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Conor O'Mahony's Database Diary

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

Archive for the ‘IBM System x’ Category

Anatomy of an Oracle Marketing Claim

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Yesterday, Oracle announced a new TPC-C benchmark result. They claim:

In this benchmark, the Sun Fire X4800 M2 server equipped with eight Intel® Xeon® E7-8870 processors and 4TB of Samsung’s Green DDR3 memory, is nearly 3x faster than the best published eight-processor result posted by an IBM p570 server equipped with eight Power 6 processors and running DB2. Moreover, Oracle Database 11g running on the Sun Fire X4800 M2 server is nearly 60 percent faster than the best DB2 result running on IBM’s x86 server.

Let’s have a closer look at this claim, starting with the first part: “nearly 3x faster than the best published eight-processor result posted by an IBM p570 server“. Interestingly, Oracle do not lead by comparing their new leading x86 result with IBM’s leading x86 result. Instead they choose to compare their new result to an IBM result from 2007, exploiting the fact that even though this IBM result was on a different platform, it uses the same number of processors. Of course, we all know that the advances in hardware, storage, networking, and software technology over half a decade are simply too great to form any basis for reasonable comparison. Thankfully, most people will see straight through this shallow attempt by Oracle to make themselves look better than they are. I cannot imagine any reasonable person claiming that Oracle’s x86 solutions offer 3x the performance of IBM’s Power Systems solutions, when comparing today’s technology. I’m sure most people will agree that this first comparison is simply meaningless.

Okay, now let’s look at the second claim: “nearly 60 percent faster than the best DB2 result running on IBM’s x86 server“. Oracle now compare their new leading x86 result with IBM’s leading x86 result. However, if you look at the benchmark details, you will see that IBM’s result uses half the number of CPU processors, CPU cores, and CPU threads. If you look at performance per core, the Oracle result achieves 60,046 tpmC per CPU core, while the IBM result achieves 75,367 tpmC per core. While Oracle claims to be 60% faster, if you take into account relevant system size and determine the performance per core, IBM is actually 25% faster than Oracle.

Finally, let’s not forget the price/performance metric from these benchmark results. This new Oracle result achieved US$.98/tpmC, whereas the leading IBM x86 result achieved US$.59/tpmC. That’s correct, when you determine the cost of processing each transaction for these two benchmark results IBM is 39% less expensive than Oracle. (BTW, I haven’t had a chance yet to determine if Oracle Used their Usual TPC Price/Performance Tactics for this benchmark result, as the result details are not yet available to me; but if they have, the IBM system will prove to be even less expensive again than the Oracle system.)

Benchmark results are as of January 17, 2012: Source: Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC), http://www.tpc.org.
Oracle result: Oracle Sun Fire X4800 M2 server (8 chips/80 cores/160 threads) – 4,803,718 tpmC, US$.98/tpmC, available 06/26/12.
IBM results: IBM System p 570 server (8 chips/16 cores/32 threads) -1,616,162 tpmC, US$3.54 /tpmC, available 11/21/2007. IBM System x3850 X5 (4 chips/40 cores/80 threads) – 3,014,684 tpmC, US$.59/tpmC, available 09/22/11.

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Written by Conor O'Mahony

January 18, 2012 at 11:01 am

New IBM Smart Analytics Systems

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Oracle garnered a lot of headlines a couple of weeks ago with their Oracle Database Appliance. It didn’t take long for SmarterQuestions to indicate why the IBM Smart Analytics Systems are A Smarter Database System for SMB Clients.

Recently, IBM added the following systems:

  • IBM Smart Analytics System 5710, which is an x86-based Linux system
  • IBM Smart Analytics System 7710, which is a Power Systems-based UNIX system
  • IBM Smart Analytics System 9710, which are mainframe-based systems

These systems include everything you need to quickly set up a data warehouse environment, and to quickly have your business analysts working with the data.

On top of the servers and storage, it includes database and data warehouse software, Cognos software, cubing services, data mining capabilities, and text analytic capabilities. And it is available on your platform of choice (Linux, UNIX, or mainframe). It is also competitively priced, when you consider that the starting price for the 5710 is under $50k, just like the Oracle appliance. However, the IBM system includes all of the necessary software, whereas with the Oracle appliance you have to purchase the very expensive Oracle Database software separately. And the Oracle Database software is not exactly inexpensive.

