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Elisabeth Stahl on Benchmarking and IT Optimization

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Oracle Meets That ’70s Show

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Last week I made the annual spring break pilgrimage to my childhood home in the shadows of the cherry blossoms.

What always strikes me when I visit — and you’ve probably had the same experience — is how nothing, almost nothing, has changed since I lived there four decades ago. Yes, there’s a huge TV with cable now. And a cell phone, though not so smart yet. And an iPad that always needs something done to it. But other than these few new features, the general layout and beauty of the interior is essentially the same.

Which I love. Why get new kitchen cabinets when you can take the beautiful solid wood ones and have them refinished? Why buy new cheap chairs when 50’s Danish Modern is built so well and gorgeous to boot?

But one of the best examples of this retro environment, hands down, has to be the downstairs bathroom. When entering you are transported to the time of Nixon and Sonny and Cher. The colors are tremendous – bright bright yellows and oranges. Big plaid wallpaper. And wicker accessories. A 70’s dream of a bathroom. And you know what — it still looks great. The glamour of everything from the 70’s has returned in full force in this one tiny room.

But some things are not meant to come back. And that includes the way some vendors compare systems and benchmarks.

I recently saw a comparison from Oracle comparing the SPARC T7-1 vs. the IBM Power System S824. It brought me right back to when I started blogging almost ten years ago, when we were all inundated with benchmark flaws. Let’s take a look at some of the details :

  • The tool Oracle used to compare the systems is NOT an industry standard benchmark audited by a third party. It is a tool that can be used by anyone. Oracle ran all tests themselves.
  • The tool used is adapted from the TPC-C benchmark, which Oracle themselves has stated in the past that they feel is dated.
  • The disks used in the systems compared are not the same – HDD vs. SAS.
  • The logs and database files for the IBM test were not run on the IBM system – they were run on a different Oracle system.
  • Solaris 11.3 was used for the logs and database file systems on the Oracle side; Solaris 11.2 was used for the IBM configuration.

 

A photo of my childhood downstairs bathroom was Instagrammed recently. It received 35 likes, over half of them from students at the best design school in the country. That makes sense. Oracle’s benchmark comparisons don’t.

 

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

March 23, 2016 at 10:07 am

Posted in Oracle, POWER8, SPARC

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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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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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Written by benchmarkingblog

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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It’s My POWER8 Party, Oracle

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There always has to be someone who tries to ruin the party.

In this case, Oracle recently published a blog entry claiming to address the POWER8 announcement. But funny. It didn’t really address the POWER8 announcement.

What it does try to do is scatter uncertainty about IBM. Here is what you need to know:

  • Oracle’s blog article doesn’t address POWER8 performance because of the simple fact that IBM has a wide portfolio of #1 benchmark results, including 6 new ones for POWER8 systems. (Note that two of those ironically happen to be using Oracle software.)
  • For their own hardware performance, Oracle states only that SPARC performance is increasing “with each release” — essentially uselessly comparing themselves with themselves.
  • Did Oracle happen to mention the awesome IBM POWER8 Open Server innovation? Of course not. And I wouldn’t want to bet my business based on Oracle’s claim of a “public roadmap” — a roadmap so basic it’s like trying to party in the dark without a flashlight.
  • As we know, hardware is behind everything that gets done in the world these days and “IBM will remain a leader in high-performance and high-end systems, storage and cognitive computing, and . . . continue to invest in R&D for advanced semiconductor technology.” See the IBM Annual Report for more.
  • With the trends in Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, and Social (CAMS) applications, there will be huge growth in the future in these focus areas — for hardware, software, and services — with positive implications for all of IBM, including Power Systems.
  • In terms of investment strategies, remember what the experts say: You must look not to the past but to the future. IBM continually shifts its portfolio of businesses, in line with its strategy to invest in higher-margin fields. Analysts have confirmed that IBM is making the right strategic moves, clearly investing in the future.

 

 

So get the party started . . . again.

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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

May 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Posted in announcement, POWER8

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