Shoe Fetish or Benchmark Comparison ?
Last month I visited the Fashion Institute of Technology’s new exhibit “Shoe Obsession.” And for anyone who relishes shoes, this was the place to be. You enter the dark rooms and the glass cases are absolutely glowing in light, highlighting the SHOES. There’s Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Prada and many more, as far as the eye can see. Each shoe is made out of a huge array of materials — plastics, metals, beads, ribbons, velvet, even mirrors. Many have 6 inch heels. Or even higher. Gorgeous.
But of course most of these shoes you could never even wear — and not because there’s only one of them. These shoes don’t even make sense as shoes. What ultimately matters is that you can’t do what you need to do with shoes which is walk in them.
Many times I see benchmark comparisons that don’t really focus on the right things as well. Here’s why in comparisons of systems, cores ultimately matter:
- Cores are the processing units for computation.
- Cores are used to charge for software licensing.
- Cores represent a more apples-to-apples method of comparing systems of varying technologies.
- The right Cores enable efficient virtualization and consolidation which ultimately leads to better total cost of ownership.
Interesting that when these facts are so clear that Oracle’s newest ad on the front page of the Wall Street Journal totally ignores processor cores and many other important components in the comparisons. As you look at the SPECjEnterprise2010 comparisons, here is what you need to know:
- The IBM benchmark result is from 2012, the Oracle result is brand new. As we know, this is a lifetime of difference for benchmarking.
- Oracle needed 4x the number of processing cores and 3x the amount of memory than IBM for this benchmark. See all the details here and here.
- The IBM POWER7+ Power 780 actually has over 1.5x more performance per core than the Oracle SPARC T5 system.(1)
- Cost is not even a metric of this benchmark. And note that server cost does not include storage and the all expensive software licensing costs, which by the way, are calculated per core.
I like shoes and benchmark comparisons which make sense. Give me my New Balance any day. I can walk for miles in them, they look good, and their TCO screams.
Bottom line: Oracle’s latest comparative advertisement targeting IBM Power Systems, like so many before them, strains credulity. Caveat emptor.
(1)SPARC T5-8 (8-chip, 128 cores), 27,843.57 SPECjEnterprise2010 EjOPS; IBM Power 780 (8-chips, 32 cores), 10,902.30 SPECjEnterprise2010 EjOPS. Sources: http://www.spec.org. Results current as of 5/23/13.
SPEC and the benchmark name SPECjEnterprise are registered trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation.
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