If you want to learn more, please visit the IBM Smart Analytics Systems Web page.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

October 13, 2011 at 11:26 am

Industry Benchmark Result for DB2 pureScale: SAP Transaction Banking (TRBK) Benchmark

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A couple of years ago, IBM introduced the pureScale feature, which provides application cluster transparency (allowing you to create shared-disk database clusters). At the time, IBM had taken their industry-leading clustering architecture from the mainframe, and brought it to Unix environments. IBM subsequently also brought it to Linux environments.

Today, IBM announced its first public industry benchmark result for this cluster technology. IBM achieved a record result for the SAP Transaction Banking (TRBK) Benchmark, processing more than 56 million posting transactions per hour and more than 22 million balanced accounts per hour. The results were achieved using IBM DB2® 9.7 on SUSE Linux® Enterprise Server. The cluster contained five IBM System x 3690 X5 database servers, and used the IBM System Storage® DS8800 disk system. The servers were configured to take over workload in case of a single system failure, thereby supporting high application availability. For more details, see the official certification from SAP.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

September 12, 2011 at 11:16 am

IBM DB2 Improves Performance Lead for x86-64 Systems with a new Record-Breaking Result

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Last year, I blogged about how IBM DB2 has the Leading x86-based TPC-C Result. Well, IBM has further cemented DB2’s position as the leading database for x86-64 systems with a new record-breaking TPC-C benchmark result. The new benchmark result achieved more than 3 million transactions per minute on an IBM System x 3850 X5. The entire system for this result is housed in a single, space-saving 42U rack. The system runs DB2 9.7 on SUSE Linux. It has four Intel Xeon E7-8870 processors running at 2.40GHz (4 processors/40 cores/80 threads). It should also be noted that the system uses Solid State Drive (SSD) storage for faster database access.

For me, the most interesting aspect of this result is not just the performance; it is the price for that performance. And, of course, price/performance is a key consideration for all systems, but especially for cost-conscious x86-64 purchasing decisions. The new system costs US$0.59 per tpmC. As of today, this is the lowest cost of any system in the Top 10 TPC-C performance results (by the way, the next lowest cost also features DB2). See for yourself at TPC-C – Top Ten Performance Results.

If you look at the TPC-C – Top Ten Price/Performance Results, you will see some results from Oracle that offer better price/performance. However, these Oracle results are for very small benchmark systems; approximately one-tenth the size of the IBM DB2 systems. And they include only Oracle Database 11g Standard Edition One; whereas the IBM results include the full enterprise edition of DB2. Not only do the IBM benchmark system give you more product capability for your money, but you can clearly see that the performance of the IBM systems and the cost per transaction for the IBM systems both scale up very nicely.

IBM System x®3850 X5 (Intel Xeon E7-8870 processors 2.40GHz, 4 processors/40 cores/80 threads) TPC-C result of 3,014,684 tpmC, $.59 USD/tpmC, available 9/22/11, DB2 9.7, SUSE Linux® Enterprise Server 11 (SP1)

Written by Conor O'Mahony

August 15, 2011 at 10:25 am

Staffing and Time-to-Market for IBM DB2 and Oracle Database Environments

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Solitaire Interglobal surveyed IT departments about the amount of staffing needed for various database-related activities. When it comes to staffing, Solitaire notes that:

These staffing figures were collected from the actual operation groups measured in the other metric collection efforts, and cover organizations in North and South America, Asia, Europe, Antarctica and Australia. These organizations have reported staffing for 24×7 coverage, rather than single shift.

Antartica… really! Anyway, here’s the staffing information, first for IBM Power Systems environments and then for IBM System x environments:

Database Software Staff for IBM DB2 and Oracle Database in IBM Power Systems Environments
Database Software Staff for IBM DB2 and Oracle Database in IBM System x Environments

Solitare notes that a significant contributor to IBM DB2 requiring less staff are the requirements around the service desk or help desk. They attribute the difference to the number of calls, and the amount of time required to handle those calls. If you read the full report, you will see lots of great information about specific percentage differences for number and duration of calls on each platform.

