Customers that look to deploy mission critical applications on Intel Xeon Servers always consider IBM as one of the key hardware partners. IBM offers a variety of system configurations, and also invests both in benchmarks and software partners. With these investments, IBM can differentiate its products and demonstrate the full capability to handle enterprise server workloads.
Last week, IBM published the latest in a series of benchmarks on Intel’s Xeon E7 processors performance. This one is a very impressive 3 million transactions per minute TPC-C benchmark, which is the highest performance result ever published on an X86-64 system. It also ranks fifth in the TPC-C Top Ten performance results for non-clustered systems and also in the TPC-C Top Ten price/performance results for non-clustered systems. Housed in a 43U rack, this entire system configuration is perfect for enterprise database applications.
The IBM x3850 X5 achieved this result by using IBM’s innovative MAX5 technology. The MAX5 technology allows for a scalable, 1U, memory expansion drawer. This expansion drawer provides an additional 32 DIMM slot with a memory controller for added performance, and boosts scalability with a node controller for the x3850.
The TPC-C configuration above had a total of 3TB of memory (2TB in the server and 1TB in the IBM MAX5 for System x). Previously, IBM has also published papers that indicate the effect of additional memory capacity on database performance. While this paper focuses on in-memory database performance, the memory expansion can also increase the performance of other application workloads like web, file, virtualization and cloud computing.
It is worth noting that in addition to the TPC-C benchmark, IBM also published a result that sets new records for 4-socket performance and overall price/performance on the TPC-E benchmark that utilizes Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Addition configured with SSD storage. I mention this because there is always lively discussion regarding the merits of the TPC-C versus the TPC-E benchmarks and their relationships to actual production workloads.
I believe these are all great examples of the workload and performance capability of Intel’s Xeon E7 chips IBM has demonstrated that when partners work collaboratively it is possible to implement unique features that deliver additional capability to the customer. The tradeoff between CPU and memory has always provided the ability to tune configurations for database workloads. With these new benchmarks IBM has validated those options on its x3850 X5 server.