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Elisabeth Stahl on Benchmarking and IT Optimization

Archive for the ‘Exadata’ Category

Top Seven Thoughts on Exadata X3

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1. When you only include minimal support, maintenance, and licensing for your own system and include extraneous hardware and software in your competitor’s system, your pricing sure better look better.

2. When you use your own internal testing rather than industry standard benchmarks, you sure better look better.

3. When you compare X3 to X2 rather than to a competitive product, you sure better be showing better performance.

4. If you have an extremely simple query with a small amount of static pre-sorted data, X3 may help you.

5. Make sure you compute the true TCA/TCO in any comparisons.

6. It’s still a closed system.

7. No real data, no real benchmarks, same old story.

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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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October 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Posted in Exadata

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Exadata, You Bully !

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Yesterday I was reviewing a presentation and had an “aha” moment. In one case, results were being compared between technologies that were at about the same currency. In another case comparisons were being done between brand new spanking technology — and systems that were many years old.

This morning I again came face to face with this fallacy. Once again, on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, Oracle compares their technology in use at an anonymous European retailer at level x with IBM technology at level x-n (n is some integer, depending on how you count your releases).

The Oracle Exadata system in the comparison was much newer, larger, had over 3x the memory, was running a newer database version, and used specialized storage.

Do any claims in a situation such as this make any sense at all ?

Sort of like deciding to have a fistfight with your grandmother.

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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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September 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

Posted in Exadata

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Click Here for 10 Million: IBM vs. Exadata Redux

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For a few minutes this morning I thought that I might win 10 million dollars. I had already envisioned inviting Larry Ellison for tea at my second home in the Cayman Islands. I had already reveled in the joy that these funds would bring to the non-profits I support.

And then I read the contest rules.

Oracle is once again sponsoring a contest that is advertised on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. A contest where Oracle claims that if an Exadata Data Warehouse system is not “5x faster” than a Power 795 Data Warehouse system, you win 10 million. Let’s take a look at the official rules to help you decide if you should enter:

  • The contest rules state that “The Data Warehouse must be limited in speed only by database performance and not by application performance.” Realistic, right?
  • Oracle, the “sponsor will select the queries for measurement.” Hmmmmm. Let’s select a couple out of a billion where we know we can win.
  • If the Oracle system does not perform as well as Oracle thinks it should when you run it and there is a chance you might win the 10 million, Oracle runs your application again. Themselves. Just to make sure. Maybe with some extra caching on the side?
  • “Sponsor disclaims any liability for damage to any computer system or other property resulting, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from participation in, or accessing or downloading information in connection with, this Challenge” If IBM wins, we’ll just blow it up.
  • A participant in this contest “acknowledges, understands and agrees that Sponsor will have the unrestricted perpetual right to use, not use, alter, edit, publish, display, and/or post entrant’s entry and information . . .” Interesting that the word alter is in here . . .
  • Oracle makes sure there is an easy out. “If no eligible entry is received that meets the above criteria, no prize will be awarded.” The contest rules also state that the “Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any entrant.”

Once again, this contest distracts the potential contestant from real-world issues such as balanced application performance, real benchmark numbers, software licensing costs, and RAS. I certainly wouldn’t put my money on a winner.

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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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May 24, 2012 at 11:06 am

Posted in Exadata, Oracle, POWER7

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More March Madness with Oracle Exadata

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There’s a basketball play called the elbow pass. The elbow pass is a behind-the-back pass — as the ball crosses the player’s back, the player hits it with his elbow, redirecting the ball back toward the side it started on.  It is rarely used and pretty much never results in points or a win.

This morning, Oracle once again advertised on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. The ad claimed that Exadata is faster. Here is what you need to know on this one:

  • The ad states “up to 20x faster queries.”   There is no data. But if we assume this is true then this could mean that Oracle may have ONE query that is faster. IBM could surpass Oracle on every other query. Sort of like if you are only good at the obscure elbow pass.
  • If the European client that the claim is totally based on is so pleased with Oracle, why are they not allowing Oracle to use their name? Wow, a ghost reference.
  • What system is this even being compared with?
  • If Oracle’s database performance is so great on Exadata, where are the Exadata industry standard benchmarks? Suffice it to say that we’ll probably see an elbow pass before we see one of those.

