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Elisabeth Stahl on Benchmarking and IT Optimization

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Taking the Wind Out of Oracle’s Sails

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I don’t always read the sports pages. But lately, with the US Open, the Olympics win for Japan, and college football, how could I not?

And lo and behold — instead of a splashy ad on the front page of the paper, there was an article this week deep into the sports section — about Oracle.

It appears that the Oracle team in the America’s Cup competition was in the news — not for doing well — but for receiving penalties. The penalties, the harshest in America’s Cup history, were imposed for illegally modifying 45-foot catamarans.

One place where we would like to think that “illegal modifications” are also not tolerated is in benchmarking.

Oracle this week claimed performance and price performance leadership based on the Storage Performance Council SPC-2 benchmark. I’m sure that with this being an industry standard benchmark there were no modifications – but that doesn’t mean that there were not some difficulties with comparisons claimed. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Oracle ZFS Storage ZS3-4 result was just released. The IBM and HP results they compare to are from 2012, a lifetime ago in the benchmarking world.
  • The Oracle storage result used a 2-node cluster and 1.6x the physical capacity of the IBM DS8700 result.(1)
  • A fit for purpose methodology is needed for these storage comparisons – are you running analytics or critical batch processing? Different workloads require different levels of nonfunctional requirements which translate into different types of storage.
  • With storage, it’s essential to compare all the options, including many of the new flash offerings.
  • What is the reliability and support for these storage devices? Instead of just price/performance, make sure you study the real TCO.

 

It matters whether you win or lose. But it also matters how you play the game.

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(1) Results as of September 10, 2013, for more information go to http://www.storageperformance.org/results SPC-2. Results for Oracle ZFS Storage ZS3-4 are 17,244.22 SPC-2 MBPS™, $22.53 SPC-2 Price-Performance. Full results are available at http://www.storageperformance.org/results/benchmark_results_spc2#b00067. Results for IBM DS8870 are 15,423.66 SPC-2 MBPS, $131.21 SPC-2 Price-Performance. Full results are available at http://www.storageperformance.org/results/benchmark_results_spc2#b00062. Results for HP P9500 XP Disk Array are 13,147.87 SPC-2 MBPS, $88.34 SPC-2 Price-Performance. Full results are available at http://www.storageperformance.org/results/benchmark_results_spc2#b00056

SPC Benchmark-1 and SPC Benchmark-2 are trademarks of the Storage Performance Council.

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 11, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Oracle, storage

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HP Hamming It Up

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It was a cold and snowy day last January when I pulled into the parking lot in Streetsboro, Ohio. I was really pleased to be having lunch unexpectedly with two family members. I was not so pleased with the place we were going to have lunch — what I thought was a “fast food” joint that only served ham.

But oh how different from my expectations — incredibly nice staff, a wonderful place to sit, and the choice of exactly what you wanted on your sandwich — all of which made for an awesome lunch.

So I was excited this morning to see this same organization highlighted in a new press release from HP. Storage upgrades were discussed, along with claims of an amazing performance boost. Seasonal demands for ham would now be able to be addressed.

The problem of course is not with the ham but with the claims and the lack of data:

  • Was the bottleneck actually with the batch window for sales data?
  • Was it only during peak time of the holiday period?
  • Did the upgrade really also reduce transaction processing times?
  • What were the before and after results?
  • The data center refresh also included networking and servers. How were these claims attributed to the storage?
  • How would any improvements compare with other vendor products? How do the Storage Performance Council (SPC) industry standard results stack up?

 

Unfortunately the one footnote merely states “Based on customer results.”

But the most important question of course is will I get my ham sandwich much much faster next time ?

