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Conor O'Mahony's Database Diary

Your source of IBM database software news (DB2, Informix, Hadoop, & more)

Archive for November 2010

Oracle Exadata: User Experiences with Bugs and Patches

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Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about Oracle Exadata performance. It certainly performs quite well. Although it is not necessarily faster than an IBM system. For instance, I know of a recent customer bake-off where an IBM Power 780 system was 2.4 times faster than a half-rack Exadata system. And when you combined the performance difference with IBM’s price advantage, it made the decision a no-brainer for the customer. Naturally, each customer bake-off has so many variables, as to make it useful only for that customer. The key thing to remember is that you need to keep your vendors honest by performing these competitive bake-offs, and not simply comparing a new system’s performance to an old system.

But anyway, the real reason for this blog post is to remind you that product maturity is important and to remind you of the 15 years of product maturity that have gone into the IBM Smart Analytics System. A level of product maturity that is not yet present in Oracle Exadata. Oracle are relative newcomers when it comes to developing integrated hardware/software systems, or engineered systems as they like to call them. And this shows when it comes to the challenges currently facing Exadata users. In the following presentation, I have assembled some references to independent experiences with Oracle Exadata. In each case, I include information about the source of the information, whether it is a Web page or a session at an Oracle event.

Admittedly, every product has bugs and issues. My intention here is simply to highlight that Oracle Exadata may not necessarily be the “IT nirvana” that Larry Ellison may portray it to be. While we have heard Oracle touting the ease of managament of Oracle Exadata, the reality is that this is a very complex system with many of the issues you might expect with a complex system that is so early in its maturity. And, of course, remember that as your system grows, the system will only be as reliable as the underlying software (ie. Oracle RAC).

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Written by Conor O'Mahony

November 29, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Comparing Common DBA Tasks for IBM DB2 and Oracle Database

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Triton Consulting have analyzed how easy or difficult it is to perform some common database administrator tasks with IBM DB2 and Oracle Database. They used a sophisticated methodology called complexity analysis to measure how easy or difficult it is to perform the tasks. Complexity analysis is a quantitative approach to objectively evaluating software usability, which incorporates both the number of steps involved in a task and the complexity of those steps. To make sure that they performed this comparison objectively, they enlisted the services of a 10-year Oracle DBA for performing the Oracle tasks and they used an experienced DB2 DBA for the DB2 tasks. The results were quite startling. For the chosen tasks, DB2 is significantly easier to use. The following chart summarizes their findings (smaller complexity numbers are better):

Complexity Analysis: IBM DB2 vs. Oracle Database

For the detailed report, including all details for executing the tasks on both IBM DB2 and Oracle Database, see Triton Consulting: Quantitative Complexity Analysis Executive Summary, DB2 9.7 v Oracle 11gR2

Written by Conor O'Mahony

November 18, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Would you Make a Good Speaker at a Conference?

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Scott Hayes of DB2Night Show fame is running a new contest called DB2’s Got Talent. If you think you would make a good speaker at a conference, this is your opportunity to test that in a friendly and fun setting. Because the goal is to unearth new speaking talent, to participate in the contest, you cannot have spoken at a recent IDUG or IOD conference. And the prizes are great. First prize is a free conference registration to an IDUG conference together with money for travel expenses. For more information, see the DB2Night Show.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

November 17, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Posted in IDUG

IBM DB2 has the Leading x86-based TPC-C Result

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As of yesterday, IBM DB2 has the best x86-based TPC-C result in the industry. IBM’s x86-based system achieved more than 2.3 million transactions per minute on TPC-C benchmark. The benchmark uses the IBM System x 3850 X5, which uses the latest Intel Xeon 7500 Series processor technology. And importantly, the benchmark system is cost efficient, with a price of $0.64 USD per tpmC.

The x3850 X5 achieved this tpmC result using DB2 9.7 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 (SP1). The configuration included 1.5TB of memory using the IBM MAX5 for System x and eXFlash SSD storage. MAX5 is an industry-first technology from IBM that decouples the memory from the processor, eliminating the need to buy another server to support memory-intensive workloads. Basically, it allows you to increase the system’s memory and storage, which in turn supports larger, faster databases.

For more details, see the benchmark result.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

November 17, 2010 at 11:02 am

IBM Again Shatters World Record on Two-Tier SAP SD Benchmark

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IBM today announced a new two-tier SAP Sales and Distribution (SD) benchmark result that crushes the Oracle/Sun results. The new benchmark result uses a 256-core Power 795 system with DB2 to support 126,063 SAP SD benchmark users. This is more than three times the number of users than Oracle’s largest system (a 256-core Sun SPARC Enterprise M9000 running Oracle Database). The IBM system was also able to handle more than three times the number of SAP SD users than Oracle’s result from September of this year that runs four clustered 32-core Sun Fire X4470 servers.

This new result is also the first to break the 500,000 SAPS level on a single system with more than 688,000 SAPS. The SAP Application Performance Standard (SAPS) is a measure of system throughput for business deliverables like customer sales orders or invoices. This result follows hot on the heels of last month’s result from IBM, which used a 128-core Power 795 system running DB2 to support 70,032 users. If you look at the effect of doubling the number of CPU cores from one benchmark to the next, you can see that the number of users supported is almost doubled. This near linear scaling is very reassuring for organizations whose SAP environments are growing significantly.

This benchmark result indicates that IBM can support your largest SAP systems, and that IBM can support the growth of those systems in a very efficient manner. But don’t forget that IBM Power Systems have tremendous virtualization capabilities. In fact, the latest optional PowerVM virtualization software allows customers to run more than 1,000 virtual servers on a single physical system. This means that you could also use a system like one in this benchmark to consolidate your various existing SAP environments onto one physical system, vastly simplifying your infrastructure and reducing costs in data center floor space, energy, management resources, and database and web application software.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

November 17, 2010 at 10:41 am

DB2 Jobs and Consultant Marketplace

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About three months ago, Chris Eaton created a DB2 Jobs and Consultants Marketplace group on LinkedIn. It has some job postings, as well as general items of interest for DB2 professionals. If you are looking for people with DB2 skills, it might be a good idea to also post your job openings here.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

November 16, 2010 at 9:36 am

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