Transaction Performance Processing Council (TPPC).
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).
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

March 30, 2012 at 6:31 pm

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  1. […] from IBM. Elisabeth Stahl writes her thoughts on the new Oracle benchmark results in her blog: Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreDiggStumbleUponRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

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