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IBM Presses Ahead with Scale-Out Benchmark on Datacenter

IBM Corp. now tops the Transaction Processing Performance Council's (TPC) OLTP benchmark performance list with 688,220 transactions per minute on the TPC-C benchmark (tpmC).

IBM ran Windows 2000 Datacenter Server and SQL Server 2000 on 32 of its new eight-processor IBM eServer xSeries 370 servers, which were unveiled on Friday. IBM also ran a junior version of the test -- the same configuration with 16 nodes and a yield of 363,129 tpmC.

Analyst Tom Manter of the Aberdeen Group calls the results impressive.

"IBM has taken a lot of their experience and technology from the high-end mainframe systems and midrange systems and brought that down into their xSeries. We're beginning to see some of the results and they're very positive and impressive," Manter says.

The results are interesting for two reasons. They are the first clustered results run using Windows 2000 Datacenter Server. They also represent a departure for IBM Corp. in using Microsoft's SQL database rather than IBM's own DB2.

Jay Bretzmann, IBM's manager of product marketing for the xSeries, calls the database decision an "openness thing."

"Last time we used DB2. Next time we may use DB2 again. We don't want to seem like a one database organization," Bretzmann says.

Manter says one reason IBM may have switched databases was to get Microsoft's support. Microsoft issued a news release Monday morning promoting IBM's results, but Redmond was mostly silent over the summer when IBM produced what was then a record benchmark on Windows 2000 Advanced Server using DB2.

IBM's current configuration used 256 of Intel's latest Xeon processor, the 900 MHz released last week.

The top result puts IBM ahead of Compaq's 505,302 tpmC from October for the number one spot. Compaq and IBM have been playing leapfrog with the scale-out systems since Compaq and Microsoft teamed on the first Windows 2000 scale-out result in February 2000.

Those clustered systems have been controversial, spurring the TPC to create a new division in the way it publishes its results: one list for clustered results, one for non-clustered results. None of the vendors -- Microsoft, IBM and Compaq -- has pushed forward a reference customer who is implementing their clustered databases yet, although Microsoft points out that Tandem customers have been using clustered systems for years.

The price performance of $28.89/tmpC works out to a total system cost of $19,884,668. That's nearly twice the $10 million of the second place Compaq system ($19.98/tpmC) and substantially more than the nearly $12 million price tag of the highest ranking non-clustered system on the list, Fujitsu's seventh-ranked PrimePower 2000 that hits 222,772 tpmC ($50.34/tpmC).

The price performance compared with Compaq's results stems in part from the use of Datacenter Server as opposed to Advanced Server. The hardened Datacenter OS costs more and must always include a service component.

IBM's test systems are scheduled for availability in late May. --

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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