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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, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Posted in HP, storage

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Life in the Fast Lane

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I recently wrote about a college visit — Big Data, Performance, and Coconut Smoothies might as well be titled Big Data at the Big Ten. And the ability to collect, measure, and analyze this massive flood of data for meaningful insights requires important non-functional IT requirements like reliability, availability, security, and of course performance.Smarter Computing

The IBM announcement of new products and offerings today leverages cloud to improve efficiency, focuses on data to deliver more actionable insight, and secures this critical data to protect and reduce risk. It’s Cloud Ready, Data Ready, Security Ready. And, of course, Performance Ready with:

  • New #1 Power Systems benchmarks for the new POWER7+ systems across a wide portfolio of applications including SAP, Java, and Technical Computing. Read about them here.
  • All the benchmarks and rPerf data in the performance report here.
  • Proof points like this one: The new 48-core IBM Power 760 with DB2 10 achieved the best 48-core two-tier SAP SD standard application benchmark result, surpassing the 80-core HP DL980. (1)
  • Performance details on the new POWER7+ systems including Power 730, Power 740, Power 750, Power 760, PowerLinux 7R2.
  • Leadership Storage performance including performance enhancements to IBM XIV. New caching algorithms increase performance compared to previous models up to 4.5 times for random and 5 times for sequential database workloads.

One thing that struck me on this college visit (besides how young everyone looks) is how college truly is an exciting new beginning. Everything is shining, brand spanking new. But this doesn’t only have to happen in college. There are frequently new beginnings throughout life.

Years ago, when social media was a relatively new concept for many of us, my manager at the time (who was always a source of exciting, new, and crazy ideas) “suggested” that I consider writing something called a blog. A downright scary idea, I implemented it anyway.

This week, this esteemed manager, colleague, mentor, associate is retiring after a very successful career of exciting ideas. To start a new beginning in the fast lane. And I will miss his inspiration. And his crazy ideas. Like a blog.

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(1)The 48-core IBM Power 760 (3.41 GHz) achieved the best 48-core two-tier SAP SD standard application benchmark result running SAP enhancement package 5 for the SAP ERP 6.0 application; 8 processors / 48 cores / 192 threads, POWER7+, 1024 GB memory, 25,488 SD benchmark users, running AIX® 7.1 and DB2® 10, dialog resp.: 0.99s, line items/hour: 2,784,330, Dialog steps/hour: 8,353,000 SAPS: 139,220, DB time (dialog/ update): .009s/.015s, CPU utilization: 99%, Certification #2013004. vs. HP DL980 G7, Xeon, SQL Server 2008, 25,160 users, 8 processors/80 cores/160 threads, SAP enhancement package 4 for SAP ERP 6.0, Certification # 2011021. http://www.sap.com. Results current as of 2/5/13.

SAP and all SAP logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and in several other countries. 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).

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 5, 2013 at 12:24 am

Smarter Storage, Awesome Efficiency

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So I’m in the middle, once again, of planning a summer vacation. If only I had no constraints on funding — I would then take a plane any day and any time that I really wanted to. And I could leave from the airport that is actually near where I live. And not over an hour away. Oh, I forgot — I could actually buy the plane and a pilot.

I would stay at the super fancy grand hotel in the grandest of suites, and not the poor stepsister motel down the road with the jacuzzi that foams dirt. I would have dinner in the grand dining room of the aforementioned grand hotel – and I wouldn’t worry about the dress code because I wouldn’t have to.

With no constraints, you can certainly do amazing things. But the important point here is what you can accomplish with constraints. With limited funds. With greater efficiency.

And that’s where today’s IBM announcement of Smarter Storage comes in. Take a look at What’s New including IBM Storwize V7000 and SAN Volume Controller (SVC) Real-time Compression and the IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center. Watch a video of a really awesome performance story. My favorite part of the announcement is this: You can get 3x the performance improvement with only 3% SSDs.

A 3 year old can swamp a configuration with SSDs and get better performance. The IBM Smarter Storage way is a more efficient, automated and intelligent approach to storage. Efficient by design, Self-optimizing, and Cloud agile.

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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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June 4, 2012 at 9:17 am

Posted in announcement, SSD, storage, Storwize

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Sunny Skies for SVC, Storwize

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Try wiping the smile off my face. The cross country skis are sitting in the corner, forlorn. I can actually grill hot dogs outside tonight. Forget any worries about global warming. It’s 60 degrees and sunny on the last day of January in Cleveland Ohio.

I power-walked two miles today. Instead of the measly quick turn around the block, hunched over so the icy particles don’t hit my face. Today, the woman in spandex who never smiles with her giant poodle actually said hello. The serious jogger actually stopped and remarked how it’s April in January. Try wiping the smile off my face.