Another interesting metric for comparing database software is time-to-market. This is the amount of time it takes an IT department to get a system up-and-running, from project inception to having live production systems. Time-to-market is a very important consideration for organizations who want to have agile and responsive IT departments. In this case, Solitaire note that:

The systems tracked for this portion of the study were paired based on either simultaneous comparative development, or function point equivalents and application type. The comparison is intended to be evocative and not quantitative, since other critical success factors can enter into this picture.

Here is the time-to-market comparison, first for IBM Power Systems environments and then for IBM System x environments:

Time-to-Market for Database Software Projects involving IBM DB2 and Oracle Database in IBM Power Systems Environments

Time-to-Market for Database Software Projects involving IBM DB2 and Oracle Database in IBM System x Environments

You can read and download the full Solitaire report at Comparing Real World Database Performance: IBM® DB2® versus Oracle® Database and Microsoft SQL Server®.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

May 11, 2011 at 11:00 am

IBM DB2 Users Report that they are More Satisfied than Oracle Database Users

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Yesterday, I blogged about relative outages for IBM DB2 and Oracle Database, as reported by Solitaire Interglobal. Well, Solitaire also surveyed people in data centers regarding their satisfaction levels with database software. Here is how Solitaire introduce their findings:

The ultimate metric for the success of any product is customer satisfaction. The satisfaction rating is an aggregate result of how well the customer feels that the DBMS provides benefit for the expense, reliability and thought leadership. As such, this rating can be seen as the final accolade of how well a product is doing.

Solitaire report the satisfaction for two groups: the Executives that manage the overall organization, and the Operational Staff that work with the systems on a day-to-day basis. Here are the findings. As you can see, both the Executives and the Operational Staff who work with DB2 report a higher satisfaction than those who work with Oracle Database.

First, here are the satisfaction ratings for environments running IBM Power Systems servers.
Database Software Customer Satisfaction in IBM Power Systems Environments

And here are the satisfaction ratings for environments running IBM System x servers.
Database Software Customer Satisfaction in IBM System x Environments

Not only do customers–both Executive and Operational–have a higher satisfaction rating for DB2, but interestingly the people who are hands-on day-in and day-out have the best satisfaction numbers.

You can read and download the full Solitaire report at Comparing Real World Database Performance: IBM® DB2® versus Oracle® Database and Microsoft SQL Server®.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

May 10, 2011 at 11:00 am

Comparing Outages for IBM DB2 and Oracle Database

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Solitaire Interglobal monitor client data centers around the world. Recently, they analyzed certain performance chartacteristics for database software within those data centers. One of those performance chartacteristics is reliability.

They measured database software reliability from 1,430 Power Systems/AIX production environments. Here is their explanation of the following charts:

…both the planned and unplanned outages affect the overall usability of the total system. The charts below show the number of outages that were recorded during the testing period, as well as, the total number of minutes that those outages consumed. The number of outages has been normalized for a 100-platform operation, with both planned and unplanned outages included.

As you can see, Oracle Database has more outages, and longer outages. Solitaire indicate that most of these are planned outages, with DB2 users reporting easier movement and allocation of resources. The next most significant factor was that Oracle Database requires a greater number of patches and upgrades.

Normalized Outage Count - Planned and Unplanned on IBM Power Systems - IBM DB2 and Oracle Database - Source: Solitaire Interglobal

Normalized Outage Count - Planned and Unplanned on IBM Power Systems - IBM DB2 and Oracle Database - Source: Solitaire Interglobal

Here is the same analysis for database software in IBM System x environments. In this case, the analysis is for 13,927 production environments and the number of outages has been normalized for a 75-platform operation.

Planned and Unplanned Outage Count on IBM System x - IBM DB2, Oracle Database, and Microsoft SQL Server - Source: Solitaire Interglobal

Planned and Unplanned Outage Time on IBM System x - IBM DB2, Oracle Database, and Microsoft SQL Server - Source: Solitaire Interglobal

Over the next few days, I will share more findings from the Solitaire report. You can read and download the full report at Comparing Real World Database Performance: IBM® DB2® versus Oracle® Database and Microsoft SQL Server®.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

May 9, 2011 at 11:59 am

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