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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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March 15, 2012 at 10:20 am

Posted in Exadata

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I Want to Buy a Zoo, Not an Oracle System

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Most people don’t think about going to the zoo in the middle of winter. But it’s actually the very best time to go.

No crowds, the zebra fried oreo shacks are closed, and the animals are at their very best. And, after all, isn’t that what it’s really all about?

Last week, I had a spectacular visit. The polar bears were playing with dead Christmas trees, the seals and sea lions were playing with their rubber balls, and the grizzly cubs were playing with themselves.

And then there’s the Rainforest. Imagine stepping from a cold snowy Cleveland day into a zoological tropical paradise. Sort of like the feeling you get when the plane doors open, you get your carry-on from the overhead, and you step off in Miami. My rainforest favorites are the tropical monkeys, the river otters, and, of course, the anteaters. But alas, last week, the anteaters were still, lying on their sides, hiding behind a crop of rocks.

And that’s how I’ve been feeling lately about Oracle.

  • See what’s hiding behind the Oracle SPARC SuperCluster and Exadata systems. “Must buy” storage server software.
  • See what’s hiding behind that pricing in the Oracle benchmark. Artificially low support costs.
  • See what’s hiding behind Oracle’s “Itanium roadmap.” An investigation into Oracle’s “potentially abusive” practices.
  • What else do YOU think Oracle is hiding? All thoughts welcome.

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    Oracle SPARC T4-4 server (4 sockets/32 cores/256 threads) 205,792 QphH@3000GB, $4.10/QphH@3000GB, available 5/31/12.
    Source: http://www.tpc.org. Results current as of 1/11/12.
    TPC-C ,TPC-H, and TPC-E are trademarks of the Transaction Performance Processing Council (TPPC).

    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

    January 11, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Larry’s Guide to Announcing a New Product

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      Larry’s Guide to Announcing a New Product

  • Create a press release to say you will soon “share” something new with the rest of the world.
  • Announce that you don’t care if a certain part of your company’s business goes to zero – then in the same week launch a product based on that hardware.
  • Do not call your product anything that has the word “mini” in it.
  • Price the product so that it looks incredibly attractive – make sure not to include the huge cost of your database software in the price.
  • And by all means, absolutely under no circumstances announce any performance data, proof points, or benchmarks with your product announcement.
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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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    September 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Mowing Oracle’s Performance Weeds

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    We have a local town ordinance here where I live that fines you if your grass grows above 6 inches. Lately, I’ve become really annoyed with this legacy regulation.

    The higher your grass, the deeper its roots will be. Deeper roots allow your lawn to stay green with less water, and fend off insect attacks without dying off. Higher grass filters rainwater and prevents soil erosion. Tall grass actually creates a canopy of shade which shades out weeds. If you mow your lawn higher, you won’t have to cut it as often.

    Some towns have increased their grass regulation heights to 8 inches. Some to 9 inches. I’ve seen some progressive towns that have even gone to 12 inches. I read one article that says Omaha, Nebraska allows 18 inches. Now at 18 inches you might just need to wear your hiking boots to go and get the paper.

    But my point here is that 6 inches is a number. And just a number. It is not consistent, it isn’t right for every situation, and it is certainly not backed by any real data.

    Which reminds me of some of the press releases and presentations I’ve seen from Oracle lately. No matter what the product, feature, or application, the improved performance is always claimed as 10x. It can be query performance, storage performance, response times, you name it. 10x. Have we ever seen the data behind the 10x? Is there a white paper or a benchmark where we can see the 10x? Is there a footnote that describes the 10x? And remember, it’s not 9.7x or 9.8x or even 10.1x. It’s always 10x.

    I’ve thought about spending my days working to get signatures to increase my town’s 6 inch grass height ordinance. But it’s more fun to analyze Oracle data. If there was any. Oh, I’ve got to go now to mow my lawn.

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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

    July 19, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Posted in Exadata, Oracle, Performance

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