Try wiping the smile off my face. IBM just published a new #1 Storage Performance Council SPC-1 benchmark result.(1) . . . Numero uno, top storage dog.
Using IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller V6.2 with IBM Storwize V7000 disk storage.
And powered by POWER7 IBM Power 770 systems.

SPC is the industry standard for storage benchmarks. SPC-1 consists of a workload designed to demonstrate the performance of a storage subsystem while performing the typical functions of business critical applications. Those applications are characterized by predominately random I/O operations and require both queries as well as update operations. Applications include OLTP and database operations.

Sunny skies, #1 SPC-1, SVC, Storwize. Try wiping the smile off my face.

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(1) SPC-1 Reported Data, Tested Storage Product (TSP) Name: IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller v6.2 with IBM Storwize® V7000 disk storage, SPC-1 IOPS 520,043.99, SPC-1 Price-Performance $6.92/SPC-1 IOPS, Total ASU Capacity 97,581.657 GB, Data Protection Level Protected (Mirroring). Results as of 1/31/12. Source: http://www.storageperformance.org. SPC Benchmark-1 and SPC Benchmark-2 are trademarks of the Storage Performance Council.

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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January 31, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Posted in SPC, storage, Storwize

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Expect More (zing) From Your Storage . . . and Servers

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There’s a whole lot of performance zing in the IBM announcements today including:

  • IBM XIV Gen3 set a new storage efficiency benchmark with two times better disk efficiency than EMC in the ESRP test.(1)
  • The IBM DS8800, along with zEnterprise and DB2, published a new world record for SAP banking workloads of 59 million account postings per hour.
  • The IBM Power 780 has just published #1 Java and high performance computing benchmark results with new 96-core and 3.92 GHz systems.
  • And of course, IBM SmartCloud has zing too — such as reducing the metric of time required to provision an SAP Test environment from weeks to minutes.
  • Zing.

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    (1)Microsoft Exchange Solution Reviewed Program (ESRP). http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/ff182054; IBM XIV Gen3 result of 65 vs. EMC VMAX result of 32.
    Performance is based on measurements and projections using benchmarks in a controlled environment. The actual throughput that any user will experience will vary depending upon considerations such as the amount of multiprogramming in the user’s job stream, the I/O configuration, the storage configuration, and the workload processed. Therefore, no assurance can be given that an individual user will achieve throughput improvements equivalent to the performance ratios stated here. Disk efficiency is (#mailboxes * IOPS per mailbox / number of disks) * mailbox capacity, using vendor postings as of October 1, 2011.

    SAP, mySAP and other SAP product and service names mentioned herein as well as their respective
    logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and in several other countries all
    over the world.

    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

    October 12, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Posted in announcement, Cloud, POWER7, storage

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    On HP’s New Strategy

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    As we all know, HP is currently evaluating “strategic alternatives” for its Personal Systems Group. This plan may involve a “spin-off or other transaction.”

    This — let’s sort of say but not really say what we are doing — strategy has also spilled over into more technical press releases with an HP announcement today of new 3PAR storage systems.

    I can see them thinking in Palo Alto: Let’s address performance using footnoting because it looks cool — but not really footnote anything useful.

    • It used to be that footnotes were designed to give the reader more details on what was being said.
    • It used to be that footnotes were long and elegant. Sort of like a Euclidean proof.
    • It used to be that footnotes included actual data with descriptions on how that data was actually obtained.
    • And it used to be that footnotes contained wonderful sources like white papers and web links.

    One footnote HP used today merely repeated a fact that was already in the body of the press release — that performance claims were based on comparisons to previous versions of the same system. One would hope the new system would be better than previous versions.

    Another footnote HP used today merely stated that performance and capacity claims were “based on documented experiences and business results in client deployments.” Fancy words for one customer who wrote something down on a napkin at lunch ?

    HP’s new strategy also involved the coining of “nano-reclamation” which simply seems to mean reclaiming unused storage. And not a groundbreaking environmental science discovery using nanotechnology, which would actually be awesome now that I think about it.

    One of HP’s goals for this latest plan is transformation. If transformation means becoming indefinite, unclear, and imprecise, then the strategy is working just fine.

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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

    August 23, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Posted in HP, storage

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